Viewers may eat up the occasional fat joke, but make no mistake, ‘Mike & Molly‘ is “a love story.”
The new CBS sitcom starring Melissa McCarthy (‘Gilmore Girls‘) and Billy Gardell (‘Yes, Dear‘) centers on the budding romance between two characters who are members of an Overeaters Anonymous support group.
But the bigger picture focuses on building robust relationships, not big characters breaking furniture – even if that’s what happened to Gardell the day he talked to the press about his new show. “I broke a chair before I came over here. It happens. I’m heavy,” he revealed to TV critics Wednesday in Los Angeles.
“This isn’t a show about weight, it’s a show about people trying to make their lives better and find someone they can have a committed relationship with,” explained executive producer Chuck Lorre, who also presides over ‘Two and a Half Men‘ and ‘The Big Bang Theory.’
“It may be odd for television,” Lorre adds, “but hopefully, it’s reflective of some kind of reality.”
Lorre’s leading man thinks audiences will connect with ‘Mike & Molly’ because the characters aren’t played by your typical average-sized actors (i.e. wispy waifs and manorexics).
“The great thing about this love story is,” says Gardell, “this is a show people can look at and go, ‘You know what? I’m like that,’ or ‘I look better than that,’ instead of looking at the show and going, ‘God, I’m never gonna look like that.'”
Often cast as a supporting player, Gardell is thrilled to have, uh, a meaty role for once, instead of the usual parts offered to actors of his size.
“When you’re a fat guy in Hollywood, you’re the bad guy, the cop, or the neighbor. That’s what you’re doing. ‘Bring them to me. You kids get out of here. She’s going to kill us both.’” he joked. “That’s what you’re doing. So to be at this weight and this age in Hollywood, and to be one of the leads of a show of this caliber, with this team, [I’m] absolutely humbled. It’s like I got the Willy Wonka ticket, you know?”
‘Mike & Molly’s ensemble cast includes Swoosie Kurtz (‘Pushing Daisies’) as Molly’s mother; Katy Mixon as Molly’s sister; and Reno Wilson as Mike’s cop partner.
The sitcom premieres Monday, Sept. 20 at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.
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