'Mike & Molly' exclusive: Billy Gardell teases special Thanksgiving episode! (Hint: Think last month's Internet debate)
Image Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBSCBS’ hit comedy Mike & Molly will have the last word on the Marie Claire blog post “Should ‘Fatties’ Get a Room? (Even on TV?). Star Billy Gardell (Mike) told EW exclusively that he’ll make a “tiny nod” to last month’s Internet debate at the end of the Thanksgiving episode planned for Nov. 22.
“It’s a very eloquently put thing that I get to say at the Thanksgiving speech that kind of says everything we feel,” said Gardell, who begrudgingly admits that the post generated a lot of awareness for the Monday night comedy. “It did give it a lot of attention, but I rather attention be got by the good work we’re doing. Overwhelmingly, people from the Internet came to our side. And not just to our side but to the side of overweight people, which was nice.
“[Creators] Mark Roberts and Chuck Lorre say there is a certain amount of levity that comes with any kind of flaw you have, whether it’s being overweight or drinking too much or gambling,” Gardell added. “Comedy is comedy but when you say you hate someone for how they look, then that changes the atmosphere.”
As for the Thanksgiving episode, Gardell said the show’s entire ensemble — including Cleo King (grandma) and Rhondi Reed (Peggy) — will gather for the holiday meal. “The whole cast of crazies will be at the Thanksgiving table, which is how a good working class Thanksgiving should be,” Gardell teases. “I get to light the grill. The turkey ends up having to be done on the grill, and I ruin that, too.”
Those kind of hilarious, hot-mess moments helped Mike & Molly become TV’s most-watched new sitcom, averaging 12.2 million. CBS gave the show that also stars Melissa McCarthy, Swoosie Kurtz, and Katy Mixon a full-season pickup. “The guys write the show so wonderfully,” said Gardell, who’s also set to headline his own comedy special titled “Half Time” for Comedy Central on Feb. 5. “Mark and Chuck both have said that if by episode six, we’re only relying on fat jokes, we won’t have much of a show. [Their weight] is completely secondary. It’s about those two trying to keep a relationship together, which is what everybody goes through. That’s the main focus of the show now.”
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