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June 03, 2010

First look: 'Mike & Molly' plus full trailer

MikeOut of the box, CBS's new Chuck Lorre comedy "Mike & Molly," about an overweight couple, is polished and well cast. The characters are sweet, more likable than you might expect.

The pilot is basically 22 minutes of fat jokes (examples in the trailer, below). I don't know about you, but I don't need to be told a main character's fart weighs 3 and 1/2 pounds, though admittedly that's the crudest line. 

Wisely, "Mike & Molly" has both the title characters attending Overeaters Anonymous and making efforts to lose weight. An unhealthy person trying to better themselves makes for far more sympathetic viewing than characters sitting on the couch and reveling in their obesity (that would be the Fox version).

There's an unremarked undercurrent of fantasy fulfillment in most hit comedies, however. "How I Met Your Mother" is an idealized circle of friends -- who wouldn't want to get beers with that group? "Two and a Half Men" has Charlie Sheen's idealized swinging single existence. "Modern Family" has an idealized upper-class family life.

Will viewers find fantasy fulfillment in an overweight, blue-collar couple dating? If the characters are funny enough, lovable enough, audiences will show up regardless. "Big Bang Theory" isn't really fantasy fulfillment, after all, just really funny. Also, closer to this example, "Roseanne." This is far from a hard rule, in other words, so don't beat me up with exceptions. But typically the sitcom universe -- whether the "Cheers" bar or the "Friends" apartment -- tends to thrive if you create an environment that most viewers could see themselves wanting to visit.

Here's the trailer (more fall TV trailers here), see what you think:

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