By the Numbers: "Mike and Molly" Revisited
Here's the sole difference between "Mike & Molly" and every other conventional, laugh track sitcom that revolves around an overweight man and his better-looking love interest: Here, the love interest is overweight, too. "Mike & Molly," is 21 minutes of fat jokes. Billy Gardell plays Mike Biggs, an overweight cop who makes fat jokes about himself. Melissa McCarthy plays Molly Flynn, a school teacher who makes fat jokes about herself. Swoosie Kurtz plays Molly's mother, who makes fat jokes about Molly. Katy Mixon plays Molly's sister, who makes fat jokes about Mike and Molly. Reno Wilson plays Mike's police partner, who makes fat jokes about Mike. Mike, in turn, makes jokes about the fact that his partner lives with his grandmother. Not a single one of these jokes are funny.
A year later, I thought I'd revisit the show, in the off chance that I judged it too quickly. After all, Melissa McCarthy won an Emmy for her performance, and the sitcom has continued to do well in the ratings, including Monday's night's season premiere in its new time slot, after "Two and a Half Men." It has to be better, right?
Not so much.
What's changed since last year? Mike and Molly are now engaged. What else has changed? Nothing. It's the same style of broad humor, the same grating laugh track, and the same two fat people obsessed with their own obesity. In the opening episode, Mike is placed on a boat, which he promptly sinks, while Molly is placed in a Yoga class, where she is promptly humiliated. Good times.
When they're not making fun of their own weight, the jokes center on gender stereotypes. When the jokes aren't centered on gender stereotypes, they're really bad gay jokes in which the words gay and lesbian are used pejoratively. There are also two black supporting characters whose entire identity seems to revolve around the fact that they are black. They have no other personality traits: They are simply: Black Guy and Black Guy from a Third World Country. In other words, there's no more reason to watch "Mike and Molly" this year than there was last year.
Here is "Mike and Molly" by the numbers.
Minutes in the Season Premiere: 20.
Dick and/or Masturbation Jokes: 7
Of the 7 Dick and/or masturbation jokes, the number that included images of men with boners that no one wants to think about: 3.
Fat Jokes: 23.
Lesbian or Gay Jokes: 7.
Jokes Based on Gender Stereotypes: 10.
Funny Jokes: 0