Thursday, September 23, 2010

Making Fun of Fat People: Mike & Molly

So we attempted to watch the new show Mike & Molly on CBS Monday. We say 'attempted' because it was just so bad that we had to turn it off. In case you haven't already heard about the show, it focuses on a couple who met at a weight-loss support group and stars Billy Gardell (My Name Is Earl, Yes, Dear)and Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls, Samantha Who?).

We've always been fans of Melissa McCarthy, especially for her role of Sookie on Gilmore Girls, so we were excited to see her move up from supporting character to a leading role... but then... we watched Mike & Molly. McCarthy plays Molly Flynn, a 4th grade teacher who meets Mike Biggs, a police officer, at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

The entire show is basically one long, unfunny fat joke. Sookie may have been the sidekick, but her storylines didn't revolve around being fat, she was just Sookie. McCarthy finally gets her own show and it's this crap?

We watched a few parts of the premiere episode - we had to shut it off occasionally because the fat jokes were too much to take. But then we started thinking about it. That was a LOT of fat jokes for a show that's allegedly not about weight according to creator Chuck Lorre.
"This isn't a show about weight," he said "It's a show about people trying to make their lives better and find someone they can have a committed relationship with. It may be odd for television, but hopefully it's reflective of some kind of reality."
That sounds like a great premise for a show... but that wasn't the show we watched.

Lilith: So I'm about 2 minutes in to Mike & Molly and I hate it already.

Jezebel: That's the 'fat people show', right?

Lilith: Apparently. I didn't know that's what it was. I thought it was just a show about two people. But apparently it's the 'fat people show'. Like, okay! We get it! She's fat! He's fat too! Let's laugh at how fat they are... enough already. Blah blah fat blah!

Jezebel: I've heard some stuff about it. That's one of those shows that could be good in theory... but you know will be fucked up in the execution.

Lilith: It's annoying too that there are, what, like two people on the entire channel ever that are not model-tiny but aren't just the 'fat sidekick' and then the show revolves around how fat they are. Why not a show starring fat people that's just a show?

Jezebel: Exactly. It could've be a case of 'Hey a realistic couple! She's pretty but she's not the stick thin gorgeous unrealistic wife that sitcoms usually have' but instead it will be 'Let's beat the same three fat jokes into the ground every week'.
Jezebel: I just put it on for like ten seconds. I decided I'd watch until a fat joke. I'm off already.
Lilith: I can't wait for the episode when they start making 'fat people having sex' jokes. God, at least if the fat jokes were FUNNY. But they're not!
Lilith: Did you notice that the guy's last name is Biggs? Like why not just name him 'Big Fat Cop'?
Jezebel: Oh god, yeah just go all the way and call him Fatty McFat. And she can be Chubbie Chubster or something. Tonight on CBS, a new episode of Big Fat Cop and Big Fat Teacher! On tonight's episode, everybody makes jokes at Fat and Chubbie's expense and it's hilarious! Because they're FAT! Get it? Oh CBS.
Lilith: And of course, his partner is the sassy black guy and her sister is the stupid slutty pothead. So it's like, awesome, we have everyone!
Jezebel: Yeah, it's the Stereotypical One Note Characters Show. Fantastic. Okay let me test again.
Jezebel: Yeah that took like, three seconds for me this time.
Lilith: Let me turn it back on... and... yeah. Fuck this show. It's just one fat joke too many. I'm over it.

Later, we got curious about just how many fat jokes were there really? So we went to and re-watched the show and (painfully) counted every single fat joke. How did it add up? Let's just say if this was a drinking game, we be dead. Here are some of the results:

  • The first fat joke came in at 0:14. Yes. It only took 14 seconds.
  • There were a total of 10 fat jokes before they even showed the Mike & Molly title.
  • There were 20 fat jokes or otherwise rude comments made by thin people against fat people.
  • There were 2 fat jokes that poked fun at the LGBT community and 5 race-based fat jokes (2 about starving people in Africa, 2 about Japanese people, and 1 about Russian mail-order brides).
  • There were a total of 39 fat jokes in this one single episode. Thirty nine.
THIRTY NINE! This was a 30-minute-long sitcom, but when you subtract for commercials (or view it online, as we did) the actual length is 20:46. 39 fat jokes in 20 minutes... That's the equivalent of almost 2 fat jokes every minute. Think about that the next time that Chuck Lorre claims that the show "isn't about weight".

Some of our 'least favorite' jokes from the first episode:

"I would shoot you right now, but I don't have enough chalk to outline your body."

"Why don't you take her to one of those lesbo clubs. They seem to like the beefy gals."

"Who are you trying to fool? I mean, you met her at an O.A. meeting. If she sticks her hand under there and doesn't find a man bra, she's gonna be ecstatic".

"You lost 3 1/2 pounds."
"Oh big deal, my farts weigh 3 1/2 pounds."
"You don't have to tell me, I ride in the car with you every day."
"Maybe you could move to Japan. A big man's like a god over there ... Seriously, yank your underwear up into your crack and get you some sumo-groupies."

I will admit that I did enjoy the chemistry between Gardell and McCarthy... and both are pretty funny. It's just the material that sucks. I would really like for them to star in a successful show together. But that show isn't Mike & Molly. At least not yet. If the show continues on the way the first episode went down, well, let's just say it's not going to become one of our faves. If they can get over the fat jokes and make this show about a relationship between two people - instead of two fat people - it might actually be worth watching. But we won't hold our breath.

About the show, Gardell has said:

"The great thing about this love story is [that] 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 going to look like that'."
He's right. A lot of people can watch this show and think 'I look like that'. And then they can watch 39 jokes poking fun at the way they look. How are they going to feel then? What's worse? Having only people with unrealistic bodies on television or having people with real bodies and then trashing the hell out of them for a half hour?


Soul Ink said...

I was really excited about this show. I loved Melissa as Sookie as well, and couldn't wait to see her shine. After all, she deserves it.

Then I was disappointed majorly in it. What a letdown.

There was one instance where I laughed (when he was asking her out at her house). I thought it was really endearing and funny at the same time. I wish the whole show was like that. Sadly, it wasn't. It was seriously painful to watch. I watched it with my mother and both of us were shocked and disappointed. The trailers did a really good job at hiding that it was a 20 minute long fat joke.

What I found most offensive? When the table broke. I was shocked that they did that. Completely disgusted actually.

But hey, their loss. They could have had a winning premise, and they chose to mess it up.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, for this to be any good, I fear that it would have to be on a cable channel. I have yet to find a network sitcom that isn't the same old trope BS. I've just entirely given up.

Phil Spade said...

This show is complete rubbish. How could a man join the police force looking like that. Could he have really gained 200 pounds in a few years? Even if he did the department would be on him to lose it or get terminated. Do you believe the Chicago P.D. endorses this show? It makes them look bad.

Melissa has a beautiful face so why not use it. There are "chubby chasers" that are normal or thin. Why not go that route. I mean I know how it is for a fat man, you don't get the girls. Even fat girls hate fat men.

So they meet at an O.A. meeting, great; have them really lose weight over the course of the show. It would set an example for the viewers. As it is now this show is about two very obese people in an unhealthy relationship with no humor.