Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is Mike & Molly becoming a REAL SHOW?

I'm still not a huge fan of the show Mike & Molly, but I was actually really impressed with last night's episode. It was far from perfect (far far far far) but for the first time, I watched the show and actually didn't hate it. The jokes are still kind of hacky (only a handful of them are funny) and it's not hard to find things to be offended by... but for once, the show really felt like a regular 'romantic comedy' sitcom instead of "The Fat Couple Show".

It almost felt like Billy Gardell's claim about the show was finally coming true...
"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'."
We originally complained that yes, people would look at the show and relate to the characters... and then feel like shit after 30-something fat jokes were unloaded on them. But now that the fat jokes are finally slowing down and the show the primary focus away from their weights to where it belongs... on their relationship. So we're able to actually view Mike and Molly as just a regular, quirky, TV couple without falling back on 'OMG they're fat!' punchlines.

Anyway, last night's episode was one that many people can relate to... including myself.

Molly has been sleeping over at Mike's apartment quite often and well, let's just say, it's a cliche single guy's apartment. He has one giant gallon of all-in-one shampoo/conditioner/body wash, no hair dryer, etc.  And also, his mattress is old and lumpy... he snores (even when hooked up to his sleep apnea machine, which makes its own noise)... and basically he's just generally clueless.

Finally, in the end he agrees to stay at Molly's place once in a while, even though  it's just as uncomfortable and awkward for him (especially with her sister and mother there).

Now, I'm not a huge fan of the 'oh men are so stupid, look what we poor women have to put up with!' type of jokes... but the truth is, sometimes the person you're dating is a little clueless and these are the silly little things that do come up in new relationships sometimes. Dealing with snoring and overnight bags and weird family members... a lot of us can relate to that! For once, it was a show about two people maneuvering the crazy world of dating... not just two fat people talking about being fat. So for a few minutes there, Mike & Molly was just a show.

But wait! We didn't say it was a good show... Like most sitcoms about dating and relationships, this show falls back on old, tired cliches. There's not just the stupid, sloppy guy cliche... but then Molly's apartment is the opposite: When Mike finally agrees to sleep over at Molly's house for a change there's the whole stereotype of the super-girly bathroom with a hundred bottles of everything and bras hanging in the shower, etc. and then he has to eat breakfast with her mom in Molly's girly bathrobe. Meh.

And that's not all... There's also the dumb slutty sister (and mother) jokes. In this episode she actually walks around naked to get delivery guys to give her free pizza. No really. And apparently a guy can't pick out a mattress with his best friend without snuggling and spooning and making the clerk think they're gay. You know, because they're partners. Get it? Partners... Partners! Get it? Get it? Sigh.

And just in case you think the fat jokes are completely gone... mattress shopping also left us open for at least one or two:
Mike: "I'm looking for something that can accommodate two, let's say, larger people, comfortably."

Carl: "Side by side but sometimes stacked."

Clerk: "Are you thinking conventional mattress or perhaps memory foam?"

Carl: "Oh my grandma's got one of those memory foam beds It's like sleeping on a cloud. You know, a cloud that remembers the shape of your ass."

Mike: "Everything I sit on remembers the shape of my ass."
[...]
Mike: "How is it?"
Carl: "Very cushy. It's what I always imagined sleeping on you would be like."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reality Rehab with Dr. Jenn

Do you love, hate, or love-to-hate 'reality TV'? Well, then it's time for us to do some shameless promotion for our friend, the brilliant and beautiful Jennifer Pozner. She watched hours and hours of reality television in order to write the book Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV (Seal Press) and because her NYC Book Launch party is tomorrow night, we wanted to give her a little shout out before we dive in and write an actual review. (Review and more coming in the near future.)
Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TVIn Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth about Guilty Pleasure TV, Jennifer L. Pozner, founder and executive director of Women In Media & News (WIMN), takes a fierce, funny, and in-depth look at how reality TV affects our beliefs, our behavior, and our culture. This genre encourages us to think less and buy more… but Pozner isn’t buying. Instead, she lays out the deep-seated biases reality TV promotes about women and men, race and class, love and marriage, sex and beauty, advertising and consumption, and more. Drawing on a decade of journalistic research, she connects the dots between reality TV’s hostile representations of women and people of color to decades of similarly harsh narratives in news media and politics.
[...] Reality Bites Back deconstructs reality TV’s twisted fairytales, demonstrating that far from harmless “guilty pleasures,” this genre has a damaging impact on our intellectual and political development. Pozner offers readers a new way of looking at the manipulative framing—and social ramifications—of their favorite shows, urging us to banish the phrase “mindless entertainment” from our collective vocabulary. Exposing behind-the-scenes production employed to “get the kids to go to Crazy Town,” she blows the lid off the claim that unscripted programming simply portrays “real people” with “real emotions.” She reveals how producers, writers, editors, and embedded advertisers spin fictions out of whole cloth—and lays bare their ideological and commercial agendas. [Read More Here]

Tomorrow night she will be hosting a NYC Book Launch Party at Kush Lounge and Bar in Manhattan. We encourage those of you in the area to stop by and pick up a copy of the book (if you ask nicely, we're sure she will sign it for you) and those of you not in the area... check out her website RealityBitesBackBook.com and enjoy the following videos created to promote the book. (Really, you will enjoy them... and we're sure you will recognize some of the main characters!)

[If the embedded videos don't load properly, you can check them out here!]
















(Stay Tuned for the final chapter, Webisode 7, The Gangsta Guy, and for the full-length feature, both coming soon!)

Which lines of dialog from Reality Rehab were taken verbatim or paraphrased from real quotes on actual reality TV shows (or were based on quotes producers or network executives have said on air or in the press)? Find out on pages 28, 42, 100, 101, 169, 191, 239, 249, 250, 252 and 253 of Reality Bites Back!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We Almost Miss the Fat Jokes. Almost.

If you've been following Mike & Molly, then you've surely heard about Maura Kelly's disgusting blog about the show for Marie Claire (Should "Fatties" Get a Room? (Even on TV?)) and its aftermath, including a "Kiss-In" protest outside Marie Claire's offices.

We definitely disagree with Kelly's post (does that even need to be said?), but clearly we're not fans of the show either. But we noticed that it is getting better. Sort of. Kind of. Only not really...
We realized last week that Mike & Molly has finally slowed down with the fat jokes. The series premiere had a whopping 38 fat jokes (almost 2 fat jokes per minute), but last week there were only 9 for the whole episode. I'd like to say that this is progress, but unfortunately... for every missing fat joke they filled that gap with other hacky jokes that fall back on tired cliches and offensive stereotypes. (Who would've thought that we'd almost long for the days of all the fat jokes? Well, almost.)

So this week we thought we'd try something a little different. Instead of just making note of our least favorite fat jokes, let's take a look at some of the other un-funny jokes from the most recent episode:


"They're fourth graders. Just give 'em all Bs. They'll be thrilled. Except for maybe the Asian kids."

"You finally free willy and all we get is 'great guy. nice time.'?"

"Well, for instance, was he tender with you?"
"Yes, he was... very, very tender."
"Not so tender as to be fruity, right?"

"Can I get you a little something to eat?"
"No thanks, I'm not hungry."
"Yeah, and I'm not old, black and Christian... how 'bout a piece of pie?"

"That's probably why the last woman you brought into this house came with an air pump and a patch kit."
"Grandma I told you that was a gag gift from the guys at work."
"It wasn't no gag when I heard it pop at 3o'clock in the morning. Thought it was a drive-by."

One thing we do have to say in the show's defense is that Gardell and McCarthy are both decent actors (even if they don't have any good material) and the chemistry between them is quite sweet at times. I wish the show would focus more on those poignant little moments of new-dating awkwardness and cuteness and less on the fat jokes and stereotypes.