Tom Gliatto, Debra Lewis Boothman, and Charlotte Triggs
November 22, 2010 12:00 PM

Mike & Molly

CBS, Mondays, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT |


A Marie Claire blogger recently caused a ruckus when she registered her distaste at the thought of watching the overweight lovers of Mike & Molly. She asked, “Fat people making out on TV-are you cool with it?” As if a kiss between stars Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell somehow would rank with Janet Jackson‘s Super Bowl costume malfunction. Maybe Molly is easily misunderstood because it’s so modestly old-fashioned. It’s about the tentative but glowing new romance between what used to be called the little people-workaday teacher and cop-only here they’re, well, big. If they also happen to be more dignified and considerate than their relatives, the implication is their lives as outcasts have made them so. McCarthy, in particular, is superb: Her reactions register with light, sensitive swiftness. This has turned out to be fall’s best new sitcom.

Sarah Palin’s Alaska

TLC, Nov. 14, 9 p.m. ET |


A political ad dipped in a light reality batter and roasted on a campfire, Alaska follows the outdoorsy life of the state’s ex-governor and her family while consciously reinforcing her political myth. Out fishing for salmon in the wilderness, she witnesses a mama bear fending for her cubs and observes that the bear “is sayin’…’Nobody’s gonna mess with the future of this species.’ ” This is not something one casually concludes after seeing a dangerous mammal at close range. The most natural thing here is Palin’s effortless command of the camera. In that regard, the show is fascinating.

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