The Mike and Molly Controversy – My Thoughts

October 29, 2010

So… quite the controversy this week over a CNN article and subsequent Marie Claire article regarding the show ‘Mike and Molly’ and questions about promoting obesity on television, specifically intimacy between overweight people.  I have way too may thoughts about this that I need to address, so bear with me.

For those that are not aware – here’s a quick rundown… ‘Mike and Molly‘ is a show which centers around two obese people who meet and fall in love at an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting.  It is the #2 rated Monday night sitcom for CBS (Behind Two And A Half Men), and does spend a good portion of the show poking fun at the characters weight issues.  The characters do share intimate moments on camera, just like any dating couple on any show on television do from time to time.  The CNN article focuses on some people’s issues with a) promoting obesity on television, and b) people being uncomfortable watching overweight people be intimate.  In the subsequent article for Marie Claire, the writer gives a very strong personal opinion about the subject.  I know they are linked above for you to read them in their entirety but here’s a snippet:

“So anyway, yes, I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

Well… this is my blog, so it’s time for my opinion.  🙂

READ, THEN JUDGE – First things first, and I can’t make a more important point than this.  I would like EVERYONE to read each article… they’re not long at all.  Please make sure you read the Marie Claire author’s apology/ comments which she posted after the article was written as well.  Too many people form their own opinions on subjects that they either hear second- or third-hand or from opinionated items (like my blog for example) without ever reviewing the actual items themselves that may be causing the stir in the first place!  So, before you do anything else, read them.  Plus, it gets really old hearing people so passionate about topics they clearly know nothing about.

CONSIDER THE SOURCE – Maura Kelly isn’t me… she’s a writer.  I’m a fat guy trying to get better and share my journey with others.  She’s light years beyond me.  And she also battles anorexia.  This battle takes her article to an extremely personal level.   A level which, when originally written, was probably only known by few people – and now it’s a battle she has made public to her readers based on the uproar the article has stirred.  As someone who has made his battles with weight, therapy and depression public fodder in this blog, I commend Ms. Kelly for sharing this personal information.  However, she wrote an extremely personal article for a magazine that attempts to cater itself to women of all sizes so something like this, so personal and so opinion-based, takes on a life of its own since it’s not known as ‘Maura Kelly’s article’, it’s known as ‘the Marie Claire article’.  I equate the controversy surrounding this article to the recent events involving Juan Williams, NPR and FoxNews… Williams went on FoxNews, voiced an opinion about Muslims, and was subsequently let go as a Senior Journalist for NPR, basically because in his role at NPR he was not supposed to be opinionated, but impartial.  His comments affect his (and NPR’s) credibility in that capacity, so he’s no longer there.  He’s now at… wait for it… Fox News!  (I called this 30 seconds after I heard about his firing… it was a no-brainer they were hiring him).  It’s not exactly the same, but if you strip it down it’s pretty similar – minus the firing of course.

The opinion voiced in the article is a very strong opinion for sure but, in all actuality, it’s an opinion that she is certainly not alone in sharing.  As someone who is currently morbidly obese and working on that no longer being the case, I have thought these things about MYSELF for years.  ‘How embarrassing must it be for this beautiful woman to be holding my hand in public’… ‘Those kids are definitely laughing at me.’… ‘No chance I kiss her here… wouldn’t do that to her.’  And we’re not even getting into the things I would think behind closed doors – FORGET IT.  Sorry, but facts are facts.  Obesity affects 30% of America – and keep in mind that’s OBESE people… BMI over 30… not overweight people, just the obese people.  This is a real health concern in America, and one we really need to focus on, which brings me to…

TELEVISION MARKETING – Ahhh, where to go with this.  Well, there’s two sides.  One side is the ‘Smart Marketing’ side… we have an extremely popular show on television that many Americans can honestly relate to.  Whether that is good or bad is irrelevant to this point, the fact is so many Americans are overweight that this can really hit home with a VERY large audience (no pun intended), just like House of Payne and Meet The Browns are targeted to the African-American audience and are two of the most popular shows on television today.  (Note – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anything Tyler Perry puts his name on makes a gajillion dollars – and as soon as he calls me back I’m hopeful my blog will then be called ‘Tyler Perry Presents:  Blubber To Mudder – My Quest To Total Health’).  To that extent, this is a very smart show.  It’s ‘real life’.  It’s a part of society we need to accept.

Then there’s the ‘WTF!?!?!’ side.  Why in the hell are we promoting obesity on any level to a large audience, when it is such a health epidemic in this country.  We shouldn’t be encouraging it, and showing overweight people loving life, having fun, and making fun of themselves and their weight is not the right message to be sending.  It’s the same thing as smoking on TV – you rarely see it anymore because it’s not healthy and does not promote a healthy lifestyle… and, let’s be honest, when you do – you know as well as I do – it kinda throws you a little.  You definitely notice!

So… What kind of focus should we be putting on this?  Which side do I fall on?  I fall on the latter… and I always have, regardless of my current health initiative.  I don’t think we should be promoting unhealthy living of any kind – smoking, obesity, anorexia, drug/ alcohol addiction – on primetime national television unless it’s being used in a positive light (ie: ‘The Biggest Loser’).  There are definitely venues for all kinds of programming – cable, online, etc. – but to have it so front and center sends the wrong message not only for unhealthy living, but more importantly that joking about it is somehow acceptable.  Trust me, as someone who had to laugh along with everyone when I wore a red polo shirt and they called me ‘The Kool Aid Man’ and yelled ‘Ooooh Yeahhhh!’ on the microphone at a karaoke show… it ain’t funny.  It sucks.  And it upsets me just thinking about that night while I type this.

BBM/ BBW LOVIN’ – This to me is actually the simplest thing to explain and understand.  Whatever you think is disgusting – it’s disgusting.  If a lesbian writes an article about how nauseating it is for two hetero people to be making out on television then, in her eyes, it’s nauseating.  Same thing with any race, religion, social status, etc.  I bet if you search the internet hard enough you can find articles about how disgusting it is to see a white man and a white woman make out on TV… seriously, someone has a problem with it – I GUARANTEE IT.  The issue with this, in my opinion, is the venue in which this opinion was presented – a Marie Claire article.  For an article from them to form such a strong opinion (and a quite personal one at that) is where the real concern – and controversy – lies.

Now, do I like seeing morbidly obese people making out and heavy petting in public or on television?  Nope.  But, I also don’t like seeing skinny white people, athletic black people, etc. do it either.  I’m impartial – I don’t care who you are… I simply don’t like it.  Occasional kissing, holding hands, arms around each other… all of that’s OK.  Even the occasional late-night drunken accosting at the elevator is hot… but it’s all about the right place at the right time.  I’ve always felt that people that over-do PDA in public – no matter what they look like – simply do it because they are VERY insecure in their relationship and need to do this to try and prove to everyone that are in fact secure.  Same goes for people that over-do it on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.  Although I have been very insecure in my relationships due to my looks, I never was one of those – because the reasons I listed earlier about my embarrassment actually overshadowed my issues of insecurity.

As for overweight smooching being acceptable on TV… I go back to my point about there being a venue for everything.  It’s no different to me than anyone else doing the exact same thing.  Plus, people are tuning in… A LOT of people are tuning in… and just like with any show not aired after midnight on Cimemax, people aren’t tuning in just to see Mike and Molly kiss goodnight on the front porch.

WHY WE ARE UNCOMFORTABLE – In my opinion people are uncomfortable with things they are very unfamiliar with, or things that hit very close to home.  Have you ever noticed how defensive some people get when you tell them something about how they look or what they are wearing?  Even if you don’t say something entirely negative, but it’s just not positive enough for them, they get all kinds of catty and obnoxious about it?  I think they do this because they looked in the mirror before they left and had the same exact thoughts about it, but decided to go with it anyway.  It’s the same idea with addicts, people with depression, etc.  Everyone that sees some of them in something else that could be perceived as negative they will battle it out simply to defend themselves.

Same goes for overweight people.  Are overweight people happy about how they look?  In my opinion, no… I don’t think so.  I know many that accept it, some that embrace it, even some that support it… but the health issues they have just trying to get out of bed in the morning, trying to get into a booth at a restaurant, being asked to get off the plane due to their size – or not being able to ever fly at all for that matter?  Overweight people may be a lot of things, but ‘happy’ about being overweight certainly isn’t something I think anyone in my condition can say that they are.

I’d love to get your guys thoughts on this controversy… seriously, leave your comments and let’s chat about it a little.  If you like what I had to say, share it with others.  Remember – everyone is entitled to their opinion… let’s be open-minded about what everyone says!

Thanks for reading what may be considered the longest blog in the history of mankind… your support is awesome!


  1. Well I'm sorry to say I have to disagree with you on this one. NOT everyone who is "obese" is unhappy. As you know I am "obese" and am extremely happy and always have been. I have NO medical issues that stem from my being "obese". In my opinion big people feel so bad about themselves because society is so IGNORANT. Mocking "fat" people is a PREJUDICE that is accepted and frankly should not be. People all bleed the same color and all die the same way…so in the end society needs to be more accepting of EVERYONE not just who they feel is "normal". Noone should ever be made to feel bad about themselves for any reason..whether it be being gay,fat,black,hispanic,catholic,jewish or anything else they choose to be. In my opinion society needs to evolve a hell of alot more then they are now. Being open minded gets you alot further in life then being shallow and prejudice.

  2. I totally see where you're coming from, Donna. Not every obese person is unhappy, which is why I really wanted to make sure I made the distinction about my opinion being on overweight people not being happy about their weight, not overweight people being happy people period. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Hey Chris,I think your opinion is well written and shows empathy and understanding of both sides. You did this without name calling and judgement – your opinion was stated in a respectful way. I've known you for several years and in my eyes, you've simply been "Chris" who has a heart of gold and a terrific sense of humor. Perhaps I've learned more about you in this one blog than in the time I've known you. You took on a sensative topic which made me do a little soul searching. While I've never seen a full episode of Mike and Molly, what I've seen was enjoyable. I am not of the opinion that the show was "promoting" obesity but more of a reflection of our demographics as you so aptly stated. Our world is not made up of thin beautiful people but all types and perhaps Mike and Molly will promote something different – to accept that obese people can enjoy life, love and be loved. It doesn't mean they won't have struggles including those challenges that go hand in hand with obesity. I wish you much luck in your Blubber to Mudder quest! I know you'll have many people rooting for you – and your successes will give others hope!God Bless,Miss K

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