Friday, September 17, 2010

CBS Fall Pilot Review: Mike & Molly - Premieres September 20; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 20, 2010)

Mike & Molly

Mike & Molly - Mondays 9:30PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, September 20, 2010 at 9:30PM ET/PT

MIKE & MOLLY is a comedy about a working class Chicago couple who find love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Officer Mike Briggs is a good-hearted cop who sincerely wants to lose weight. Mike's partner, Officer Carl McMilllan, is a thin, fast-talking wise-guy who, despite his teasing, encourages Mike on his road to slimness and romance. While speaking at an O.A. meeting, Mike meets Molly Flynn, an instantly likeable fourth-grade teacher with a good sense of humor about her curves. For Molly, focusing on smart clothes isn't easy while living with her sexy older sister, Victoria, and their mother, Joyce, both of who flaunt their effortless figures while indulging their healthy appetites right in front of her. Mike also faces temptation at the diner he and Carl frequent, where they've become friends with a Senegalese waiter, Samuel, to whom dieting is a foreign concept. Mike and Molly found each other in the most unexpected of places. Now, they're about to find out where their quest for companionship will take them.

Cast Details:

* Billy Gardell as Officer Mike Briggs
* Melissa McCarthy as Molly Flynn
* Reno Wilson as Officer Carl McMillan
* Katy Mixon as Victoria Flynn
* Nyambi Nyambi as Samuel
* Swoosie Kurtz as Joyce Flynn

Billy Gardell (Officer Mike Briggs) co-starred in the critically acclaimed television series, Lucky. His other television credits include Yes, Dear and Judging Amy on CBS, My Name is Earl, The Practice, Monk and Gary the Rat.

He made his major motion picture debut alongside Anthony Quinn and Sylvester Stallone in Avenging Angelo, and had a memorable scene with Billy Bob Thornton in the Cohen Brother's film, Bad Santa. He also appeared in You, Me & Dupree.

Melissa McCarthy (Molly Flynn) is best known for her role as the clumsy culinary genius Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls, and was most recently seen as Dena in the television series, Samantha Who? She also guest-starred on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

McCarthy will appear in the upcoming feature films The Nines, Just Add Water and Pretty Ugly People. Her additional feature film credits include White Oleander, Pumpkin, The Life of David Gale, Go and God. She recently turned her creative attentions to writing, directing, producing and starring in the short film Polk Valley.

Reno Wilson (Officer Carl McMillan) made his television debut as Theo's best friend, Howard, on the legendary television series, The Cosby Show. He has since starred and guest-starred in dozens of television series, including Heist, Blind Justice and the critically acclaimed Showtime series, The Hoop Life.

He can be seen in the upcoming feature film Bolden, in which he plays legendary jazz icon Louis Armstrong. Wilson's other movie credits include Mighty Joe Young, Rough Draft, Fallen and White Hype. He is also an accomplished voice-over artist who, most notably, gave voice to the Decepticon Frenzy in the blockbuster film Transformers, and later voiced the Autobot "Mudflap" in Transformers 2.

Katy Mixon's (Victoria Flynn) feature film credits include Four Christmases, State of Play, All About Steve, The Informers and the upcoming Drive Angry 3D.

Her television credits include My Name Is Earl, Eastbound and Down (for which she will reprise the role of April in its second season) and the recurring role of Betsy on Two and a Half Men on CBS.

This summer, Nyambi (Samuel) is participating in the New York City Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park in The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale with a cast that includes Al Pacino, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Hamish Linklater. His other theater credits include the first Broadway revival of August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Tempest opposite Mandy Patinkin for the Classic Stage Company, Coming Home at the Wilma Theater, and various productions with the Classical Theatre of Harlem (where he is a company member) and the Williamstown Theater Festival. He is also a LAByrinth Theatre Company member.

Nyambi has appeared on the television series, Law & Order. He was in the Cannes and Spirit Award-winning independent film, Day Night Day Night, as well as the upcoming In Praise of Shadows.

Swoosie Kurtz (Joyce Flynn) was most recently seen in the SHOWTIME television series, Nurse Jackie. Her extensive television work includes the series Pushing Daisies, Huff, Desperate Housewives, Heroes, Law & Order: SVU, Lost, ER, Sisters, Love, Sidney and the television movies And The Band Played On and Texas Cheerleading Murdering Mom.

Her feature film credits include Citizen Ruth, Liar, Liar, Dangerous Liaisons, Cruel Intentions, The Rules of Attraction, Bubble Boy, Reality Bites, The World According to Garp, Against All Odds and An Englishman in New York, which premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

Pilot Plot:

#1 "Pilot" (Airs September 20)
When teacher Molly Flynn hears Officer Mike Biggs' "share" at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, she's instantly smitten and invites him to come speak to her fourth grade class.
Directed by James Burrows
Written by Mark Roberts
Guest Stars: Brendan Patrick Connor as Group Leader, Zachary Balagot as Gary, Kiara Muhammad as Krystal, Tucker Albrizzi as Little Boy/Tucker, Kathy Nagler as Dispatcher (V.O.)

Analysis:

In the opening scene, we are introduced to Officer Mike Biggs and his partner Officer Cal McMillan at the diner they frequent where Samuel is the waiter. Molly is then introduced exercising on an elliptical trainer. Her mother and sister eat some cake in front of her. Molly and Victoria go to the Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Mike speaks at the meeting. Molly invites him to speak to her fourth grade class. Mike and Carl go to the Walter Payton Elementary School. Mike holds a questions and answer session with the kids where he explains why he became a police officer. Back at the diner, Mike tries to blow his diet, but Carl won't let him. Molly shares her story at the O.A. meeting. Mike tries to ask her out but suffers an injury to his hand after falling on a table. Carl and Mike receive a dispatch to a house that was robbed. It turns out to be Molly's house. Mike questions her about the stolen items and then asks her out. Note that the final scene from the Upfront version where Mike & Molly go on their first date was removed from this final cut. They will have their first date in the second episode.

This is a very strong and funny pilot. It's directed by the legendary James Burrows. He will be directing all of the episodes. This show has a lot going for it. There are some good and experienced actors here. I wasn't very familiar with some of the cast members before seeing the pilot. They may not be household names to some people. Billy Gardell and Reno Wilson had previously worked together as police partners in the short-lived 1996 TV series, Heist. It would seem like they have worked a lot longer than that by the way they exchange lines. Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy have some instant chemistry in the pilot. They just seem right together. It will be interesting to see how their romance and relationship develops in future episodes. The script is very solid and fast paced. Many different locations are used in a number of scenes. There are quite a few fat jokes in the pilot. I would expect that they will cut down on them in upcoming episodes. Chuck Lorre has said in articles that the show is not about weight. The show is set in Chicago. In some pilots, it's hard to tell where a show is set. They do a fine job establishing the show is set in Chicago with the exterior shots and references to actual locations. I also noticed Samuel wearing a Brian Urlacher Bears shirt. Hopefully they will continue to give the show a Chicago feel and have some local celebrities as guest stars. Chicago is my kind of town.

There are a few things that I didn't like about the pilot. Victoria is described as Molly's older sister in the show summary, but Katy Mixon is 29 while Melissa McCarthy is 40. I'm not sure if viewers will buy that age difference. I don't really find the Victoria character too appealing with the references to her getting high and using a water pipe, but perhaps she will grow on me in future episodes. Some people might find her character hilarious and to be a riot. Swoosie Kurtz is funny in her limited screen time. Hopefully they will expand her role a bit. It would be a shame if she is underutilized. Some additional recurring characters are probably needed. Cleo King has been cast as the grandmother of Mike, who is mentioned several times in the pilot. She will appear in seven out of the first 13 episodes. Chuck Lorre is known for tinkering with his shows to fix things that aren't working. He's a very involved executive producer.

Conclusion:

Executive Producer Chuck Lorre has already brought CBS hit sitcoms with Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. I don't think Mike & Molly will be an instant hit, but it should be able to gradually build an audience this season. It has a comfortable time slot after TV's most watched sitcom, Two and a Half Men, and before the action-packed Hawaii Five-O remake. I would not be surprised if it is the most watched new sitcom this season.

With the popularity of NBC's The Biggest Loser and ABC Family's Huge, the time seems right for a sitcom with two plus-sized lead actors. There have been many sitcoms in recent years with a fat husband and a thin wife, but I don't think there has been a sitcom like this since Roseanne. Many people should be able to relate to these real-looking people. Some people may be turned off by the number of fat jokes in the pilot episode, but I would expect them to tone it down a bit in future episodes. This show isn't about weight. It has a lot of heart and sweetness to it.

With a talented and likeable cast, good scripts and sitcom geniuses like Chuck Lorre and James Burrows behind it, Mike & Molly seems like it will be a good fit for CBS and should be set up to have a successful run. We definitely need more traditional multi-camera sitcoms like this one. Fall in love with Mike & Molly this fall on CBS!

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/17/10

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, September 20 on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site

  • TV.com

  • epguides.com

  • Internet Movie Database

  • Wikipedia

  • Mike & Molly Photo Gallery


  • Preview:



    It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars (but we won't cover movie stars like Tom Hanks or John Travolta, since they won't be talking about their past sitcoms likely), so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
    For the week of Sept. 20-24, 2010, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! So get your DVR's (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!

    Monday, September 20, 2010
    • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Dirt/Friends) - Catch Courteney on an all-new Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:06am on ABC. Earlier in the day, you can catch her on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your listings.
    • Mindy Kaling (The Office) - Catch another appearance by Mindy on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:35am on CBS.
    • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Catch Sofia on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am then on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check listings.
    • Cloris Leachman (Raising Hope/Facts of Life/Phyllis) - Watch Cloris on Lopez Tonight on TBS at 11pm.
    • Jason Ritter (The Class) - Catch Jason on NBC's Today show, sometime between 7-9am.
    Tuesday, September 21, 2010
    • Ed Helms (The Office) - Catch Ed on an all-new Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Julie Bowen, Ty Burell, Eric Stonestreet, & Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) - Catch four of the stars of the hit sitcom on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 12:06am. Also, catch Jesse Tyler Ferguson on The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier in the day.
    • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Everybody Loves Raymond/Back to You) - Catch Patty on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:35am on CBS.
    • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Catch Tina on an all-new Late Night With Jimmy Fallon at 12:35am on NBC.
    • Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Glenn Martin) - Watch Kevin on Lopez Tonight, at 11pm on TBS.
    • Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey/Blossom/Gimme a Break!) - Watch Joey on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or check listings.
    • Jim Belushi (According to Jim) - Catch Jim on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly so check your local stations.
    Wednesday, September 22, 2010
    • Betty White (Hot in Cleveland/Golden Girls/Mary Tyler Moore Show) - The legendary Betty White is on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Cast of The Big Bang Theory - Watch them on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:35am on CBS.
    • Ben Rappaport (Outsourced) - Catch Ben on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:35am on ABC.
    • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Catch Patty on The Rachel Ray Show, so check listings.
    • Nathan Lane (Modern Family) - He talks about his guest shot on Modern Family to the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Eric Roberts (Less than Perfect) - Watch Eric on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or check listings.
    • Anthony Anderson (All About the Andersons/Bernie Mac/Hang Time) - Watch Anthony on Lopez Tonight at 11pm o TBS.
    Thursday, September 23, 2010
    • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Catch Sofia on an all-new Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation) - Catch Amy on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC at 12:35am. Earlier in the day, you can catch her on LIVE! with Regis & Kelly, so check your listings.
    • Rashida Jones (Parks &Recreation/The Office) - Watch Rashida also on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 12:35am on NBC.
    • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Watch Jerry on Larry King Live at 9pm on CNN.
    • Cybill Shepherd (Cybill) - Watch Cybill on The Oprah Show, so check listings.
    • Ben Rappaport (Outsourced) - Watch Ben on NBC's Today show sometime between 7-9am.
    • Tina Fey (30 Rock) - Tina is also on NBC's Today show on this day.
    • Ken Jeong (Community) - Yet another star appearing on NBC's Today show on this day.
    • Ed Helms (The Office) - Catch Ed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check listings.
    Friday, September 24, 2010
    • None.
    Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

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    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 1)

    Monday, June 1

    • Keegan-Michael Key (Friends from College/Playing House/Gary Unmarried) - Watch Keegan-Michael on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
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