Nothing Broken About 2 Broke Girls

Published on September 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

By CHRIS SURPRENANT
Arts Editor

PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 25, 2011

 I’ve been waiting for a new buddy-sitcom for a long time, and finally CBS has delivered. 2 Broke Girls, starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, is the story of, well, two broke girls. Dennings stars as Max, the tough, street-smart waitress of a greasy-spoon Brooklyn diner. Behrs stars as Caroline, a (used to be) wealthy socialite who hires others to clean greasy spoons. Caroline “discovers” Max’s talent for baking, and they decide that someday, they’ll open a bakery. Together, Dennings and Behrs make a great odd-couple.

 The pilot episode had a lot of information to dole out in a short 30 minutes. Dennings was able to smartly establish her character as a no-nonsense waitress, while Behrs perhaps had the tougher task of presenting her Paris Hilton-like character as inept, without evoking pity in the viewers. In one scene, Caroline ends up sleeping in the subway because none of her friends would take her in because she’s penniless. Normally, that’s really sad and would make any average human feel sorry for her. That is, you’ll feel sorry for her until she snaps into consciousness and stuns Max with her pink stun gun. Bye-bye sympathy, hello funny.

Dennings’ Max is very authentic. Her character is in complete contrast to Behrs’ shallow, clumsy Caroline. Max is down to earth, and connects with other people who treat her the same way. She is a hard worker, and has no patience for rudeness or stupidity. At one point, the diner is flooded with knit hat-wearing hipsters, two of which snap their fingers for attention. Max, having none of that, smartly replies, “I wear knit caps because it’s cold. You wear them because of Coldplay.” Snappy dialogue like that is definitely one of the show’s selling points.

Though the two stars play well off each other, the Broke Girls is not without a few minor flaws. The supporting cast is essentially made up of clichéd stereotypes. Though not bad enough to be labeled offensive, they are a bit worn. Particularly, the waitress who is replaced by Caroline was also a Russian hooker. Oleg, the short-order cook, is also Russian, and a piggish one at that. Earl, the cashier, is wise-cracking African American. The girls’ boss is an Asian-American named Han Lee, who has recently changed his name to Brice. Yup, Brice Lee. Though they are characters we’ve seen before, it doesn’t necessarily make them any less funny, but rather less memorable. Hopefully they’ll become a little more three-dimensional as the series unfolds.

Broke Girls has lots of material to draw from. There is a subplot that involves Max’s second job as a nanny to a rich, inadequate mother, who hasn’t the first clue about being a mother. The people that walk in off the street on a day to day basis allow for anything to happen. Caroline’s fading wealth is also ripe for comedy. Caroline’s pet horse currently resides in Max’s apartment. Animal humor is always a plus. 2 Broke Girls may seem familiar here and there, but there’s something unique about them. The characters of Max and Caroline could have easily been laughably bad, but the actresses who portray them give more heft and feeling. The humor, at times, is juvenile, but who doesn’t like a low-ball joke once in a while? Some plot lines are far-fetched (i.e. the pet horse), but that’s what makes TV fun. Ultimately, 2 Broke Girls succeeds in entertaining the masses because it puts its realistic characters in absurd, unrealistic situations. That’s a chance not many sitcoms are willing to take anymore. If you’re looking for a few servings of laughs, have a seat at the counter and watch 2 Broke Girls work.

 

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  • Joshua

    I agree that farfetched plot lines can be fun, but the entire show has to be a little more on the silly side for that kind of plot line to work. The one-liners on this show were woefully forced and the actresses looked bored and awkward. Top this off with juvenile lines that just didn’t land like “she’d be the last LES I’d BIAN” and you have a recipe for a show that will get cancelled before Thanksgiving Day.

  • d…..

    i totally disagree , this show definatley will not be cancelled anytime soon…
    is it more than adequate for a comedy?YES
    could it be a little more well written?YES
    but overall in the midst of all the new shows in todays time that suck!!!
    this show deserves so much more credit