Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why I Can't Help But Like "2 Broke Girls"

It has a lot of problems - mostly some questionable, at best, racial stereotypes and some jokes about sexual harassment and rape that probably don't need to be made - but "2 Broke Girls" has a lot going for it, too.

I started watching the show for the sole reason that it stars Kat Dennings, who is funny and quirky. I loved seeing her get a sitcom, and I wanted things to go well for her.

But just liking an actor on a show is not enough for me to stick with it. I have a LOT of shows on my DVR, and if a show isn't worth watching, I don't have the time or DVR space to keep recording and watching it.

The show, if you haven't seen it, follows two young women in Brooklyn. One of them is Max (Dennings), who works in a diner and as a nanny in Tribeca to make ends meet. She's poor, sarcastic and streetwise. She meets Caroline (Beth Behrs), the formerly rich daughter of a man now in jail for a Ponzi scheme. The two decide to live together, work together and save money together to try to start a cupcake business.

One of my favorite things about "2 Broke Girls" is the fact that the show features two women who seem to genuinely like each other. So often on TV or in movies, women are only supposed to be "frenemies," but there is no bitchy competition between Max and Caroline. Like any roommates, they don't always get along and don't always see eye-to-eye on every issue, but they never really tear each other down. I mean, their jokes get kind of mean sometimes, but my jokes with my friends get pretty barbed, too - it doesn't mean that I really want them to fail. Their friendship is refreshing.

It's also refreshing that Max and Caroline don't always talk about boys and shoes. The show doesn't just pass the Bechdel test - it shatters it. Obviously, they do talk about boys sometimes, but then they move on to other things, like their budding business.

That's another tick in the plus column for "2 Broke Girls" - it features women working on running a business, and actually doing a pretty good job of it. It really makes Caroline into a more well-rounded character. It would have been extremely easy to make Caroline into a ditzy blond rich girl, but even though the writers mine some humor from Caroline's sheltered upbringing, she's also a smart businesswoman. After she gets over the fact that her trust fund isn't coming back anytime soon, she also starts to adapt very well to her new lifestyle. It's great that the "2 Broke Girls" writers resisted the urge to make Caroline a stupid rich girl who refuses to adjust to her situation. It would have killed the show anyway, because it wouldn't have been believable for Max to spend time with somebody that stupid.

And finally, "2 Broke Girls" is often pretty funny. Yes, some of the jokes fall flat, but a lot of them hit the mark, too. Sure, some of the humor is pretty crass - some of their favorite subjects are horse poop, genitals and sex - but I am pretty immature, so they make me laugh.

"2 Broke Girls" has a long way to go to become a classic sitcom, and it may just be another in a long line of sitcoms that only last a couple of seasons. But we can hope that "2 Broke Girls" is a step in the right direction toward having better female characters and relationships between female characters on TV.

And if it's not, at least I'm having fun watching it.

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