Mike and Molly, a half hour sitcom, premiered last night in the 9.30 pm Eastern (8.30pm Central) timeslot vacated by CBS’s hit comedy The Big Bang Theory. (Sheldon, and his homemade Star Trek transporter, has “beamed” that comedy to Thursday nights).
Mike and Molly screens after Two and a Half Men and is envisioned by the same creators of that highly successful sitcom. The question after last night’s episode is whether Mike and Molly will follow the other successful sitcoms into cult status or whether its premise and characters will doom it to a mediocre season of cliché fat jokes.
Last night’s premier about a budding attraction between two over eaters was good for a few laughs. The over eaters meetings that Mike and Molly attend provides a platform for the two lead characters played by Melissa McCarthy, and Bill Gardell to engage in short stand-up routines, mostly involving self deprecating humor about their size.
While physical size may make the characters of Mike and Molly seem larger than life, they are perhaps the most grounded and normal characters in the cast. Molly is a fourth grade school teacher with a rambunctious class which challenge her to remember why she got into teaching in the first place. Mikes motivation for joining the police force is exposed with a sentimental childhood story he shares with Molly’s class, giving his character a lead in the “depth” stakes for the first episode.
The rest of the episode dealt with one contrived plot device after the other getting in the way of Mike actually asking Molly out on a date.
Finally, when Molly’s home that she shares with her mother (Swoosie Kurtz) and pot-head sister (Katy Mixo) is burgled, Chicago cop Mike and his partner (Reno Williams) arrive to investigate – late.
Characterization of the supporting cast also seems a little too predictable to last the test of time. They range from Molly’s over supportive “you’ve just got big bones” mother who eats chocolate cake and remains super slim, her perpetually high, sexy, but slightly dopey sister, to Mike’s over effusive partner, who calls him out about staying on his diet just a little too often to remain a “friend” (in the real world).
Trite plot devices and corny fat jokes aside, by the end of the episode this viewer was still rooting for a romance between Mike and Molly, and will tune in again next week.
CBS is likely banking on viewers tuning into Two and a Half Men, and keeping those eyeballs for Mike and Molly, as the other networks are already half way through their 9pm Eastern (8pm Central) offerings. But with NBC’s The Event being one of those offerings, it may not be another network viewers choose to switch to, but the “Now Playing” lists on their TIVO’s (and PVR’s).
It is hard to tell how Mike and Molly will fare after only one episode, especially since other questionable premises have been elevated to cult status, given the chance to develop over time. Who would have imagined a sitcom about four physics nerds and their hot neighbor would have been such a success. But season after season, we tune in to see what antics Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard and Penny can get themselves into in the name of science and love.
What are your thoughts on Mike and Molly? Cult? Or Cliché?
CBS premiere episode of Mike and Molly (Monday 20 September 2010)
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