Coming This Fall to CBS: Ugh

It's that time of year where all the networks begin to start marketing what will be their new fall series, in order to try to get advertisers' attention and start building an audience. As part of their 2010 fall preview, CBS has unveiled a new sitcom called "Mike and Molly," which they describe thus: "From the creator of The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men comes a new comedy about finding romance in the most unusual places. Get ready for a whole lotta love—This Fall on CBS!"

Have you guessed the twist yet…? You need to "get ready for a whole lotta love" because THEY'RE FAT!

[Transcript below.]

Dismal stuff. And perhaps its worst aspect is its insistence on reaction shots in which the two fatties are obliged to smile at their own ridicule. Molly smiles "knowingly" when Mike mocks himself (even at the "safe space" of an Overeaters' Anonymous meeting) for being fat; Mike smiles "appreciatively" when his partner equates his gut to a pregnancy. The audience roars with laughter.

It is painful to watch—the tight grins masking swallowed indignities, offered ostensibly as a show of good humor, but in reality an indispensable self-defense mechanism, an emotional coat of the thinnest armor, precariously insulating one against the intolerable bullying that a careless display of vulnerability invites.

Every fat person knows that smile. It is not the stuff of sitcom fodder.

It's in moments like this that I realize how truly transgressive Roseanne actually was. Roseanne and Dan were never forced to suffer silently at the hands of friendly tormenters. And their characters weren't condescendingly discussed by the cast and crew as evidence that "fat people are normal people, too!" and "fat people deserve love, too!" and other self-evident truths regarded by bigots as radical.

[H/T to Shaker AnnaAnastasia.]
[Image of a clapboard with show details being closed.]

Director James Burrows, thin white man: And…action!

Text Onscreen: MIKE & MOLLY. Behind the scenes. [The words "Behind the Scenes" are seen on a scale, where the weight would normally be.]

Producer Chuck Lorre, thin white man: The series is about the difficulties of developing a relationship.

Melissa McCarthy, "Molly," fat white woman: Mike and Molly, they're trying to find themselves; they really find each other.

Unidentified Man in voiceover: They meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

Video clip of Mike at OA meeting: I had a pretty fair week. I lost three pounds. [other attendees applaud] Then I took off my shirt and I found it [he squeezes the fat on his upper arm] right about here. [studio audience laughs]

Billy Gardell, "Mike," fat white man: It's a pretty classic love story.

Burrows: This show's a romance, but it is really funny.

[Begin video clip of Mike, who is a police officer, and his partner Carl, who is played by Reno Wilson, a thin black man, eating at a diner.]

Carl: New diet?

Mike: Yeah, I read about it in a magazine at the dentist's office.

Carl: Men's Fitness?

Mike: No.

Carl: Sports Illustrated?

Mike: Modern Bride, okay?! [studio audience laughs]

Carl [putting up hands]: That's none of my business. But you better get married quick [points at Mike's belly] because you're starting to show. [studio audience laughs]

[End video clip.]

Wilson: The writing is— [kisses fingertips] It's top of the line.

Swoozie Kurtz, "Joyce," aka Molly's mother, thin white woman: The jokes come out of the characters.

Katy Mixon, "Victoria," aka Molly's sister, thin white woman: It is about regular people. [shrugs] Just regular people.

[Begin video clip of Molly on an elliptical machine in her (?) living room, while her mother eats a piece of chocolate cake on the sofa right beside her.]

Molly: Mom! Do you have to eat that in front of me?

Joyce: Ohhhhh, I'm sorry, baby. You want a bite? [she holds out a piece of cake on a fork; the studio audience laughs]

Molly: What do you think I'm doing on this machine here—making butter?! [studio audience laughs]

[End video clip.]

McCarthy: Her family comes from a good place, but there's a lot of just saying the wrong things.

[Continue video clip; Molly's sister has now joined Joyce on the couch.]

Joyce [to Victoria]: Instead of milk, I use pudding. [Molly looks at them exasperatedly; studio audience laughs]

Victoria: That must be why it's so smooth and creamy!

Molly: For god's sakes! Why are you doing this to me?!

Victoria and Joyce [with mouthfuls of cake]: What? What are we doing? [studio audience laughs]

[End video clip.]

McCarthy: You can watch it and kind of think, "Oh my god." It's just funnier when it's real.

Gardell: We've all tried to look cool and ended up looking foolish. And when you hit that chord, nothing better.

[Begin video clip of Mike talking to Molly at some event next to a table with snacks on it.]

Mike: I was wondering if you weren't doing anything, if we could— [he leans on table and it falls over; he goes with it and ends up on the floor] Ahhh! [studio audience laughs]

Molly: Oh my god!

Mike: Owww!

Molly: Are you okay?

Mike [getting up]: I'm good—but I don't think that table's up to code. [studio audience laughs]

Molly [averting her eyes but pointing at Mike]: Ohhhh, is your finger supposed to be pointed in that direction?

Mike [lifting his hand to reveal obviously broken pinky]: No, it's not! [studio audience laughs]

[End video clip.]

McCarthy: Everything that's kind of happening with us shooting the show is pretty amazing.

Gardell: Chuck Lorre, Mark Roberts, and Jim Burrows—to be working with these guys is like playing for the Yankees.

Kurtz: You feel like you're in such good hands.

Wilson: In my opinion, you just have to say their words.

[Begin video clip of Mike and Carl hugging.]

Carl: Sweet Jesus, it's like hugging a futon. [studio audience laughs]

[End video clip.]

Mixon: They want to bring the best out of you possible.

[Begin video clip of Victoria coming down the stairs into the living room, which has been disheveled by an apparent robbery.]

Victoria: They stole my pot. [she notices Carl at the front door; studio audience laughs] And my pan and my spatula and other cooking supplies! [studio audience laughs]

[End video clip.]

Gardell: I think we got a good one, man.

McCarthy: It just feels right and easy and we laugh all day, so, that can't be bad.

[Begin video clip of Mike, also at the house for the robbery, talking to Molly.]

Mike: Would you like to have dinner with me sometime?

Molly: I would love to.

Carl [standing across the room with Joyce and Victoria]: She better be good to him! [Joyce and Victoria give him a look; studio audience laughs]

Text Onscreen: MIKE & MOLLY. Coming this fall. [The words "Coming this fall" are again seen on the scale, where the weight would normally be.]

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus