May 8, 2012





With the spring decline of New Girl‘s ratings, 2 BROKE GIRLS became the only remaining breakout comedy hit of the 2011/12 broadcast season.  The truth is, it’s still not all that good.  Tonight’s season finale, written by co-creator/showrunner Michael Patrick King (the other co-creator, Whitney Cummings, famously had to drop down to Consultant in order to star in and write her own even worse self-titled show), had plenty of the off-color groaners that have come to typify the series.  


For example, when smart-mouthed heroine Max (Kat Dennings) was told by neighbor/occasional boss Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge) that Oleg, the horny cook in Max’s diner who’s Sophie’s (sort-of) ex-lover and serving as her driver, was waiting in the car because he didn’t deserve to come inside, Max retorted:  “From what I heard, he’s already come inside.”  This was followed up by Sophie referring to “Hugh Jackman–I like to call him Huge Jackman because I bet he has a huge penis.”  This isn’t the revealing explicitness of Girls, it’s just smuttiness for 12-year olds.

And yet 2 Broke Girls is watchable, and has become more so as the season has progressed.  Its main asset is still Dennings, who manages to bring charm and a sense of vulnerability even to the ba-dah-BOOM rhythms of the sitcom dialogue.  The show has also wisely cut down on the degree of Max’s hostility to the world, and turned her and former socialite/unlikely roommate Caroline (Beth Behrs) into a Laverne & Shirley-ish team who snipe at each other but are really inseparable.  Caroline has become far less of an aloof idiot than she was in the early episodes, and while the series will always go for easy laughs based on her ignorance of the real world, Behrs has toned down the hauteur part of her characterization.  The show uses Garrett Morris’ diner cashier Earl well, as a kindred spirit for Max, and as much as Jennifer Coolidge is the definition of “over-the-top” (with a Polish accent, yet!), on this show, her exuberance works.

The season finale, which ran a full hour (not one of those “special” hour finales that are just 2 separate back-to-back episodes), had the luxury of extra space and so felt less mechanically plotted than episodes often do.  The central situation was Max and Caroline getting into a benefit dinner that Martha Stewart (who appeared in an extended cameo) was going to attend, in order to have her taste one of the homemade cupcakes that they’re trying to turn into a business.  The complications were fairly amusing, and even the show’s most egregious character, diner owner Han (Matthew Moy), usually just the butt of Korean and height jokes, was allowed to make a heroic gesture.  Meanwhile, Max sought closure with ex-boyfriend Johnny (Nick Zano), now a successful artist.

2 Broke Girls doesn’t aspire to be anything more than an old-fashioned buddy sitcom (with all the up-to-date dirty jokes CBS will allow), and no one will mistake it for a cutting edge comedy–it’s so routine it makes How I Met Your Mother look like Community.  But the show has its charm, and has shown such strength in the ratings that it may be moved off Monday and used as an anchor on Thursdays, if CBS decides to expand its comedy presence on that night.  The girls may be broke, but no one associated with this series is going to be.




About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."