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The Untold Truth Of Mike & Molly

"Mike & Molly" is an American television sitcom that premiered on CBS in 2010, and aired 127 episodes over the course of six seasons before it ended its broadcast run in 2016. The show centers on the story of Mike, a Chicago police officer played by Billy Gardell, and Molly (Melissa McCarthy), an elementary school teacher, who meet and fall and love while attending meetings for an Overeaters Anonymous group. The two face life together, supporting each other at every turn, in spite of the obstacles presented along the way.

Focusing on a demographic and focusing on a narrative not often represented onscreen, "Mike & Molly" is a big-hearted and groundbreaking show about real people facing real struggles. Many viewers at home have come to know and love the characters for their authenticity and relate to the vulnerable depiction of their experiences with friends, family, health, and life. However, there are certain things about the show that even the most up-to-date and dedicated fans might not know — so with that in mind, this is the untold truth of "Mike & Molly."

The set features several photos of the actual cast and crew

As any fan knows, at its heart, "Mike & Molly" is a show about family, and that sentiment carries through in almost every aspect of production. A large portion of the show takes place in Mike and Molly's house, which is of course decorated as any loving family home would be — with a myriad of framed family photos and homages to fond memories.

On a behind-the-scenes tour of the "Mike & Molly" set, however, Billy Gardell revealed something that even diehard fans might not know: Many of the photos seen in the background of Mike and Molly's house are not meaningless stock images or props created by set designers, but are actually real photos taken of the actual cast and crew from their personal lives. Gardell pointed out several such photos sprinkled amongst the props, including one of himself when he was about 14 or 15, one of a wedding, and one of someone's grandchild. As he put it, "Our set has pictures of everyone's family somewhere, so it feels like home."

A season finale was rescheduled at the last minute

The "Mike & Molly" Season 3 finale was originally set to air on May 20, 2013. Entitled "Windy City," the episode centers on a storyline wherein Chicago gets hit by a large tornado. However, in the real world on the same day the season finale was scheduled to air, severe weather triggered a devastating wave of tornadoes across Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, and Iowa, causing the deaths of two men as well as numerous counts of property damage.

Out of respect for the victims and so as not to appear insensitive to their suffering, CBS made a last-minute decision to pull "Windy City" from the night's schedule. Instead, the time slot was filled with a rerun and the episode was rescheduled, eventually airing ten days later on May 30. While fans of the show eagerly awaiting the anticipated finale had to wait a little longer to see how the season would resolve itself, it was the most courteous thing to do on the network's part.

Katy Mixon is nothing like her character on the show

Katy Mixon's "Mike & Molly" character, Victoria Flynn, is a not-so-bright party girl who frequently uses marijuana and has a dating life populated by an ever-revolving lineup of men. When asked if this character was based on any real-life person, Mixon told Vanity Fair that Victoria's various quirks came straight from her imagination.

Clearly, Mixon's imagination is very strong, as she seems to have avoided drawing on her own life experiences for these bits of her character's personality. She claims her real-life persona has very little in common with Victoria — for example, while she may do a little partying here and there, she's nowhere near the night owl that Victoria is, and she also claims she hasn't even tried weed. This incredibly funny, lovable character comes off as nothing but genuine, and many viewers might assume that's because Mixon is basically playing herself. Nothing could be further from the truth, though — and credit's due to Mixon's brilliant acting performance.

Billy Gardell led a prayer before every taping

Many fans of "Mike & Molly" have a deep, emotional tie to the show, and this rings true for the cast as well. In a behind-the-scenes tour with CBS, Swoosie Kurtz, who plays Victoria Flynn's mother Joyce, talked about her own personal connection to the show, and what makes it so special to her. She shared a particular fondness for a certain tradition started by Billy Gardell and shared by the cast, who stood in a circle and recited a short prayer before every taping.

She described the ritual as not being connected to any particular religious faith, but simply expressing gratitude for the opportunity to work on such an incredible show together. It's not about superstition or religion, it's simply appreciation. Just as "Mike & Molly" viewers felt lucky to have a show they could hold dear to their hearts, so too did the people behind the show feel lucky to have been able to be a part of the production.

Melissa McCarthy was the last star to be cast

Melissa McCarthy's beloved character, Molly Flynn, could be described as the beating heart of "Mike & Molly." While her role is one of the two most central on the show — her name appears alongside Mike's in the title, after all — McCarthy was actually the last of the main characters to join the cast.

Katy Mixon (who plays Victoria Flynn, Molly's sister) and Reno Wilson, who plays Carl McMillan, Mike's partner on the police force, were the first to be cast for the series back in February of 2010. Billy Gardell, who plays Officer Mike Biggs, the other central character of the show, joined later that month, followed by Swoozie Kurtz as Molly and Victoria's mother Joyce Flynn-Moranto, then Nyambi Nyambi as Samuel, the wisecracking waiter. McCarthy didn't join the cast until a full month after Mixton and Wilson, becoming the last to round out the main cast when she signed on in March to play Molly Flynn.

Billy Gardell and Reno Wilson are good friends in real life

The friendship between Mike Biggs and Carl McMillan is one of the many relationships on "Mike & Molly" that makes it the heartfelt show that it is, and fans will be pleased to hear that this friendship extends past the set — and even past the lifespan of the show itself. Well before Gardell and Wilson were ever cast in "Mike & Molly," they met years earlier when working on a show called "Heist," where they coincidentally also played police partners. During their time on set together, they became good friends, as reminisced in a nostalgic Facebook post by Wilson.

He notes that he was disappointed when "Heist" was canceled after only six episodes but was incredibly grateful to have gotten more time with Wilson on the 127 episodes of "Mike & Molly" they were able to film together. In fact, Wilson told Page Six that he was actually the one who got Gardell the role of Mike, recalling, "I called Billy and told him to get on it because this was 'our show.' I knew no one else could play Mike."

Reno Wilson and Cleo King are surprisingly close in age

Cleo King played the "Mike & Molly" character of Rosetta McMillan, the grandmother of Officer Carl McMillan. Boastful, demanding respect, but always expressing care and devotion for her grandson, King brought the role brilliantly to life. Her portrayal is incredibly believable — it wouldn't be surprising if she reminded many viewers of their own grandparents during her time on the show.

King's work in the role is much more impressive when you understand that although their characters on the show have several decades between them, she and her onscreen grandson really aren't that far apart in age. In fact, King and Reno Wilson, the actor who plays Carl, have only six years and change between them, making King nowhere near even old enough to even be Carl's mother, let alone his grandmother. When King wraps up in her fuzzy robe and dons her grey wig, however, it's easy to overlook any real-life inconsistencies.

The show attracted its fair share of controversy

The first bit of controversy surrounding "Mike & Molly" came about courtesy of a 2010 Marie Claire blog post entitled "Should 'Fatties' Get a Room?" which referred to the show's actors as "downright obese," among other things. The article included a number of insensitive and problematic statements directed toward people the writer regarded as overweight. "Mike & Molly" creator Mark Roberts responded to the article, stating, "This wasn't about the show, this wasn't about the writing, this wasn't about the acting. This was about someone's hateful response to how these two human beings look." The writer did eventually apologize, saying she never meant for anyone to feel bullied or ashamed by her statements, and claiming the post was an extreme reaction to her own personal battle with anorexia.

Another bit of controversy that surrounded "Mike & Molly," this aimed directly at the show itself, involved a Season 3 episode titled "Molly's New Shoes," which contains a scene in which a character uses a slur aimed at Native Americans. This was considered by many to be racially motivated and offensive, eventually prompting the Native American Journalists Association, among others, to demand an apology. Neither the showrunners nor the network responded.

Mike & Molly gave Melissa McCarthy her first Emmy

Today, Melissa McCarthy is a household name who's starred in several major film and TV productions. Although they haven't all been critical or commercial winners, she's also been the recipient of numerous awards, including multiple Emmys and Oscar nominations. Of course, she wasn't always the big name she is today — back when she started on "Mike & Molly," her trophy shelf wasn't as crowded as it is now. But on September 18, 2011, McCarthy was finally recognized for her brilliant work when she was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Molly Flynn on "Mike & Molly."

This wasn't only her first Emmy win — it was her first nomination too, which is likely why McCarthy accepted the award in an apparent state of utter disbelief. Looking back on the night she's even said she was worried she was going to fall over on stage from the shock of it all. The night also ended up revealing another of McCarthy's talents — it turns out she designed her own dress for the ceremony.

Mike & Molly's Roseanne connection

If you've ever watched an episode of "Mike & Molly" and got the feeling you'd seen their home before, you may very well have been right. As some viewers have pointed out, the set is recycled from "Roseanne," another popular American family sitcom that came decades earlier, airing from 1988 to 1997. The "Mike & Molly" set isn't completely identical to the original, as some doors and furnishings were changed and modernized to make it more period-appropriate, and the scenes appear to be shot from different angles than the ones typically used for "Roseanne."

However, despite these efforts to distance the two sets in appearance, it's clear that the bare bones are definitely the same. The Official Mike & Molly Twitter just about confirmed as much. However, you don't need network confirmation to make the connection, just look closely and see for yourself. Any keen-eyed fan of the two shows should easily be able to spot the similarities.

Mike & Molly and the Chicago Cubs

As diehard fans of the show will remember, and as depicted in the Season 1 episode titled "Opening Day" wherein Mike, Molly, and Carl attend a baseball game, the Chicago Cubs are the favorite team of many of the characters on "Mike & Molly." The Cubs are, or rather were, an infamously under-performing team. However, in 2016, they shed this unfortunate reputation when they won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, claiming the sport's championship title for the first time since 1908.

As it happens, 2016 was also when "Mike & Molly" was canceled and aired its last episode. If you're both a "Mike & Molly" and a Cubs fan, 2016 was definitely a bittersweet year. On the bright side, while longtime fans of the show were likely disappointed to say goodbye, at least they can imagine that their beloved characters experienced the joy of their favorite perennial underdogs finally winning the World Series.

No one really knows why the show was canceled

In 2016, news broke that the sixth season of "Mike & Molly" would be its last, an announcement met with surprise by many. As reported by Deadline, the show had received an early renewal in March, but failed to land a spot on the fall schedule for the third year in a row, and its 22-episode order was cut to only 13. Shortly after, producers told the cast and crew it was unlikely that the show would be picked up for a seventh season.

As alluded to in a Facebook post by actor Rondi Reed, the cancellation was definitely a network decision, but regarding the network's exact reasoning, many of the show's cast and crew have expressed confusion. Melissa McCarthy told ET that she "didn't know" why the show was ending, and Billy Gardell confirmed that the members of the cast were never provided any solid answers or given any closure from the network. "You know, man, the network decided that [was canceled]," he shrugged. "We might never really know why."

Following the announcement, there was a flood of articles speculating that the cancellation was prompted by Melissa McCarthy's weight loss, but these turned out to be fake news posts that were designed to sell a weight loss pill called Garcinia Complex. It seems that in this case, the search for answers has failed to turn up anything of substance, and the true reasoning behind the decision to cancel "Mike & Molly" will remain behind closed network doors.

The cast and crew were devastated by the cancellation

"Mike & Molly" is a show that meant a lot to a lot of people, including the ones who spent years of their life making it. Just after news of the cancellation broke, Melissa McCarthy took to Twitter to put out a heartfelt statement commenting on the cancellation. "I was shocked and heartbroken when @CBS canceled #MikeAndMolly," she wrote. "I would have shot this show for 50 more years. I'll miss my 2nd family." Victoria Flynn and Reno Wilson quickly retweeted this, echoing McCarthy's sentiments.

"Mike & Molly" executive producer Chuck Lorre also stated that he wasn't ready for the show to end, and Billy Gardell told the Herald-Tribune that everyone was incredibly saddened by the news, and that they were all crying during the final week of filming. He said the show's cast and crew are an incredibly tight-knit bunch who treated each other like family even when the cameras weren't rolling, attending each other's kids' birthdays and showing up to each other's film premieres and various projects to show their love and support, so saying goodbye to the show was particularly difficult. Still, all good things must come to an end, and fans can rest assured in the knowledge that "Mike & Molly" was nothing short of a good thing.