First comes love, then comes marriage… but there's a whole lot in between, as this second season of the sitcom Mike & Molly
(with 23 episodes on three discs) gets the two plus-size lovebirds at the altar only after they run a gauntlet of issues between themselves and especially their meddling families. Schoolteacher Molly Flynn (Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy) and Chicago cop Mike Biggs (standup comic Billy Gardell) became engaged at the end of the show's first season, and now they get down to the details, ranging from the liberated, educated Molly wondering if she should keep her own last name (the more traditional Mike isn't wild about that one) to finding a venue (Molly's frankness about her lack of religious beliefs means the local Catholic chapel is out), writing their vows, their bachelor and bachelorette parties, the wedding rehearsal, and, of course, the big event, which happens in the final episode. They have their disagreements, but these are two sweet, loving people who know how to work things out… which makes them the polar opposites of their families. Molly (and Mike, once they move into her family's home) must deal with her potty-mouthed mother (Swoosie Kurtz), Mom's Neanderthal fiancé (Louis Mustillo), and her goodhearted but startlingly dumb slut of a sister (Katy Mixon); Mike, meanwhile, continues to fight a mostly losing battle with his own mother (Rondi Reed), surely one of the most relentlessly poisonous characters ever portrayed on a screen of any size (asked if she'll sit next to her "slack-jawed bastard" of an ex-husband at the wedding, she replies, "Sure… when Jesus climbs down off his cross and does the Macarena").
These characters, along with Mike's partner Carl (Reno Wilson), and Samuel (Nyambi Nyambi), who works at the restaurant where they hang out, would be unbearable if the writing weren't so smart and funny. The one-liners lean toward the raunchy: gay jokes, penis and copulation jokes, fat jokes… lots of fat jokes. But many of them are out-and-out hilarious, and while the practice of including a real message amidst all the gags (accept yourself and appreciate one another's differences, stay honest even when it's uncomfortable, and so on) is sitcom formulaic, it works. --Sam Graham