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"Mike and Molly" Star on Obesity Criticisms

Actor and comedian Billy Gardell co-stars in the most successful new sitcom on TV, "Mike and Molly." The show tells the story of a police officer and teacher who find true love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

Gardell says the show experience has been amazing.

He remarked to "Early Show" co-anchor Eric Hill Monday that he "could have been on a reality show being shot out of a cannon. ... I would have gotten stuck!"

Hill noted, "Obviously, you were attracted to the script. It was a great offer. It's fun. But did you ever think you'd see this kind of success?"

Gardell said, "First of all, attracted to the script doesn't really describe it. Begging for the part is more the description!"

But Gardell said the show was more than just a paycheck.

He said, "To get involved with a show that Mark Roberts created -- this show that has a life of its own, it kind of -- it's funny, but he has touching moments. It has real moments. It has awkward moments. I think that's why people root for it. Chuck Lorre, the executive producer, and Jimmy Burrows, directed 'Friends' and 'Cheers.' I'm basically the weakest link."

Is the show ever in danger of just being about overweight people?

"No," Gardell said, "because they said right from the beginning, it was just about two people that didn't think they were going to fall in love. They get to fall in love. And if you can't root for that, you're kind of dead inside.

"But the beautiful thing about our cast is, you know, we're not Ross and Rachel. Things don't work out for us. We're not perfect. And I think people are, they haven't been on TV since 'Roseanne.' ... People go, 'I know these people."'

But Hill pointed out there has been some negative reaction to the show. In late October in Marie Claire magazine, a writer said she was disgusted by the show, because she said it promoted obesity.

How did Gardell respond to the author?

"I sent her some chocolates," Gardell said. "No, I'm teasing!"

He continued, "Hey, look, you know, you can't please everybody. And I'm a stand-up comic. I know that. It doesn't matter how funny you are and how well you do, there's two people (who are) going to walk out of there hating you. It's human nature. It is what it is. That woman's issues are hers. That's fine. We have 13 million people two weeks ago that are tuning in and I'm going to concentrate on that."

For more with "Mike and Molly star" Billy Gardell -- including what team he's rooting for to win the Super Bowl and why he'll always change his own light bulbs, click on the full "Early Show" interview below.

"Mike and Molly" airs Monday nights on CBS at 9:30, 8:30 Central.