O.K., I’ll really date myself. Back in the day I watched “The Cisco Kid” on Saturday morning TV. Cisco and his buddy Pancho were like the Latin version of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. They inspired the band “War” to record their hit, “The Cisco Kid” years later. I think that song was what got me to first really consider how much The Cisco Kid must have meant for minority kids. Most probably hadn’t seen anybody with their skin tone in a positive way on TV since Ricky Ricardo.
In today’s movies and TV people of size are a lot like minority kids back then. Positively portrayed larger people are few and far between. This is why I find “Mike and Molly” so unique.
Mike and Molly debuted on CBS in September 2010 and it was recently renewed for the 2016 season. The main characters are Mike, a Chicago cop and Molly his grade-school-teacher-turned-writer wife. It has a supporting cast with enough foibles and eccentricities to keep things lively but what sets this show apart is Mike and Molly are both very large people.
In fairness, Mike and Molly is just a standard sit-com running between 18 and 22 minutes an episode before commercials. Its’ real value comes from dropping two people of size with ordinary lives into Middle America’s living room. Mike and Molly have needs, dreams, goals and challenges just like everybody else. They don’t live in some macabre, cliché filled, big person world. When America sees them go through life it forces the realization that almost everybody has to adjust in one way or another to get by.
When people of size are humanized and shown without stereotypes they become easier to tolerate, easier to accept and a whole lot harder to hate. That, I think will always be Mike and Molly’s real accomplishment.