Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mike & Molly: Hollywood's Version of Fat People

So, there’s an article on the Huffington Post about this new sitcom called Mike & Molly. The headline of this article is “Mike & Molly: The Sitcom About People Who Happen to Be Fat.”

The article asks the question: “And yet, with two overweight principals heading up a series produced in thin-obsessed Hollywood, can they avoid the discussion of weight?”

Um…apparently not, since you’re writing an article about it.

Did Roseanne get this much attention? What about King of Queens? Fat people in television shows is no new thing. But this is described as a show “about people who happen to be fat.” The way this is phrased you almost can hear the producer whispering it, like “it’s about people who happen to be pedophiles.”

So, I wondered – is the fatness of the characters a non-issue? I put my investigative journalism skills to the test and wandered over to the CBS web site to find the show synopsis. Let’s break it down:
MIKE & MOLLY is a comedy about a working class Chicago couple who find love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
Of course they do. They couldn’t have met somewhere normal, like a bar, restaurant, grocery store, the zoo, a museum, etc. They had to meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting because they're fat. Get it?  This is already too ridiculous for words. How many fat people do you know who go to Overeaters Anonymous meetings anyway?
Officer Mike Biggs is a good-hearted cop who sincerely wants to lose weight.
Of course he does. Because don’t all fat people want to lose weight?  Oh, but he's sincere about it.

Mike's partner, Officer Carl McMillan, is a thin, fast-talking wise-guy who, despite his teasing, encourages Mike on his road to slimness and romance.
The sidekick. Barf. I can already hear the fat jokes in my head from this “teasing” fellow.

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.
Can you believe it? A fat person can be “instantly likeable”? And she’s comfortable with her body. This is obviously something noteworthy in Hollywoodland, although in real life you meet people like this all the time.

For Molly, focusing on smart choices isn't easy while living with her sexy older sister, Victoria, and their mother, Joyce, both of whom flaunt their effortless figures while indulging their healthy appetites right in front of her.
For a show about people who “just happen to be fat,” I’m hearing a lot about food issues in this synopsis. Also, how many people do you know who are fat whose entire family are all thin and can eat all they want without gaining a pound? Not many. This kind of things tends to run through genetics. She couldn’t just have a supportive family either, right? They have to flaunt their figures in front of her. Ugh.

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.
Jesus, more food issues? All this temptation. Here’s an idea – if you want to lose weight, don’t frequent a diner!

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.
Yes, shocking that you might meet another fat person at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.  I suspect their quest will take them to a lot of fat jokes from the sidekick, the waiter, and the family.

Hollywood is such a weird place.  I mean, why not just cast two fat people in a normal sitcom and not mention the weight issue at all?  Why does it have to be an issue?  Why does dieting and "smart food choices" have to be at the forefront of it?  Oh, right, because in Hollywood no one eats, so fat people are looked upon as mutant beings.  Can't you just hear the producer saying "I know, let's do a show about fat people.  Do you know any?  No?  Well I'm sure they all want to be thin like us, so let's just go from there."  


  1. Ridiculous. As soon as I read the first sentence I immediately thought about Roseanne. They threw a few jokes around once in a while but, they were just human beings on a show.

    I read a few curvy female bloggers who are pretty intense about fat acceptance. I'm definitely not about self-hatred, but let's all be honest about taking care of yourself, making better choices, and trying to be healthy without being obsessed about it.

    This extreme is just as nuts.

    PS - I have the formal claim denial being sent in the mail today!!!

  2. I'm not about fat acceptance so to speak. I think people should be healthy and all that. But, the fact is, a ton of people in this country are overweight, and many of them are pretty happy people. I don't know what I'm so burned about reading the synopsis of this show, but I sometimes wonder why they can't just have a show where a character actually happens to be overweight, like happens in real life, without even commenting on it. Why does it have to be such a focus?