'Mike & Molly' season premiere review: Is this show worthy of Melissa McCarthy and an Emmy?

Before Melissa McCarthy won an Emmy for her performance in it, Mike & Molly was known primarily as the third hit show producer Chuck Lorre had running on CBS. Last September, McCarthy was still known primarily to most of us as Gilmore Girls‘ Sookie, and co-star Billy Gardell had been a funny stand-up comic. Now, however, after her break-out film performance in Bridesmaids and copping a surprise Emmy, McCarthy is looking like a big fish in a small, slightly fetid sitcom pond.

If you interpreted that last line as a fat joke, (a) I didn’t mean it that way when I typed it, and (b) now that I’ve done it, I’m standing by it: it fits right in with the tone of Mike & Molly, which is all about making fat jokes both pointed and defused of contempt or condescension. When Molly, her mother (Swoosie Kurtz), and her sister (Katy Mixon) all made jokes in Monday night’s season premiere about Molly eating pancakes and hot dogs as a way of burying her sorrow over a fight she’d had with Mike, the punchlines were not politically-incorrect-offensive. Indeed, at least one was rooted in history. When Mom asked Molly whether she was going to eat herself into “no self-esteem and no elbows, either,” McCarthy paused. “Well?” said Mom. “I’m thinking about it!” snapped McCarthy, and I’m sure the writers knew they were paraphrasing one of the best-known punchlines in all of comedy: Look up your Jack Benny, kids.

The entire half-hour of M&M was just pleasantly silly, and it sped right along, thanks to the direction of one of the greatest TV directors of all time, James Burrows, who does that regularly for M&M. Like the Lorre hit that precedes it, Two and a Half Men, M&M is front-loaded with sex jokes (“You, sir, are an inspiration to overweight masturbators everywhere”); unlike TAAHM, M&M has a light sweetness to it, a genuine affection between its two main characters, that lifts you over and past the reflexive crudity.

All of which is not to say that Mike & Molly was really Emmy-worthy — not when the competition included characters as vivid as Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope or even Raising Hope‘s Virginia Chance. However, McCarthy’s performance in M&M is certainly charming, and she really knows how to put a good spin on even the most bum line. If her role doesn’t begin to suggest the kind of comic aggressiveness she displays in Bridesmaids, well, network sitcoms are all about characters you can spend months and years with, not explosive anarchists like the one she plays in that movie.

At this point in her career, M&M may still what Melissa McCarthy needs to keep building a fan-base; whether she and other Bridesmaid TV- stars, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph (I’m not counting the talented Ellie Kemper simply because she was doing a fine variation on her Office character), begin to see weekly TV work as a hindrance to budding movie careers is another question.

Maybe you’re more of a Mike & Molly fan than I am; if so, let me know whether you think the season premiere served McCarthy well.

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (94 total) Add your comment
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  • chris

    I dont watch but I saw a promo for tonights show and it was disgusting. I cant believe so many people watch these CBS comedies filled with bad sex jokes.

    • kate32

      I am a single teacher, mature and beautiful. and now I am seeking a good man who can give me reallove.lol.. I have some photos on [millionaireluv*;C;o*m ] . It is a special dating site and there’s no scammer (I hate scammer),so I spend most of my online time there.. My screen name is shadowtalks. e…you don’t have to be rich. If you are interested, add me.I hope your day went well and I hope to hear from you soon.

    • susan

      o stop being so prudish– its called comedy–levity–its wat people need at the end of a stress filled work day.. i think the graphic violence and brutality on alot of the crime drama shows r much more offensive plus it teaches would be criminals how to perpetuate crimes…chillax and enjoy people!

    • lisa g.

      Tried to watch this once n it was ridiculous! No Bueno n she’s getting all this love bc she’s fat! Period.

      • Do Your Homework

        Seriously? “She’s getting all this love bc she’s fat”? What does that even mean? I guess if you’re talking about her character receiving love from her character’s fiance–thanks for the update ((and explaining the entire premise of the show)). If you’re talking about the actress? You are absolutely out of your mind and have no grounds to even comment. She has trained for DECADES in comedy, including the kick-your-ass-til-it’s-funny training grounds of the Groundlings. And DESPITE that, she still has to keep her comic genius in check for this show ((and most shows she’s been on)). I know it seems like her comic prowess doesn’t compare to the such hilarious comments as “No Bueno” ((what! Spanish? In the middle of a sentence otherwise in English? Who is this clever writer, and why don’t they have THEIR own sitcom!!!!)), but that’s mostly due to the content she’s given by the writers. Again, perhaps if you wrote for the show, it would be more obvious that she has talent and isn’t just getting love “bc she’s fat”. Period.

  • Harry

    No, her Emmy wasn’t deserved honestly. The Emmys are a joke now-a-days, if you were nominated and didn’t win consider it a honor.

    • Mike

      I agree. This show sucks and only the committe knows why she won an Emmy. Plus bridesmaids was only okay, it shouldn’t be considered as a launching point for this fat girl’s career. Enjoy the Emmy Melissa, then enjoy the diabetes.

      • Jake

        You are an ass.

      • Blake

        Don’t throw stones Mike, stop being a jerk. It’s easy for you to comment things online that you’d never say to anyone’s face.
        And Bridesmaids was only okay? I haven’t heard anyone else say that.

      • Brian Wallace

        “Bridesmaids” WAS just ok. Unless you’re a women with two eggs left, it was mediocre. First, it was too long. Second, it wallowed in self-pity and three, once the movie was over don’t you wish you could rewatch it without all the exposition? I would have paid $10.50 again just to lose all the Mya Rudolph/Kristen Wiig crap and watch McCarthy/Byrne/Hamm/McLendon-Cover, etc. ad lib for 20 minutes.

        Brian

      • Bruce

        Bridesmaids was afwul.

        We all know she wouldn’t have won the award is she was Ally McBeal.

      • susan

        so if she werent a FAT girl she would have been more deserving?? I HATE racists!

      • MAMOL

        Mike, put a dollar in the jar…

      • Tina

        I feel sorry for you, cause you are just IGNORANT. Apparently your parents didn’t raise you with love, just HATE and IGNORANCE.

      • Ted

        Susan writes, “so if she werent a FAT girl she would have been more deserving?? I HATE racists!”

        Fat is a race now? Hey, I guess if “illegal” is a race, then “fat” can be a race, too.

      • @Susan

        lol.

      • LaTTe

        I agree, the movie was just ok. The ending suck, and the jokes were funny but they kept them going to long.

  • Jessica

    I have not been able to watch this show for more than a few minutes; it’s just pretty standard, not terrible, but not exceptional. That said, I just now saw Bridesmaids last week and was floored to learn Melissa McCarthy played Megan. Absolutely brilliant, and a new comedy hero. She and Billy Gardell are both so talented; I would love to see them in a project more worthy of them.

  • Kelly

    I love Melissa McCarthy, and was interested in watching her on this show. I was hoping it would become a slightly less cynical version of NBC’s great “Mad About You,” but it continues along with the same lameness of the blah Two and a half men. Melissa deserves better, especially since she was, by far, the best thing in “Bridesmaids.”

    • Mike

      She was worse than Maya Rudolph in bridesmaids and that’s almost impossible to do! Maya Rudolph is whats gonna kill ‘up all night’ on NBC.

      • Turner

        @Mike – WTF is wrong with you? Are you mentally challenged? No? Then you’re just a d-bag. Get a life you loser.

      • Blake

        Mike stop being so full of hate.

      • Marie

        Of course he doesn’t have a life….He posted these hateful comments at 4:04 AM!!!!

      • that

        Lay off the booze when writing your comments mikey boy, your true colors are showing.

      • Wad De Richard

        It’s always funny to watch people who have no sense of comedy or humor comment on comedy. All they can do is talk about what’s NOT funny. People like Mike are stuck in the era of laughing at people slipping on banana peels and getting pies in the face.

  • abby

    I prefer to think of her emmy as long-overdue recognition for Gilmore Girls. She certainly deserved it for that.

    • Amy

      I agree. For the people who don’t like M&M, look back at everything she’s done. Out of the 4 or 5 things I’ve seen her do, she’s never played the same character twice and she’s been very convincing in all her roles.

    • KENNEDY

      I agree that she did a great job on GIlmore Girls and this Emmy win may have been compensation. I have always been surprised that Lauren Graham hasn’t won ( or didn’t win for Gilmore Girls).

    • Snow

      I never have watched Gilmore Girls but fell in love with Melissa when she was in Samantha Who?. So, I was very ctxieed she was starring in Mike & Molly, which I think is a good show and I think the second season is going to be a lot better (this could be like The Big Bang Theory. start slow and then take off).and then Melissa took me by storm in Bridesmaids, she was so AMAZING, I fell in love with her again!!and when I heard she was nominated for the lead actress emmy, I thought, Good for her! She deserves this! It’s probably just because of Bridesmaids, but she deserves it. and I never thought she would win because M&M is so underrated compared to 30 Rock, P&R, Laura Linney, etc. But when I saw her win was huge shock and I was so happy for her! I love her and she is hilarious. I hope this helps Mike & Molly!

  • Garrett

    And let us not forget her work on Samantha Who! I too think of her emmy as long-overdue recognition for her entire body of work. I also think that she deserves a best supporting nom at the Oscars for her work in Bridesmaids!

    • Cy

      Yes! She was hilarious on Samantha Who!

  • AB

    I don’t know how talented McCarthy is, but M&M is pretty much drivel and demeaning toward overweight people. The fat jokes are embarassing and the sex jokes on all of Lorre’s shows are demeaning as well.

    • What?

      Fat people demean themselves by staying fat. I’m not saying people should be stick figures, but Mike & Molly are both morbidly obese.

  • Hannah

    I watched the episode tonight and laughed at more than a dozen gags. I think it is a good show – at least as good as TAAHM.

    • kmb

      That’s not exactly a compliment.

      • janie

        to critics (self-proclaimed and otherwise), no. to advertisers, networks and $$$…. yep, pretty complimentary.

      • Kim

        Tell that to the millions that are watching both shows!

  • Craig

    I very much doubt Melissa would sign up for a show if she thought it would be demeaning to anyone. Yes the jokes are crude at times but I find the show mostly harmless and just a good laugh.

  • DF

    Billy Gardell is absolutely charming as Mike. The writing fails them, but McCarthy and Gardell are a pleasure to watch.

  • NYLA

    In all fairness Mr. Tucker, her Emmy win was for an entire season. Not just one episode. Season one of M&M was funny and charming and that was mostly because of Melissa. I knew half way through last season she would be nominated for an Emmy. i never thought she would win, but I recognized a funny performance when i saw one. The show as a whole needs work. But it wasn’t the show that was nominated, it was Melissa. Her Emmy was deserved. I get the feeling that if Chuck Lorre wasn’t involved people would be less judgmental of M&M. I find it funny that everyone else can make fun of fat people, but when they poke fun at themselves and turn the jokes around, its degrading. Maybe you should rent season one before you form an opinion. You might understand why the emmy voters voted the way they did.

    • Wrong

      Actually, the comittee watches only one episdoe when considering who will iwn the Emmy. Of course, other things play a part. Clearly this was an Emmy for Bridesmaids, as this drivel doesn’t deserve any recognition. And arguments like “it’s for her body of work” make the Emmy even LESS meaningful than it walready was.

      • NYLA

        Well maybe the committee watched an extremely funny episode, which there were plenty to choose from in season one.

      • Wrong Again

        Actually, wrong again. They send the ballots to Academy Members to vote in their own specified category. We have to watch all of the performances, usually in one sitting. Above and beyond that, we don’t shut off our TV’s for a season in anticipation of this–we still do actually watch the TV shows. So a lot of times we’ve seen the full scope of work. I agree that Mike & Molly as a whole is not the best forum in which Melissa McCarthy can express her clear talents–but to act like she’s not deserving of this Emmy? Embarrassing. She is CRAZY talented. It’s a shame you can’t see it.

    • Michael

      Emmy voters do not get to pick which episode they watch. One singular episode is submitted by the actor or actress in question. You can have a bum season and one funny episode and still win.

      • Vicki

        I thought the episodes where she and Mike go on their first date & the one where they went bowling were laugh out loud funny! I also loved the one where Molly’s sister is suicidal over a break up! HYSTERICAL! So -yes- those of you who put M&M down are not watching the same episodes I am!

  • DZ

    Never saw Bridesmaids or her previous shows. But I watch M&M every week because I love how Melissa McCarthy can convey emotions without saying a word. Her facial expressions are genius. She’s a great actress and deserved the Emmy. She makes that show.

  • Lori Ann

    I disagree with the editorial. Why can’t people accept the good ol’ sitcoms about a couple dealing with relationship issues, weight issues, life issues with funny and interesting supporting characters? Mike and Molly is an easy going show that makes me laugh and that’s enough for me. I don’t want sensationalistic crap with too much nudity or drama or superficiality. This is the perfect show for everybody and excludes no one. These articles should be focused on the disgusting displays from reality shows that depict dramatic and superficial women who cat-fight their way through a whole season. Why would anyone want to watch that trash?

    • Jack

      I totally agree! This show is sweet and funny, Melissa and Billy are very charming and the supporting cast dead on.

    • M

      Well said! Totally love the writing and enjoy watching it. My Dad actually turned me on to it last season! It’s more real than anything else out there, makes me laugh and the relationships between characters are totally familiar. It’s totally welcomed because I’m tired of sensationalized docu-dramas, reality tv and over-hyped comedy. Bridesmaids was also a good time! Guys don’t seem to like it much, but it’s not for them!

  • Tina

    I really like this show. It is sweet and real. I think it is relatable. Speaking as someone who grew up in the midwest, I know those people, heck I was raised by those people. I loved it when you saw an upset Molly eating pancakes, I thought to myself I do that. What woman doesn’t eat her emotions? They claim it, which is the genius of the show. On other shows they are supposed working class people living in gargantuan houses and wearing designer labels and passing them off as normal. On Mike and Molly they look like the people they are portraying, with their homes and their clothes. I find that refreshing. Are some of the jokes crude? Yes, but they have a gentle tone.

  • cheryl

    I love this show, it’s funny, ligthearted, and a very good cast. it’s entertaining and isn’t that what a sitcom is supposed to be? I hope it runs for as long as the cast wants it to.

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