Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy Talks to Movieline About the Press and Hopes of a Brady Bunch Vacation Plot
Melissa McCarthy played the delightful Sookie on Gilmore Girls for seven seasons and Dena on the quaint Samantha Who? for two years. Now she's back as Mike & Molly's Molly Flynn, a fourth-grade teacher in Chicago who treats family, romance with Mike (Billy Gardell) and Overeaters Anonymous meetings with equal amounts sarcasm and sincerity. Just before last week's premiere, Movieline caught up with McCarthy about the show's buzz, how Mike & Molly recalls All in the Family, and future of her new character.
How's been the suspense waiting for the show to premiere? Nerve-wracking?
No! Maybe it should be, but I'm bizarrely calm about it. I don't know if that's completely not appropriate. I think I like it so much that I'm excited. It doesn't feel like nerves. I hope the kids are buying what I'm selling, but I think they will because I like it so much.
The press at the Television Critics Association panels seemed to treat Mike & Molly like an "issues" show -- like some VH1 docuseries about weight problems.
And it's so not! I was waiting for them to start whispering certain words! I'm not "on my way out" that I know of. But I think that's the show's hook, and I'd hate to say that. I don't think the creators or any of us [in the cast] think that's the hook, but people are kind of going to grab onto whatever they want. That's the thing, the show looks different, so my God, that's gotta be the hook. But I mean, people are treating it like we've resurrected dinosaurs or something. "We've never seen them roam!" It kind of makes me laugh.
Seems to me the show is a multicam comedy with some funny and sensitive moments. What do you think will surprise people about the show?
I think the most surprising thing and what I like the best is it's tonally different. It's much more All in the Family in its rhythm, which I love. It isn't the "snappy line, snappy line" rhythm -- which I also love. But sometimes TV has all become that, so it starts to sound like white noise, no actual conversations. I love that this for now is kind of revolutionary. They've slowed it down just enough to where someone says something crazy and you get to see the person respond to it, and then have a comment, instead of all this cutting. It's not such a tennis match, it's more real. It's more film-ic. I think it's funnier, and when something's kind of sweet or heartfelt, I think it really lands.
I associate you with Gilmore Girls and now this show. Gilmore Girls was a single-camera comedy back when that was a relatively unpopular idea, and now Mike & Molly is a multicam show in an era where that's not the norm. How do you feel being a part of shows that are "out of step," if you will?
You know, I think I kind of like it. I get bored. Once everything kind of seems the same, I don't like to think, "Well, there are six dog shows -- I'm going to do a dog show!" I kind of like to be out of sync. It's just more interesting. I feel like if everyone is doing it, don't you want to see something new? I mean, I go off of what my own preference is. I love when something is a bit off. And this one I feel is off, it's different and has a different style to it. I know if I was watching it, I'd be like, "What is this?" as opposed to thinking it's another snappy-snap, line-line-line thing.
Hawaii 5-0 comes on after you guys.
Yes. I'm pushing for a merge!
Ooh! I bet that will happen.
I want my first vacation to be in Hawaii. I want some kind of paddling adventure. I keep envisioning when the Bradys went to Hawaii.
Yeah, I'd like to see a tiki curse. And for Mike to go missing in a beautifully lit cave.
I want to drop popcorn and have that whole thing too. But yes, we're between Two and a Half Men and Hawaii 5-0.
What do you make of being put between those shows?
it's smart to me! Someone asked me if I was happy with the time slot, and I was like, "What are you, crazy?" Of course I am. It's all delightful. You'd have to be nuts not to want that slot.
You've namedropped The Brady Bunch and All in the Family, which leads me to believe you are a real TV lover. What are your other favorites?
For multicamera, I love also Cheers. If you tried to show someone Cheers now -- I mean, the pacing of it -- you don't have to show someone's head every time they're talking! I don't know when it came to be that no one in the world would know who was talking if you shot from the side or the back. I think people can keep up. I have enough faith in people. You don't always have to show them! I loved Cheers and All in the Family. I remember my grandparents watching it when I was a kid and I hated it, didn't get it at all. I thought, "He's mean." As an adult, watching it, I think, "Wow, you couldn't even do it now." It's so progressive and racy and nobody could do it now.
Would you call Mike & Molly a subversive show in any way?
Subversive in the sense that I think it's cool that Chuck [Lorre] and Mark [Roberts] are writing the show they want as opposed to what they think will work. I mean, we're not doing -- God help me -- an OA meeting where we're also vampires. Not that there's anything wrong with vampires. I mean, I love them. I just don't want to see "OAV." I don't need that in my life. They're writing the show they want, and everything is cyclical, but it's not like anything else. It's not anything crazy or too racy, but it's still breaking the norm of rhythm and who you get to see, visually. Everyone's usually so shiny and perfect on TV, and sometimes I love that. I find it campy and delightful. Then other times I kind of tune out.
Let's say the show makes it four or five seasons. Will the show's characters...
Will we become crazy?
Yes, and also: Where would you like to see Molly go on the show? Her most ideal arc -- if you can handle that awful word.
Well, not to sound like a cop-out, but she can go anywhere. It's not the one-trick pony of, like, "What will her weight do?!" I mean, will she and Billy get married? Will there be kids? Will she succeed for awhile? Will she fail? There are so many basic, common life things happening with her that they're going to focus on. I think when you're not on one topic and you're just getting to see a character's life and the complications that go with it, I think you can have a long way to go. I'm certainly rooting for her and Billy. I think that's the plan. I don't know what the path is, but the plan is, I think, that they make it. So I think that'd be fun to see. It won't be perfect in any way, but that's what will make it interesting.