I’m not going to lie to you: I am not a regular viewer of Mike & Molly. I don’t really know why, I love Melissa McCarthy, but for some reason it didn’t fall on my radar in time and took off running before I knew what was happening. I do, however, watch an episode here and there whenever I stay with my parents, because they absolutely love it.
I felt very fortunate for this last night, because, as we were watching, things took a queer turn.
In the beginning of the episode, Molly is in the grocery store with her husband when she spots an author that she admires, J.C. Small (Susan Sarandon). Molly approaches her and tries to strike up a conversation while a sun-glasses donning J.C. loads up her cart with bottles of vodka.
J.C. brushes her off as a crazed fan asking for advice and tells her to “go home and write,” which Molly mistakes for profound advice. The next day, she sneaks onto Ms. Small’s porch with the intention of putting her manuscript on the stoop and disappearing, but she rattles some of the empty vodka bottles on the steps, causing J.C. to come out, thinking it’s the homeless guy who collects her bottles.
Molly eventually weasels her way inside and forces J.C. to read her story. At first the writer pretends she loves it, but can’t keep up the act for long when it still doesn’t get rid of Molly. Finally, she tells her that she hates it. In fact, she hates it so much, she says, “If I could gouge out my eyeballs and stuff them up my ass so I never had to read those words again, I would do so.”
J.C. tells Molly to dig deep to write a better story, so Molly goes home to prod her mother about her childhood, which is always dangerous. Don’t ask questions you’re not ready for the answers to. Eventually this leads to a Thanksgiving food fight, and Molly, unsure of where else to turn, heads back to J.C.’s house to tell her how the advice she took worked out.
J.C. has had some vodka and is in a mood, so she starts by playfully plucking food particles out of Molly’s hair. She continues her advances, and says they should take a bath together to clean her up. Molly starts to flounder, torn between not wanting to take a bath with someone who was not her husband and not wanting to offend her idol.
This (of course, since it’s Melissa McCarthy) results in some physical humor, complete with J.C. pouncing on Molly and rolling off her back, the song “Hungry Eyes” playing in the background the whole time.
J.C. says she knew why Molly had followed her home and showed up at her doorstep. She then says she’s going to go upstairs to get them some kimonos, but not before planting one on Molly. She likes to get that part out of the way.
Molly pauses for a moment and considers it. She takes a swig of vodka to see if it will steel her courage. Then she decides not even vodka can help her and she runs out of the house.
All in all, it was pretty funny, and hilariously performed by both Sarandon and McCarthy. While I was watching, part of me was on edge, as a writer and a lesbian, torn between giving Susan and Melissa the benefit of the doubt and having been burned so many times by sitcoms and their offensive humor. And while I don’t love it when lesbians are portrayed as predatory, this turned out to be a case of mixed signals and misread signs. Overall, I think this was more of a “don’t meet your idols” lesson than a “lesbian writers are mildly terrifying unhinged alcoholics” lesson. (I’m not terrifying at all, thank you very much.)
But I want to hear what you have to say about it. What did you think of Susan Sarandon’s guest spot on Mike & Molly? Do you think they mastered the art of the caricature; playing up stereotypes without being offensive? Do you not care how or why, you just want Susan Sarandon to kiss more ladies?