New CBS sitcom Mike and Molly it seems is relying a little too heavily on the size of its leading duo portrayed by Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy. The show which premiered a few weeks back features 41 year old Gardell (Bad Santa, My name is Earl) as a Chicago police officer and 40 year old McCarthy (Gilmore Girls, The Nines) as a fourth grade school teacher who struggles to keep her class in order.
They meet at an overeaters help group and thanks to their shared problem and self-deprecating sense of humour they hit it off (without becoming an item).
The pilot episode is jam-packed with jokes about fat people and throws in plenty of slapstick and toilet humour for good measure. Sadly it feels like a show that’s trying too hard and questions hang over how diverse the comedy and plot lines can become.
The biggest question however is what the show is aiming for. Obesity and eating disorders are big news these days and it seems that many media groups are trying to make “big is beautiful” the norm in order to satisfy a rapidly growing nation of obesity sufferers.
The term obesity was recently changed to accommodate extremely overweight people, the new definition stating that anyone above their recommended BMI (body mass index) was obese.
This sounds like food companies moving blame away from themselves for the effects their overly processed, sugar heavy foods have on consumers. Obesity was unheard of 25 years ago and the increase in body size coincided with the birth of convenience and fast foods.
Companies like Whole Foods have implemented new strategies to encourage their workers to live clean and healthy lives, offering bonuses and larger discounts for workers who change their diets and get themselves off prescribed medication.
CBS could be seen to be cashing in on the misery felt by many who suffer from obesity. Mike and Molly’s cheap laughs come at the expense of its overweight protagonists which is a sad indictment of the times we live in. The show will ultimately divide its watchers into those who take comfort from the plight of Gardell and McCarthy, and those who mock them and their size.
Please let us know what you think. Has CBS has got it wrong on this one or are they sympathetic to obesity sufferers?