'Mike & Molly' Star Speaks Out About 'Fatties' Furor
By Christine Fenno Posted Nov 20th 2010 12:23PM
After a post called 'Should Fatties Get a Room?' appeared on Marie Claire magazine's site last month, 'Mike & Molly' fans were in an uproar about the opinions of the blogger, who wrote that she wasn't a viewer, but felt "grossed out" seeing or even imagining plus-size people romancing one another. In other words, the premise of the series -- two Overeaters Anonymous members begin dating -- bothered her. 'Mike & Molly,' a hit for CBS, averages more than 12 million viewers.
'Mike & Molly' creator Mark Roberts originally said he wanted to ignore the slam in future scripts. But he did admit the incident simply struck him as cruel: "I'm really not that angry. I'm hurt for my two friends [stars Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell] who had to read horrible things that some woman said about them," he told EW.com in October. "I feel more sad."
Now, Gardell (who plays Mike) tells EW that in the Nov. 22 episode, he gets to make a "tiny nod" to the brouhaha. "It's a very eloquently put thing that I get to say at the Thanksgiving speech, that kind of says everything we feel," says Gardell.
Regarding the controversy's notoriety, Gardell says, "It did give ['Mike & Molly'] 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."
He adds, "Comedy is comedy, but when you say you hate someone for how they look, then that changes the atmosphere...[Creators] Mark Roberts and Chuck Lorre both have said that if by episode six, we're only relying on fat jokes, we won't have much of a show. [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."
And what kind of holiday will it be for the couple on Monday night? "The whole cast of crazies will be at the Thanksgiving table, which is how a good working-class Thanksgiving should be," Gardell hints. "I get to light the grill. The turkey ends up having to be done on the grill, and I ruin that, too."
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