'Mike & Molly' exclusive: Billy Gardell teases special Thanksgiving episode! (Hint: Think last month's Internet debate)

mike-mollyImage Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBSCBS’ hit comedy Mike & Molly will have the last word on the Marie Claire blog post “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?). Star Billy Gardell (Mike) told EW exclusively that he’ll make a “tiny nod” to last month’s Internet debate at the end of the Thanksgiving episode planned for Nov. 22.

“It’s a very eloquently put thing that I get to say at the Thanksgiving speech that kind of says everything we feel,” said Gardell, who begrudgingly admits that the post generated a lot of awareness for the Monday night comedy. “It did give it a lot of attention, but I rather attention be got by the good work we’re doing. Overwhelmingly, people from the Internet came to our side. And not just to our side but to the side of overweight people, which was nice.

“[Creators] Mark Roberts and Chuck Lorre say there is a certain amount of levity that comes with any kind of flaw you have, whether it’s being overweight or drinking too much or gambling,” Gardell added. “Comedy is comedy but when you say you hate someone for how they look, then that changes the atmosphere.”

As for the Thanksgiving episode, Gardell said the show’s entire ensemble — including Cleo King (grandma) and Rhondi Reed (Peggy) — will gather for the holiday meal. “The whole cast of crazies will be at the Thanksgiving table, which is how a good working class Thanksgiving should be,” Gardell teases. “I get to light the grill. The turkey ends up having to be done on the grill, and I ruin that, too.”

Those kind of hilarious, hot-mess moments helped Mike & Molly become TV’s most-watched new sitcom, averaging 12.2 million. CBS gave the show that also stars Melissa McCarthy, Swoosie Kurtz, and Katy Mixon a full-season pickup. “The guys write the show so wonderfully,” said Gardell, who’s also set to headline his own comedy special titled “Half Time” for Comedy Central on Feb. 5. “Mark and Chuck both have said that if by episode six, we’re only relying on fat jokes, we won’t have much of a show. [Their weight] is completely secondary. It’s about those two trying to keep a relationship together, which is what everybody goes through. That’s the main focus of the show now.”

For more on the Mike & Molly:
Mike & Molly creator on the ‘Marie Claire’ blog (and the show moving beyond fat jokes)

Comments (120 total) Add your comment
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  • john


    • Sadie

      I assume you couldn’t resist?

    • sfday

      Wow. You were first.

    • jj

      first… idiot? then yeah, you got it right. seriously. you are beyond kane, anyone who did this after the first few times anyone ever did this is lame.

      • jj

        beyond lame, i meant to type

    • jj

      i am pretty sure the people at Mike and Molly have no problem with all of this as this is the most publicity this show has gotten. and judging from comments from people who have actually seen the show (im personally not a fan of the traditional sitcom. same jokes over and over…)

  • LOL

    “George Bush doesn’t care about fat people.” – Kanye West

    • Diva

      Marie Claire doesn’t care about fat people

      • jake

        EW doesn’t care about fat people. Unless they’re on Glee.

  • zoe

    have we really reached such heights of political correctness that being this fat is OK? it’s not. it’s unhealthy and it’s unattractive.

    • Tajah

      How about this? Being a bully is unhealthy and unattractive, as you so clearly are.

      • whatevs

        So stating a fact is now considered bullying?

      • Tajah

        You’re not stating a fact to help me or anyone else. You are doing it to feel superior about yourself. That is bullying. And people aren’t putting up with bullying anymore.

      • whatevs

        Nowhere in that post did zoe make fun of anyone or belittle anyone, so how could it have been to feel superior?

        Be insecure if you want, but making assumptions about people’s intentions just because they say something you don’t want to hear is immature.

      • Kat

        @whatevs: You don’t think saying fat people are unattractive is belittling anyone?

      • Jennifer

        “Fat” is a relative term. There are a lot of healthy people who are larger than average. Also, chubby chasers would disagree with the statement that fat is unattractive.

      • jj

        being large is not a bad thing if it’s what your body type. but it is wrong to celebrate being obese if that’s what you are. our society has done a 180 when it comes to weight. In order to combat the unhealthy obsession with being overly skinny, we now applaud being overweight and call it “happy with yourself”. If you are big and meant to be, fine. But if you are big bc you eat too much bad crap and/or exercise too little than you shouldn’t be proud of that fact. That being said, noone should judge which of the two another person is. One doesn’t know who has a thyroid problem, a genetic condition, etc… But you still don’t want to advocate being unhealthy.

    • Jackie

      And it’s a fact of many people’s lives.

    • Mikey M

      We are not suppose to discuss it any longer.

    • beth

      well zoe,
      neither is being rude,narrow-minded, & opinionated…but, we accept you for who you are…

    • T.C.

      Yes, being overweight is unhealthy; “unattractive” is your personal opinion. If you don’t want to watch shows where the main characters do things that are unhealthy, I suppose shows like “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad”, “Nurse Jackie”, “Weeds”, “Californication”, “Dexter”, “Six Feet Under”, “Lost”, “Sopranos”, “The Wire” etc. are all out for you. What a boring DVR list you must have if you will only watch characters who exhibit “healthy behavior.” Where on earth is drama supposed to come from if not our struggles with our internal weaknesses and demons?

      • MCS

        Please. They eat plenty of fruit on Lost, I’m pretty sure they are healthy enough.

      • Kat

        Ah, but their mental health, MCS, is deplorable. :)

      • Joey C

        What about Hurly? Hugo Reyes on Lost played by the WONDERFUL and overweight actor Jorge Garcia!

      • Hurley wasn’t the only one

        Hurley was the fat one, but there were plenty of other unhealthy activities going on. Charlie was a heroin addict. Several characters had unprotected sex. Sawyer was smoker. And that’s just the physical stuff. Most had pyschological issues that simply eating fruit isn’t going to cure. Part of the beauty of the show was how messed up they were.

    • sick of intolerance

      Being fat may well be unhealthy. But, it is not always unattractive and the star of this show–Melissa McCarthy–is proof of that. She is adorable.

      People engage in risky behaviors all the time. They make unwise choices. They overeat, they smoke, they drive too fast, they engage in unprotected sex, they bungee jump.

      If they are good, caring people who really gives a crap if they are fat.

      • Lucy

        sorry, disagree. this show is not funny and in poor taste!

      • Chris

        Adorable? That was almost as mean as the original comment. You couldn’t just say pretty?

      • Luca

        Melissa being adorable has nothing to do with her weight. It is her personality. A personality that would be the same if her body was smaller and more in line with ‘healthy’ weight guidelines.

    • Summer

      It’s not about it being okay or not, it’s about being sensitive.

      If uou’ve an issue with sensitivity then…well, I’m sorry, chicken.

      • jj

        i actually think as a society we are too sensitive to people’s feelings about certain things and cmopletely insensitive about others. i bet some of the people who are super sensitive about their weight aren’t so sensitive when talking about other people’s races, religions, or political beliefs…

    • hannah

      this show sucks. we get it already. they’re fat.

      • sheila

        why does it suck? just because they are fat doesn’t make the show suck. I think that it is funny and just because the main characters don’t look like some models doesn’t mean that it wont last. I watch it because it is funny, that is all I care about.

    • Von

      Actually it is more “PC” to say we only want to see perfectly shaped people on our TV shows. Ask yourself two questions
      1) Is it funny?
      2) will I watch it again
      Let the show stand or fall on it’s own and quit grinding on the size of the actors

    • peter

      I find the name Zoe unappealing. Just stating a fact.

      • Confused

        Whatevs is a moron. Fact. If the moniker didn’t already give it away.

    • Susan

      Zoe, my hands are shaking in anger so badly I can hardly type my message. You are a narrow minded little snot. I bet you would like a “fat” bank account or a “fat” tasty sandwich. But, God forbid, people be fat. I am sure you are a delightful thin stick, but not everybody is and you should stop judging people.

      • jj

        maybe your hands are shaking in anger so badly because you are overreactive, hypersensitive and not fully rational. if someone making a rational and not mean spirited statement (unlike many things you read on the internet which are disgustingly filled with hatred and vitriole), you might want to consider counseling. seriously.

    • John Berggren

      The show doesn’t shy away from the health detriments of being overweight – one of the primary locations is an overeaters anonymous meeting space. There are also plenty of studies to suggest that some people have a propensity towards obesity, so it’s not “PC” to respect them as people and not constantly antagonize them about something they hear about every day.

    • Craig

      It’s unattractive to you. Some people like people with meat on their bones. Don’t generalize please.

    • cassopeia

      Ok. Since you don’t want political correctness. people called Zoe are not OK. Their name is so short and the Z is just unattractive.

    • Chris

      I was cringing during the scenes on Glee when Mercedes was whining about losing her tots. Seriously? It was just as annoying as if I had to hear someone stick thin whining about losing her celery sticks.

    • Confused

      How can “unattractive” be a fact? Fat people = unattractive is not a logical statement. People have all types of preferences.

  • Katie

    being overweight and being obese are not the same thing… just like thin and anorexic are not the same thing. i find it very annoying that people want to lump overweight and obese in the same category.

    • whatevs

      In all fairness, most people who are obese think they are just overweight.

      • random fat dude

        How is being obese not being overweight???? I’m also big boned. I eat food instead of smoking or drinking. I am caring for people, but still get looked at by random people. I don’t care. I just accept that I am who I am and if someone doesn’t like it, oh well. I respect them for there choices.

      • It’s about the BMI

        “Overweight” and “obese” are clinical terms with different meanings. Overweight means you have a BMI between 25-ish and 30-ish; obese is 30+. Whatevs may be right in his/her comment here. I figured I was simply overweight for a while, then realized I was obese, then was terrified that I was actually morbidly obese (but I wasn’t)…so finally I just researched all the terms. Working my way down the categories now…

      • Jennifer

        Um, people who are obese ARE overweight. People who are overweight are not necessarily obese. Logic is your friend, whatevs.

      • Annie

        Jennifer, whatevs meant that..most people who are obese, do not consider themselves obese, just overweight.

        Logic is your friend, Jennifer.

    • Kelly

      Yes, perfect point.

    • Luca

      Very true. You can be overweight without being obese. Just as you can be obese for reasons other than just not giving a damn. And while I turned off this particular show after the first episode because every joke was about being fat, weight etc, I do give them credit that Molly was exercising etc rather than being complacent.

  • JPX

    Why not have a sitcom that plays anorexia for laughs? Morbid obesity is an eating disorder and it’s shameful that it’s being promoted as something normal.

    • T.C.

      OK, I’ll play–how about “Cougar Town” (Courtney Cox), “Sex and the City” (SJP et al), “Allie McBeal” (the entire cast, pretty much), “Arrested Development” (Portia DeRossi), “My Name is Earl” (Jaimee Presley), “Big Bang Theory” (Kaley Cuoco), “According to Jim” (Courtney Thorne Smith), “Desperate Housewives” (Terri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman), “Hope and Faith” (Kelly Ripa) and “Growing Pains” (Tracy Gold).

      I don’t watch many sitcoms so this is all I can think of off the top of my head. But I think it’s fairly safe to guess that just about every television show on the air features anorexic/disturbingly skinny women.

      • Eli

        In what world is Kaley Cuoco considered anorexic/disturbingly skinny?

      • MCS

        Some of these people you have confused skinny with anorexic.

      • hannah

        kaley has an amazing body. you must be huge.

      • Kat

        I gotta say, one of the reasons I love Kaley Cuoco on TBBT is because she’s actually got a little meat. In no way is she carrying around any spare weight, of course, but she’s got muscle and a normal healthy look to her. That girl does not look remotely anorexic, and I love it because it’s rather rare for TV.

      • T.C.

        You guys are right–I never watch the “Big Bang Theory” because I think it is horrible. I couldn’t even get through an episode when I was trapped on a plane. I may have only seen one picture of her and assumed she was just like every other actress–my bad. I stand by my other actresses though

      • JPX

        You have obviously never seen a true anorexic in your life. True those women are underweight, but life threatening anorexia is quite different. Mike and Molly aren’t fat, they are morbidly obese. Anyone who is defending this show is obviously overweight. The other thing that gets lost in the shuffle is the fact that they are simply unpleasant to look at. I was at Disney World recently and I was absolutely disgusted by all the morbidly obese clogging everything up with their electric carts.

      • Kristen

        Portia Degeneres has written recently about her battle with anorexia. It is interesting that none of you seem to see it as an overall problem of judging people on their size rather than character. Portia and Melissa McCarthy face the same pressure to be perfect and respond in different ways. How bout we love them for their fantastic work. Period. I am just glad Sookie/Dena is working!!!

      • T.C.

        @JPX–you have obviously never recognized the anorexic right in front of you in your entire life. At least half of the women I mentioned have *come out publicly* about their struggles with anorexia (Portia de Rossi, Tracy Gold, Felicity Huffman, and Terri Hatcher are the ones that I can recall offhand.) Just because someone may not be on the far end of the continuum of anorexia and therefore are not completely skeletal does not mean that they do not have a serious problem.

        And as far as your opinion that being overweight is unattractive; well, I do not begrudge anyone their preferences–we are all entitled to them. However, when you take it to the extreme of believing that people who are unattractive to you is at problem they need to address in order to make your life more pleasant–please, get over yourself. Nobody was put on this earth for the sole purpose of being attractive for you. Maybe take a look at that self-centered and judgmental spirit of yours before focusing on how others look. I would imagine you’re a lot less fun to be around than the average fat person.

  • Redvector

    The first couple of episodes of this show were funny. Now not so much. Leaning to heavily on lame sex jokes for cheap laughs. Haven’t watched the last few episodes and don’t miss it.

    • Trixie

      I actually didn’t like the first few episodes because every joke was about how overweight they were. No the jokes seem to be more relationship based. Much more enjoyable.

  • Mikey M

    So Fat people are in now or are we suppose to just not say that Obesity is an epidemic and killing people every day.

    • Z

      R U Perfect, an epidemic, you are listeing to TV and radio to much. Drugs is epidemic, booze, smoking, etc. We have many. Get a clue.

  • Jeff from Jersey; yes New Jersey

    I may be in the minority; but I wouldn*t give a nod to Marie Claire in the upcoming episode. Maybe when the Emmys come up, I would thank them for the publicity.

    • Mike

      Emmys??? For “Mike and Molly”???

      This is the funniest thing I’ve read all day…far funnier than anything on this lame sitcom.

      • jj


  • Str8tlk

    Obesity is killing people everyday, what a crock, what about people who are stick thin, or handicap or people born with diabetes from birth, drug problems, drinkers, this crap of putting the blame on fat people is crap. Just because we put a first lady in who had nothing to do but pick on the obese and heavy, boom light bulb. Time to call a spade a spade, fat people not all of them
    don’t go around eating 24/7 and don’t hide candy bars under their bed and still are fat, that is life. What about the ones who don’t eat are stick thin and killing themselves throwing up all the time. We have to stop pointing fingers. I have a finger to point if you want to see it. Enough is Enough!

    • random fat dude

      I agree. I eat less then my skinny friends, get full, and they ask me is that all your eating? I just say yah I’m full. I may be fat but I don’t eat like a garbage can. lol.

    • Eh?

      Okay I found it hard to understand your comment, Str8tlk, but I think you just accused Michelle Obama of picking on the obese? Soooo not what she’s doing. She’s trying to work against childhood obesity, which is a great cause. Just because she’s trying to make sure kids are healthier doesn’t mean she’s picking on anyone. I don’t think she’s accused fat kids of being unattractive – just unhealthy. That’s totally legit. I do get what you’re (kind of) saying about people who are really aggressive regarding fat people, though. It’s just because it’s visually very obvious when someone has the unforgiveable character flaw of being fat. You can’t tell a smoker or an alcoholic just by looking at them (generally). But it’s easy to see fatness, and therefore make assumptions about behavior and pass judgment.

      • Cara

        You cannot get fat by not eating….unless you are handicapped and can’t physically walk. You are what you eat! What’s sad is seeing young people that are very heavy….they don’t have slow metabolisms yet, so they ARE really eating a lot of junk.

      • random skinny chick

        there are health issues that can cause weight gain or an inability to lose weight. don’t make a statement without being educated on a subject. that being said the majority of people who are overweight and/or obese in this country could do something about it and make healthier choices for themselves. does this mean everyone would be “skinny”? no. everyone’s body is different and not meant to fit one mold. it’s about what is healthiest for the individual and not what is considered “attractive” to society (which is cyclical). and, btw, random fat dude, not eating enough actually slows your metabolism so that you DONT burn a lot of calories/fat. If you really want to lose weight, talk to your doctor or an expert or read something on the subject. it’s not as simple as “i just won’t eat that much”. especially the older you get. Most important is exercise. If you exercise enough, chances are your body will reflect it. And remember that we do not all fit into a cookie cutter mold.

    • Tajah

      Amen! There are a lot of reasons why fat people are fat, and belittling them in the name of saving their lives and their health does not work. Would you like to endure daily abuse and bullying because of a so-called character flaw you had? I don’t think so.

      Kindness and sensitivity go a long way.

  • Barack Palin

    How many turkeys do you think they’ll go through for the Thanksgiving episode?

    • harmony

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH I lol’d. jk. i think that was… very mean spirited. fat people shouldn’t be pointed out to that they’re fat. only really skinny people should be criticized for being unhealthy, because they aren’t “curvy” or “real woman”.

  • kathryn

    Please, please, PLEASE take away the canned laughter from the Mike & Molly show. It’s totally the most awful thing. The show would be great if only the stupid laugh track was turned off. Let US decide what’s funny. Please.

    • jj

      yeah, if i could i would get rid of all laugh tracks. period.

  • RK


  • bridgit

    I love the show It doesnt matter if there over weight its funny why does it all ways have to be about skinny people its a show about a over weight couple that are trying to diet just like every other couple to me its real and thats why its funny nd by the way Im skinny so dont think Im just writing this because Im over weight

  • ShadowCat

    I actually found the show funny at times and I really don’t focus too much on their bodies but more on the material and storyline of the episodes. I mean really, I’m not watching shows based on body types, I’m watching shows to see what kind of interesting storylines they can offer and that’s what people should focus on. This shouldn’t be a continous ongoing debate on what the perfect size to be or what body type should truly be on television.
    Key things to consider:
    1.How could are the actors?
    2. How can I (the audience) relate to the characters?
    3. Do some of the material seem hilarious?
    4. Has there been a storyline established and how long or far will it be taken?

    I think these are the many key questions to keep in mind when watching any show including Mike and Molly so stop judging their physical appearances and just see if you find the show entertaining!

  • Casey

    I honestly don’t get why we just hand wave being fat. Yeah, it’s their choice, inner beauty, blah blah blah. But that kind of attitude just encourages obesity, like it’s okay. It’s not. People come in all sizes, yes, but that is NOT natural. There’s a difference between being curvy or full-figured and being obese.

    • ST

      Why should anyone care about being attractive to a total d-bag like you? Watch Jersey Shore and STFU you moron! Fat people can lose weight, while idiots will never get any smarter! I’m waving my hand to you now – but only with one finger.

      • Casey

        Why am I a d-bag? Because I think that people shouldn’t be encouraged to be fat? I didn’t say they were bad people, that they’re ugly, or repulsive or anything along those lines. I just think that being healthy weight should be encouraged, whatever that weight happens to be. By the way, Jersey Shore is utter filth, and you’re a boor. Also, I’m FEMALE you jacka-s-s.

      • Kim

        Then why don’t you just worry about not getting fat yourself and just leave other people alone? Go ahead and eat healthy and exercise, more power to you, but why does it matter to you what other people do? I can’t stand breathing in cigarette smoke, but it’s not my place to tell everyone they can’t smoke. The only place I have that power is in my own home. Worry about yourself and live and let live. And btw, I’m not fat myself, cause I’m sure someone will assume that I am.

    • steph

      the fact that two main characters on a tv show are fat does NOT encourage being fat. It’s a tv show for crying out loud. The characters have flaws. Watching them work through their flaws is what makes tv interesting. They go to OA meetings, Mike is constantly trying some diet thing. It’s what the majority of American people deal with on a daily basis. it gives them something to identify with because their struggles are similar – the necessity to lose weight to be accepted into society, the worry that you’re never going to find someone to be with, dealing with family who don’t get your struggles with food & working out.

      Plus, this show is adorable. Lighten up.

    • Laura

      Do you really think that society just “hand waves” being fat? The sheer amount of vitrolic comments toward overweight people on the first page of this board alone should tell you that that’s not true.
      I’ve never watched this show in particular, so I can’t make any real statements on whether or not it “encourages” being fat, but I’m willing to bet that the message of the show is not, ‘being overweight is awesome, and everyone should gain as much weight as possible, because it’s soo cool.’

      • Krystal

        You’re right. It isn’t. They go to Overeaters Anonymous. They’re trying to lose weight but it’s a struggle and they ended up finding love at the meeting.

    • Angeleen

      We have tv shows and movies about drug abusers and do we have these debates about the fact that because they exist it makes it ‘o.k.’?

      I remember Kelly Osborne saying something to People that she got more disrespect for being fat than for being a raging addict…

      The problems I have with people who judge overweight and/or obese people badly is for these reasons:

      1. No one is perfect and we all engage in unhealthy activities regularly. (or have some other fault that causes difficulties).

      2. Just because someone is obese does not make them unhealthy, actually. Yes their RISKS go up, but they are risks. Some people are born with genetic risks, should we blame their families for pro-creating knowing they have these genetic risks for health issues?

      3.Being healthy and being thin are not mutually exclusive. You can not judge someone’s health status simply by looking at them.

      Did we not just read about Joan Collins eating 850 calories a day? Yet she didn’t “look” anorexic or ill. But that certainly was not a good thing for her to do with her body.

      4. I believe in the autonomy of the individual. I beleive I should treat all people with respect and kindess because I have no idea what is happening in their life and/or with their health and therefor am not a capable judge.

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