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Series / Mike & Molly

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'"For the first time in my life, I see love..."

A 2010–16 CBS sitcom produced by Chuck Lorre and starring Melissa McCarthy, Billy Gardell and Swoosie Kurtz. Police officer Mike Biggs and elementary school teacher Molly Flynn meet at an Overeaters' Anonymous meeting and hit it off.

This show provides examples of the following:

  • Aborted Arc: Mike & Molly's attempts to conceive a kid. The season finale that included the plotline was pulled off the air because the episode featured a tornado...just when real tornadoes devastated parts of the Midwestern U.S. When the next season began, Molly for some reason quits her job & becomes a writer. Aside from frustration over failing to conceive, Mike and Molly pretty much never brought it up again.
    • It was brought up again in a recent episode, with both coming to terms that it might or might not happen, and if it doesn't they'd eventually consider adoption.
    • In the final episodes, the series this time focused fully on Mike & Molly attempting to bring a child to their household one more time. In the finale "I See Love," they successfully get not just one kid from a surrogate, but also would get another from Molly herself. She reveals she's pregnant. The writing storyline was pretty much abandoned & clearly became the aborted arc.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Victoria plans to use a can of hairspray and a lighter on an ex-boyfriend in one episode. Mike manages to talk her down and take the can and lighter away from her.
  • Ascended Extra: Harry appeared just once in Season 1 ("Opening Day"), being just an incidental character that Mike, Molly, and Carl encountered while trading seats back-and-forth at the Cubs game. At the end of the episode, he starts attending the same Overeaters Anonymous meetings. He's brought back as a recurring character in Season 2 and gets upgraded to a regular in Season 3.
  • Basement-Dweller:
    • Carl lives with his grandmother, who frequently henpecks him, and is portrayed as something of a loser because of this. She finally kicks him out in the third season.
    • There's a bit of a Double Standard here at work as both Molly and her sister still live at home as well, but Molly at least is treated as responsible and practical. Victoria probably wouldn't make it on her own. The Double Standard is later demolished when it's revealed that Molly is bad with money, is in debt up to her eyeballs, and probably wouldn't make it any further than Victoria on her own.
    • For a time in season three, Mike and Molly cleaned up the basement at Molly's house and moved there from the second floor. They then return upstairs halfway through season four.
    • Victoria would move to the basement near the end of the series.
  • Birthday Buddies: In the series finale, as everyone gathers at the hospital for the birth of Mike's and Molly's adoptive child, Samuel quietly mentions that it's his birthday too.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Peggy's sister Rosemary. Mike and the others are instantly taken in by her warm and friendly attitude, but it turns out that she was highly favored by their father, mocks Peggy for being a whiner and liar both then and now and that she brought her own neglect on herself (all of which was completely untrue). Needless to say, their reconciliation was short-lived and Peggy throws her out, and Mike quickly comes to his senses.
  • Boss's Unfavorite Employee: Mike and Carl's co-worker, Seely, is apparently this. He keeps making so many weight jokes in "Pie Fight" that Mike ultimately punches him out in the locker room. Mike is ordered to attend a therapy session, as well as punished with a three-day suspension. Mike points out that the usual punishment is two weeks, leading him to conclude that even the Captain hates Seely.
  • Bride Zilla: Molly freely admits she'll be this as the wedding approaches, and she does prove obsessive over every little detail in her drive to make everything perfect. "The Dress" especially features this, as she's desperately trying to lose six pounds so that she can wear her preferred wedding gown. She ends up getting into it with a woman at the gym and lands in jail. Ironically, despite Molly's belief that no one would out-crazy her, assorted drama going on right before the big day (i.e. Peggy going at it with her ex, Vince turning out to already be married, and Carl fighting with his girlfriend) makes her look rather normal by comparison.
  • Cool Car: One episode has Mike buy a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, only to have Informed Flaws no one could have missed pop up, and Molly forcing him to sell it and get back his money.
    • Season Five sees Molly spending the advance from her publisher on a muscle car, despite her ongoing problems with debt.
  • Cool Old Lady: Carl's grandmother is vibrant, has an active social life, and always greets visitors with a smiling face and worthwhile stories.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Samuel is constantly offering sarcasm and quips in response to the other characters' antics and problems, with Mike and Carl being the most frequent targets.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Victoria: Dead people are just like us. Except they're dead.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The last lines of the series are Mike and Molly singing the theme song to their newborn child.
  • Dirty Old Man: Vince.
  • The Dreaded "Thank You" Letter: At one point, Molly has to hound Mike to help him with thank you notes for their wedding gifts. He then gets chastised by his friends for handing them out instead of mailing them and it turns out that he thanked each one for the wrong gifts.
  • Executive Meddling: In-universe. Molly's publisher wants her to have the protagonist in her story to time-travel after orgasms, which Molly considered to be a bad idea. But she somehow manipulates her way to leave her novel as is.
  • Fan Disservice: "Vince Takes a Bath." You will never un-see anything that appeared on screen in this episode. Ever.
    Molly: (holding up the towel on Vince's lap while Mike walks in) Look at it! Look at it! LOOK AT IT!!!
    • "This Old Peggy." Mike, Carl and Samuel get an unwanted peep show from Mike's mom when Peggy forgetfully (the episode's issue at hand) walks into the living room naked as the three are repairing the house. There are no better descriptions other than "all white" & "PTSDD."
  • Flanderization: Molly became more brash, snarky, assertive and animated in the retool in the show's attempt to capitalize on Melissa McCarthy's skyrocketing movie career. This attempt would be undone in the final season.
  • Forced from Their Home: Happens to Carl in season three after he and his grandma have a rather intense fight over personal boundaries and such, causing her - after Carl goes to commiserate with Mike - to throw him out. When confronted on this, Nana explains that she believes she's been enabling some of Carl's more childish traits, and finally decides to let him go to live on his own. She says she makes sure he knows he can come back for visits and that she is not kicking him out of her life. This leaves a stunned and heartbroken Carl to find another place to live. Eventually, he winds up taking over Mike's old bachelor pad and takes in Samuel as a roommate.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Starting in Season 5, we get to learn more about Peggy's background and why she's so angry and bitter. She was abused and neglected as a child while her sister was spoiled. She ran away with a man who she thought was the love of her life but separated with him for reasons unknown and ended up marrying Mike's father, who abandoned her to live with a stripper and left her to raise Mike on her own.
    • A Christmas Episode reveals that, a year before being left with his grandmother, Carl spent Christmas at a homeless shelter. He was miserable and didn't expect to get any toys, only to receive a G.I. Joe action figure through the toy drive. It made him believe in the Christmas spirit and want to spread it around, which is why he enthusiastically volunteers for the police's toy drive every year.
  • Going Commando: In one episode Joyce is wearing a Little Black Dress to go out to dinner with an ex-boyfriend of hers. Vince says that he doesn't want her coming home with her panties in her purse. Joyce tells him not to be stupid, as she never wears panties with this dress.
    • Another episode, in which Carl convinces Mike that his choice of underwear might be impeding his attempts to get Molly pregnant, ends with Mike wearing nothing under his pants but a lot of talcum powder.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Mike and Carl work together and are practically inseparable off the clock at the start of the series. A plot-point in some early episodes is Carl being a bit irritated that Mike has a girlfriend to spend time with.
  • Hidden Depths: Most of the time, Victoria is just a goofy stoner, but in the episode "Victoria Can't Drive", she spouts out some very surprising insight about her views on the afterlife, and convinces Mike's mom to come to his wedding, not taking any credit for it.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: Mike buys a repugnant green sweater from his partner's cousin.
  • The Hypocrite: In season 6, a drunken Molly calls Victoria a screw-up, leading to Victoria calling her out on this with a "Reason You Suck" Speech. She rightly points out that while she may be a pot head, she has a steady job, no debt and has saved up enough money to put a down payment on a nice house, while Molly quit her teaching job on a whim and had a huge debt owed mostly to frivolous purchases and general lack of impulse control.
    • In one episode, Molly makes fun of Harry for still living with his mother, when she also still lives with her mother. Harry calls her out on this too.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Not completely consistent, but the large majority of episodes begin with a character's name, followed by an action relevant to the episode. (i.e. "Mike _____", "Carl's _____", etc.)
  • Intoxication Ensues: Mike eats gelato, not knowing that it was "specially" made by Victoria's pot dealer, and ends up wandering the streets, groaning and acting like Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Irony: Samuel spends "Support Your Local Samuel" needing more money to help his family back home. When all else fails, he ends up taking a deal to buy Abe's Hot Beef at a major discount in the hopes of turning it around, but the debt and dilapidated conditions make that quite a hill to climb.
    Samuel: Well, what can I say? Yesterday, I was asking for a raise. Today, I'm giving myself a pay cut.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: The last episode shows Carl and Victoria got back together. It's acknowledged that they actually hooked up a little bit earlier than this and were maintaining a Secret Relationship, though Molly knew and was a Secret Secret-Keeper.
  • Life Isn't Fair: Mike bemoans in "Pie Fight" that no matter how good he is with his diet, he's still perceived as a fat slob by onlookers and that he doesn't have the self-control to keep a single slip-up from leading to several extra pounds. Frustrated, he asks Molly when it will ever stop.
  • Loud Sleeper Gag: In "Mike Snores", Molly is unable to sleep due to Mike's loud CPAP machine, which is played for laughs.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Victoria is ... unlucky in love to say the least. Molly and Joyce had to physically stop her from going after her married boyfriend.
  • May–December Romance: Vince describes his first marriage as this. Upon meeting the woman, Mike and Carl are surprised to learn that Vince is the May. He insists the woman was very attractive for 60 when they first got together.
    Carl: She's not December; she's the following July.
  • Masturbation Means Sexual Frustration: The reason Molly's mother made so much banana bread three years after her husband died.
  • Most Writers Are Writers : The fourth and fifth seasons deal with Molly becoming a writer. In particular, she suffers from Writer's Block.
  • Motor Mouth: Carl has a tendency to just drone on and on, much to the irritation of Mike and anyone else in the room.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mike's mom Peggy, who fakes a heart attack as soon as she finds out Mike is on a date with Molly.
    • Another episode has Mike getting very sick and being taken care of Molly at his place. Peggy shows up and steals him back to her place and them stealing him back & forth. Eventually, she gets him last and alludes to possibly hiding him in his uncle's ice cabin to keep her away.
  • My Greatest Failure: "McMillan and Mom" reveals that Carl's grandmother disowned her daughter for abandoning Carl, even lying about the woman being dead just so Carl would never have to deal with the drama. After the truth comes out, she prays on the matter and has a breakdown, She admits she realized that she herself is the one that needs to seek forgiveness, due to having been a lousy mother that focused on carousing rather than setting a good example for her child. When told she did a good job raising Carl, all she can do is wonder if things would've been better for all concerned had she been a good mother the first time around.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Carl's grandmother admits that, as angry as she was at her daughter for abandoning Carl, she also saw it as this. She admits to having been a lousy mother herself, so she saw raising Carl as a chance for a do-over.
  • No Sympathy: Samuel often has this attitude towards other characters' problems. He justifies it by talking about the much more severe problems and hardships that his loved ones often face back in Senegal.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • Between her general crankiness and smothering of Mike, Peggy has little patience for Molly throughout the series. Molly is often just as frustrated with their interactions. Them being civil to each other is considered quite an accomplishment.
    • On the other hand, Joyce and Victoria tend to avert this and get along very well with Mike, even giving him relationship advice.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After Mike's mom dumps the police chief, he gets even with Mike by assigning him and Carl to guard the port-a-potties at a Renaissance fair.
  • Recovered Addict: Mike and Molly met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, and are often seen attending such meetings in the early seasons. After getting married in the second season finale, that angle was gradually phased out to concentrate on their domestic lives.
  • St. Patrick's Day Episode: In the appropriately-named "St. Patrick's Day," Mike & Molly continue pregnancy attempts and almost miss Carl and Samuel's St Patrick's Day party. Also, Victoria kisses Harry after he helps her with a college assignment, but the kiss prompts a major reveal from Harry.
  • Straw Loser: No matter what kind of trouble Mike is having in his life, it's loads better compared to Carl's life. Carl's own grandmother has pointed out that Mike still has a steady girlfriend (and eventually a wife), whereas Carl is a player wannabe living with an old lady.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Carl in the last two episodes of season five. His immaturity, which is his Fatal Flaw pointed out several times in previous episodes in the series, ultimately costed him his relationship with Victoria (due to flip-flopping over proposing to her). Understandably, her family didn't want him to be at Mike and Molly's anniversary cruise so soon after what happened. Even though it visibly pained Mike to ask it of him, Carl didn't listen and instead showed up at the cruise anyway with a woman he met on Craigslist, to get back at Victoria. It ended with him (accidentally) knocking Molly's present to Mike overboard, and Mike finally getting fed up enough with him to denounce him as someone he doesn't seem to know anymore. And after all that, instead of even thinking about apologizing, Carl requested a transfer away from being Mike's partner and the season ended with Mike completely stunned.
  • Two Decades Behind: Occaisional references to Mike carrying a service revolver. Almost all North American police departments switched over to semi-automatic pistols in the early '90s. Chicago Police Department does permit senior officers to elect to carry a revolver, however, Mike is shown using a Glock 17.
  • The Unfair Sex: A recurring issue in the show is that Molly tends to be irresponsible and selfish; but when Mike calls her out on it, he's made to look like the bad guy or - at best - they both apologize even when Mike wasn't wrong.
    • Starting in season 4, Molly goes off the rails, quitting her job on a whim - despite having huge debt (all of which was incurred by her), drinking frequently with Joyce and Victoria, and still continues to make extravagant purchases when she has no income. When Mike calls her out on wasting "his money", that's all that's discussed afterwards - even though he immediately said he misspoke. No one bothered to mention that Mike was right that she shouldn't be blowing hundreds of dollars on frivolous purchases.
    • When Molly gets an advance on a book, she immediately spends it all on a fancy new car she thinks Mike will enjoy. But when he points out that they should return the car - since they have more important things to use the money for (like the $80,000 debt she racked up before they were married), Molly basically calls him ungrateful. Mike does admit that part of what bothered him was that he felt he should be the one buying things for her - not the other way around, but the issue of her being irresponsible is dropped right after he mentioned it. What's even worse is that the money was an advance on a book she hadn't yet written, so if she didn't meet the publishers deadline, she'd have to return the money, which would plunge them FURTHER in debt since the money was spent.
    • The best example would be the season 6 episode "The Good Wife", where Mike rightly called her out on the fact that she had been regularly leaving the cooking and cleaning to him - despite the fact that while he was working full time, she instead spent the day drinking and shopping with her mom and sister (making the excuse that she can't write a new book until "her batteries recharge"). After Mike calls her out in this, she accuses him of being a chauvinist that expects her to be an obedient housewife and the next day makes a big show of it acting like a stepford wife to make him feel guilty, as well as mocking him and freezing him out. In the end, they both apologize and agree to share the household chores, which all seems good until you remember that Mike wasn't wrong; it's perfectly reasonable for the spouse who has the entire day free to cook and clean, especially when the other spouse works all day. Had the situation been reversed and Mike was the one home all day and he didn't cook and clean because he was too busy having fun, he likely wouldn't have been viewed as sympathetically as Molly was.
  • Vocal Evolution: Molly's voice gets slightly more throaty and deeper in pitch between seasons two and three, and slightly more whiny and exaggerated after the season four retool.
  • Wham Episode: McMillan and Mom. Carl finds out his mother is still alive and that his grandmother lied to him his whole life about it, and sets off on a road trip with Mike and Samuel in tow. Unfortunately, she dies before he gets to see her. The episode ends with Carl and his grandmother singing at a piano and comforting each other. For a (mostly) lighthearted comedy series as this, the entire episode was a massive punch to the gut.
    • "Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy". Molly uses Peggy as inspiration for a new book, but it doesn't go as well as she thought it would. She goes into the attic to look around and finds a hope chest that Peggy forbids her to open. Peggy reluctantly shows her that it's filled items from her childhood that her father sent her after her mother died. Eventually she tells Molly of how hard life was on the farm, and that her father would get drunk and hit her mother. She left at fourteen to get away from him but has always felt guilty about leaving her mother behind with no one to protect her. Mike puts it best at the end: "I'm gonna go hug my mom."
  • Wham Line:
    Victoria: Harry? What are you doing down there?
    Harry: I'm sorry that I ran out on you the way I did.
    I just panicked.
    Victoria: No, I'm sorry.
    I shouldn't have kissed you.
    I was just so excited about my grade and you have been so lovely to me.
    Harry: Don't apologize.
    That kiss changed my life.
    Victoria: Oh, Harry.
    Harry: Don't speak hear me out.
    I've been mustering the courage to say this, and if I don't do it now, I never will.
    Victoria: I'm listening.
    I'm sure whatever you're feeling, I'm feeling the same.
    Harry: I'm gay.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: In "Fish for Breakfast", Carl's latest girlfriend (who thought she was going to a party) calls Mike and Vince (Mike's mother-in-law's fiance) as "two gay guys eating a banana split". Mike protests that he hasn't had a bite of the banana split.
  • You Are Fat: Many jokes throughout the series have been made at Mike's expense about his weight. Sometimes he returns a Death Glare, while othertimes he takes it in stride. Everyone gets a dig in, but the biggest offenders are Carl, Vince and his boss Captain Patrick Murphy.