CBS is launching a new sitcom called Mike & Molly on Monday September 20th at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.
In some ways, the show is not unlike all of the other half-hour comedies we've been watching for years—it's just a show about two people falling for each other.
But there is one unique thing about the show. The two main characters—played by Melissa McCarthy (formerly of Gilmore Girls) and Billy Gardell (My Name is Earl)—are both obese.
First, I need to give this show the credit it deserves. As I said in my "Couples Retreat" post, over the past ten or so years sitcoms have fallen into a big-guy-thin-girl rut that is not only trite but also offensive. So a show about a big guy and a big girl feels revolutionary.
Sure, Roseanne did it first, but that was a show about a family struggling economically, and since we all know obesity is tied to income, the stars' sizes seemed to be making more of a comment on their economic class than their romantic appeal.
On the other hand, Mike & Molly is a show about falling in love. The two leads meet in the first episode—unfortunately at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting—and the show goes from there. Two big people as romantic leads? That really is revolutionary.
It's clear that we're having some kind of moment where shows about bigger people are suddenly hip—look at Huge, More to Love, or Drop Dead Diva—and I'm absolutely thrilled about that. But my concern is that, though Hollywood is finally starting to show people who are bigger, they're still not showing anyone in the middle. There is still no one on my small screen who looks like me.
Nevertheless, I'm happy about Mike & Molly and look forward to watching it Monday night. But what I'm really hoping is that shows like this and the others I've mentioned are just the beginning. That they are opening doors that desperately need to be opened. And that though we only see two sizes on TV now—big and little—we will soon seen people of all sizes.