Tonight, CBS tries once again to find a hit comedy to fill one of the slots on the network’s Monday night schedule. Last season, Mike & Molly survived while Mad Love was cancelled. If the early reviews are any indication, it looks like 2 Broke Girls could be a winner, though it’s not exactly ground-breaking fare.
On 2 Broke Girls, two unlikely friends work at a diner so that they can make enough money to start their own cupcake business. Streetwise Max (Kat Dennings) works two jobs to make ends meet. Caroline (Beth Behrs) is a trust fund baby who has some bad luck and must try her hand at waitressing. They work alongside a Russian cook named Oleg (Jonathan Kite), an elderly cashier named Eral (Garrett Morris), and the new owner of the diner, Han Lee (Matthew Moy).
Here’s a taste of what the critics are saying about the new CBS sitcom:
LA Times: “Despite a diversionary opening salvo of post-feminist raunch and unfortunate racial stereotyping, 2 Broke Girls is a solid, old-fashioned sitcom about two mismatched girls taking on the big city and makin’ their dreams come true.” …
“It certainly helps that one of them is played by Dennings, who has the deadpan but endearing comic delivery of a young Catherine Keener (whose daughter she played in The 40-Year-Old Virgin). Although no one should be asked to use ‘dry’ as a modifier for vagina on network television, Dennings does it with as much grace and humor as humanly possible.”
“Newcomer Behrs provides a strong foil; her Caroline may be Brazilian blowout blond and over-accessorized for any occasion, but she’s smart, resourceful and far less diva-like than the usual TV versions of her species. The role of rich white woman as comic pinata is filled by Brooke Lyons, who plays Upper East Side new mommy for whom Max baby-sits and is so moronic she has named her twins Brad and Angelina. (Memo to King and Cummings: ‘Really?’)”
USA Today: “Granted, Max and Caroline’s Odd Couple interaction is nothing you haven’t seen before. But thanks to the show’s two bright young stars, who deliver their shared dialogue with a nice, natural ease, their scenes together have enough charm and humor to make these struggling Girls look like winners.”
“Unfortunately, that charm tends to dissipate when the two of them are apart. The male supporting cast ranges from blank to terrible (unless, of course, you enjoy Morris’ halting delivery, which hasn’t altered over the decades), with the ethnic stereotypes flirting with offensive. And too many of the scenes Max shares with them boast the kind of overly obvious punch lines and pushed delivery that cause people who hate this kind of sitcom to hate them.”
Boston: “The actresses become so much more appealing once the show, from Michael Patrick King of Sex and the City and Whitney Cummings, softens up. Caroline is the daughter of a billionaire who got caught running a Ponzi scheme and lost his own and many others’ fortunes. She’s on her own for the first time, and Behr succeeds in making her sympathetic but never pitiful, even when she has to sleep in the subway.”
“But the pilot belongs to Dennings, who commands the screen from the get-go, even when the material is beneath her. She looks like Gwen Stefani, intimidating everyone she possibly can, but she’s got a heart worth winning over. In what will, I hope, be a regular subplot, Max has a second job nannying for a wealthy, helpless Manhattanite with twins. A diva out on the order of Rachel Zoe, with a touch of Karen from Will & Grace, the mother hates to touch her kids or change their diapers, noting, when Max shows up, ‘There’s a bridge and tunnel over by the babies that’s stressing me out.'”
NY Daily News: “Here’s an easy way to pick out the best new sitcoms on TV this fall: Look for the two with ‘Girl’ in the title. And 2 Broke Girls (Monday at 9:30, CBS) is one of them.”
“Like many sitcoms, 2 Broke Girls stretches a little to set up the premise, but once it gets there we’re sold, mainly because the two lead actresses are funny and endearing with great chemistry.”
A few scenes get excessive — the horse may not work — but Max and Caroline already fit nicely into the female buddy tradition that runs from Lucy and Ethel through Cagney and Lacey up to Rizzoli and Isles.”
SF Chronicle: “The supporting cast includes SNL veteran Garrett Morris as the diner’s cashier and Matthew Moy as the diner’s new owner, Han Lee, who decides to change his first name to Bryce to become more American. The one flaw in this show is Lee’s character: It skates far too close to the edge of offensive ethnic stereotyping.”
“Otherwise, Broke is rich with laughs, warmth and credibility. The performances by the two lead actresses are instantly winning, both individually and as they play off each other. The show’s got a bit of The Odd Couple going for it, and, as I’ve written previously, a bit of the old sitcom Alice as well, in which a similar dynamic was established between the title character, played by Linda Lavin, and Polly Holliday’s seen-it-all Flo.”
“Yes, the show is co-created by Cummings, the comedian who, among other things, used to appear on Chelsea Lately and who has her own eponymous sitcom premiering Thursday on NBC. That show has some merit and potential, but it doesn’t match the kind of perfect comic storm that swirls through 2 Broke Girls.”
What do you think? Will you be watching 2 Broke Girls? Does it deserve a slot on the schedule or should it be cancelled?
Image courtesy CBS.