2 BROKE GIRLS has a whole lot of problems: it isn’t very funny, it appears to think that Brooklyn is Times Square in the 1970’s, it thinks that if you say hipster enough they will like you, it is more than a little racist — the list goes on. It packages stale one-liners into a stale three-camera structure (with a laugh track, THE HORROR) and the results are predictably boring and awful. Still, I tune in every week waiting for it to get better because I know there is a pretty amazing comedy buried deep under the canned lines — a comedy that is based on the sweet and believable relationship between two women.
Created by Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings, 2 BROKE GIRLS sets up a pretty classic “Odd Couple” style relationship between poor waitress Max (Kat Dennings) and disgraced heiress Caroline (Beth Behrs). King is no stranger to female relationships on TV having been the executive producer of one SEX AND THE CITY. Now, no matter what you think about the four fabulous friends living large in a (fantasy) NYC, the relationships between them became a major part of pop culture in the last decade. Iconic relationships King can do — and with a certain degree of realism and care. Max and Caroline have the makings of an iconic relationship where the rest of the show seems content to be lazy their blooming friendship is kinetic and while it sometimes rests on lame plot points, it is always at least a little fun to watch. Most of the credit for Max and Caroline should be given to the spectacular comedic actresses that play the roles, they infuse life into something that would otherwise feel as ancient and out of the loop as the shows view of Brooklyn. Dennings and Behrs make the characters realistic, they make them seem like broke girls in Williamsburg.
The show is never able to capitalize on the spectacular job their lead actresses are doing because when the material isn’t just flat bad, it’s mildly offensive or offensively boring. The tertiary characters include: the walking sexual harassment suit Oleg who one of these days will shout out, “In Soviet Russia vagina masturbates YOU,” an owner who recalls the days when Mickey Rooney had the best Asian impression in the world and a African American cashier whose jive talking stereotype fell out of favor sometime after Ralph Ellison wrote “The Invisible Man.” When these characters aren’t interrupting the girls to do literally nothing, the two friends are being blasé about their sex lives for no other reason than to be blasé about their sex lives.
I love sexual liberation as much as the next oversexed twenty something, but there is a line between being open about sexual appetites and experiences and saying vagina a lot — one can be funny and even a little satirical of a repressed society, the other makes it seem like you aren’t a very good joke writer (Whitney, I’m looking straight at you). Hearing the words “vagina, masturbate, good nine inches” come out of a pretty girls mouth might make the 15 year old boy set go crazy — but this is network TV, not health class. If the nonchalant attitude towards sex was done with care and craftsmanship, it could be a great element of the show. Instead it, like most everything else in 2 BROKE GIRLS, is lazy and unfunny.
A good, hilarious woman can be a gold mine in comedy — plenty of recent television shows have taught us that. 2 BROKE GIRLS has two hugely talented actresses that are absolutely ready to become the next great comedy super-stars and a core relationship that is ready to be cemented among the best friendships of the medium. Too bad the writers are too preoccupied with these women’s vaginas to care about the women themselves.
From Reel Vixen, 11/2/2011: http://reelvixen.com/?p=1364