What I’m Watching: Two Broke Girls
The leaves are dropping and getting crunchy. I’ve donned my first pair of patterned tights for the season. Fall is officially here and with it a brand new TV schedule. Why Thanksgiving is not aligned with premiere week, I will never know — I could definitely use some pie to accompany this couch potato.
Since I watch all the television so you don’t have to, here are my thoughts on what I’ll be watching, skipping and giving a chance on the tube.
Installment, The First: Two Broke Girls (CBS, Mondays)
Kat Dennings (Thor, Charlie Bartlett, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist) is a hip, hottie intellectual who tends to possess the perfect amount of sass in her filmic character portrayals. Her tweets on the Twitter-box are strange, deadpan, hilarious. She’s the kind of gal I’d like to hang out with if I ever felt like leaving grad school to befriend the up-and-comers of young Hollywood. So, seeing that my fair Kat-lady stars as one of the broke gals, I knew I’d be flipping on the first episode. On top of this, Whitney Cummings, a pretty solid and edgily crass comedian is one of the show’s creators. What could go wrong?
Well, a lot. The writers try to capture all that is urban and gritty in NYC by following the lives of the title “broke girls” in their struggle as waitresses. Max, the street-smart already poor girl (played by Dennings) reluctantly befriends and be-roommates the once conspicuously wealthy Caroline (Beth Behrs) and of course kooky adventures will ensue. The dialogue, peppered with references to Arcade Fire shows, hipster trends, feminist politics, and sexual appreciation, all says, “yes, we are the television women of 2011!” However, said modern talk is weirdly hampered by the old school construction of the situation comedy and its clunky trappings.
With laugh track in tow, the program becomes warily self conscious of its humor and we all know it’s a little strange to not laugh while the episode celebrates every punchline. In one subway scene, our richie rich uptown girl nearly attacks Max with pepper spray. Caroline quickly apologizes for her extreme response with the explanation that she thought she was being raped. Max waits a beat and then points out, “that’s not what rape feels like!” hahahahaha!
Wait, slow down, canned laughter. That’s not very funny. I felt kind of icky about it actually.
In my book, you need to have some serious comedy chops to make a rape joke work — and this one is being thrown about pretty emptily and with little to no payoff.
Still, I’m a big believer that a show can’t be judged by its pilot, or even its first season sometimes. Programs need time to get grounded, find their voice, develop their favorite quirks and it’s rare that a show immediately hits the ground running. So, even with the rape jokes, the awkward racial/ethnic fringe characters that dress the setting — seedy poor New York, remember? — I thought, well, this is just the first episode.
And then they added a horse.
Like, the rich girl brought her fancy horse to live just outside their tiny apartment. In Brooklyn.
I’m going to continue watching, but Two Broke Girls has fallen down on my list of must-sees and on to the DVR for lazy Saturdays list. I’ll keep you posted, friends.
Ana Holguin writes PopHeart for The Idler.