The fall TV season may be months away, but it’s never too soon to get a feel for the fresh fare coming our way. In Fancast’s First Look, Two Takes series, executive editor Matt Mitovich shares a snapshot overview of each new show, noting strengths and areas for improvement, and then invites a fellow editor to offer a second opinion.
Today we sink our teeth into…
‘MIKE & MOLLY,’ CBS
Time slot: Mondays at 9:30/8:30c
Competition: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (ABC), ‘Lonestar’ (Fox), ‘The Event’ (NBC) and ‘Gossip Girl’ (The CW)
Cast: Billy Gardell (‘King of Queens’), Melissa McCarthy (‘Gilmore Girls’), Reno Wilson (‘Blind Justice’), Swoosie Kurtz (‘Pushing Daisies’) and Katy Mixon (“Eastbound & Down’)
Executive Producers: ‘Two and a Half Men’s Chuck Lorre and Mark Roberts
The Bullet: As the titular twosome, Gardell and McCarthy play a flatfoot and school teacher who “meet cute” at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, then sometimes literally fall over each other while trying to make a go at romance. Kurtz and Mixon play Molly’s mom and sis, while Wilson is Mike’s partner. Watch a preview here:
What Works: The two leads are inarguably affable, and it’s nice to see McCarthy land her own show after a string of second-banana roles. All told, the sitcom feels comfortably familiar… albeit in a circa-1998 ‘King of Queens’ kind of way.
What Needs Work: See the “Big Laughs” pun I used in the headline? Haw! Yeah… that’s pretty much the minus-size caliber of the plus-size jokes on display here. Also, I simply cannot fathom how Kurtz gave birth to ‘227’s Jackée. It’s eerie.
Take Two, from Fancast’s Julie Zied: Once you get through the barrage of fat jokes… oh wait, that never happens. My grievance with ‘Mike & Molly’ is simple: We get that these two are overweight, but do we need to be hit over the head with it? Watching Molly’s mom and sis swoon over cake while she churns away on an elliptical isn’t comedy; it’s cruelty. What made ‘Roseanne’ a monumentally successful sitcom was that Dan and Roseanne’s size was secondary to the show’s core story: the Conners and their working-class struggles. ‘Mike & Molly’ can take notes.
The Fancast Forecast: Sandwiched between TV’s most-watched comedy (Lorre’s own ‘Men’) and CBS’ shiny new golden child, ‘Hawaii Five-O,’ ‘Mike & Molly’ will be feeling tremendous pressure to – all together now – take a big bite out of the ratings.