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Fall TV: '2 Broke Girls' Pilot Review

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Sep 19, 2011 | 9:56pm EDT

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2 Broke Girls CBSWhile 2 Broke Girls may share Michael Patrick King with the beloved Sex and the City series, it does not share its ability to represent New York accurately. Then again, SATC took place in Manhattan, not the “dreaded” land across the river: Brooklyn. Still, the new CBS sitcom takes up residence in two of Brooklyn’s hippest neighborhoods: Greenpoint and Williamsburg. It manages to skim a bit of the “hipster” culture from the areas and turn it into a cute, little sitcom that should be right at home in CBS’ Monday night line-up.

I actually enjoyed 2 Broke Girls, but naturally, it’s not perfect. First, it’s a slave to the easy, prescribed sitcom humor we see on every generic sitcom ever. But on the plus side, the series is pretty bold with innuendos and subtle sexual jokes that serve as the nicer, network TV (barely) version of Samantha Jones’ famous potty mouth on SATC.For the time slot though, these quips are pretty bold. These are the risks you can take when you’re a TV superpower like CBS.

On the downside, the depiction of the kitchy, cool Brooklyn neighborhood is more akin to a J.C. Penny ad than an American Apparel catalog at times, and a scene out of The Warriors at others. Trust me, the subway is not that disgusting and you can wear a leather jacket in Williamsburg without getting mugged – in fact, they’re practically required. But that’s something that will only bother picky New Yorkers like myself – not every show can be Bored to Death.

Most people will probably love the constant hipster smackdown Kat Dennings' Max delivers to the trustifarian (Google it) customers who flood into her diner domain from nearby Arcade Fire concerts – come on folks, everyone knows Foster the People is the new hipster band du jour. Of course, Max is a hypocrite because her own boyfriend is a bit of a hack typical of the overly-used hipster definition. Seriously, we need another word to describe these folks, stat. Somehow, despite Max’s prickly demeanor and hypocritical ways, Dennings delivers a likeable Brooklyn native. Let’s just hope she keeps the knitcap/Coldplay references to a minimum.

Her new partner in crime, Beth Behrs’ Caroline, is the daughter of an ambiguously Bernie Madoff-esque tycoon who lost her trust fund when Daddy got caught. She’s forced into the job at Max’s diner, where she quickly finds she has no idea what she’s doing. Max’s demeanor clashes severely with Caroline’s cartoonish character, but what I like about this dynamic is that neither Max nor Caroline is more right – they’re just very different girls who’ve yet to understand each other. This relationship has promise as long as they give Caroline a little less Prada and a little more depth.

One thing the show gets right on are the strange dynamics of waitressing at a schlocky little diner; from the sweet old man Max flirts with, to the Russian cook she fields lewd comments from, to the owner who’ll do anything to bring in more customers, to the customers’ attitudes, the show hits the mark on the downside of waiting tables for a living. Though, I will note that no one in their right mind would wear knee-high leather boots with a heel to wait tables unless they never wanted to use their feet again. Take note, Miss Dennings.

Even with the easy jokes, the obnoxiously unbearable Upper East Side woman Max babysits for, and the gross incongruencies between real Brooklyn and this stereotypical, sterile depiction, the series is cute, easygoing and chuckle-inducing. In my book, 2 Broke Girls fits right in among the Monday night comedies and I see it sticking around for a while.

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