[As I've already mentioned, and will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Mike & Molly," CBS
The Pitch: "Hi, I'm Chuck Lorre and I have a new show..." "SOLD!"
Quick Response: There are two pilots at war in the single pilot for "Mike & Molly." One is a character-driven story about two people falling in love. In that pilot, the two characters meet at Overeaters Anonymous and their struggles with their weight are definitely linked to nearly every punchline. The second is a story about two fat people in love. In that pilot, tables keep collapsing or being overturned and staircases turn out not to be wide enough. If the first pilot turns out to be the template for the series to come, "Mike & Molly" is a show that I'd watch again. Stars Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy have been scene-stealing supporting players in the past and there's absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be funny as series stars. Swoosie Kurtz and Reno Wilson also know how to get laughs and Katy Mixon's persona and comic timing are, as they were on "Eastbound & Down," unique. In that first version of the pilot, the central characters are overweight, but the jokes are self-generated and part of rapport amongst friends and loved ones. In the second pilot, the fat guy falls down and breaks stuff and the jokes cease to be character-driven, so much as punchline-driven, with the punchlines coming at the expense of the leads. I would not keep watching that second pilot. So it's tough to know what to think about "Mike & Molly." There is precedent for a Chuck Lorre-produced show starting off too broad and laughing at its main characters rather than with them, but eventually finding a way to love, honor and mostly respect those main characters. I hated "Big Bang Theory" for a long time and was eventually very glad that I stuck with it. For the sake of Gardell, McCarthy, Kurtz, Wilson and Mixon, I hope that's the direction "Mike & Molly" goes as well.
Desire To Watch Again: High. I want to see the show that "Mike & Molly" decides to be. I fear, though, that I won't be willing to give it nearly a full season to find itself, as I did with "BBT."
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