One of two new comedies CBS officially ordered this week was “2 Broke Girls,” a workplace comedy with an edge and a diner twist. It’s a show I had all but written off as the latest from “Sex and the City” creator Michael Patrick King and shock comedienne Whitney Cummings (who has a show of her own on NBC now), until the sexy and sarcastic Kat Dennings came aboard and snapped my judgments in half.
It’s when I finally read the pilot script that I realized “2 Broke Girls” is the real deal. As one of the few comedy scripts that actually made me laugh out loud this season, this pilot had me at its almost immediate dismissal of two hipsters in wool hats who snap their fingers impatiently at their waitress.
Unfortunately for them, that server and ticking time bomb is Max Black (Dennings), a veteran food slinger at the dilapidated diner in a seedy part of Brooklyn. She’s “cool, street smart” and she sure as hell doesn’t take crap from a pair of rude douches dressed head to toe in Urban Outfitters attire. King and Cummings nail Dennings’ snarky, sassy voice and tough attitude perfectly, which extends to some edgy jokes about her co-worker’s backroom sexcapades, followed by a well-timed double entendre and a camel toe zinger. I think I’m in love.
My affection for Dennings means I’m partial to Max, but there’s a lot of heart and humor in Caroline (Beth Behrs), a “book smart” blonde whose wealthy father was recently caught in a Ponzi scheme on Wall Street. Plus their Korean manager “Bryce” Lee, an accented, overzealous type, is mined for some non-sequitur gags and racial quips, and Oleg, the obnoxious, sexually-harassing cook, could be funny.
The pilot moves quickly, rhythmically, from scene to scene, joke to joke, so its more about keeping up than settling in (see NBC’s comedy gem “Community”). To keep the series from being stale shots of a diner, Max holds down a second job as a babysitter for Peach Landis, a self-absorbed Manhattan socialite with her entitlement knob turned to eleven.
Thankfully the pilot doesn’t dip into anything too cutesy or gimmicky, a habit for CBS shows of late. Though Max is also a masterful cupcake maker and, with Caroline’s background in (shady) finance, the two pact to save for a joint enterprise to sell Max’s delicious goods. (Might I suggest the name “2 Girls 1 Cup-Cake?”) The timing unfortunately means Max’s brilliance with cupcakes comes soon after a similar subplot in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids, but that works to its favor since those who enjoyed Kristen Wiig’s sweet and hilarious movie would likely eat up another funny, female-driven treat, even if its a tad familiar.
Title cards keep a tally of their weekly earnings and the running total will drive the sitcom towards a future goal, but the laughs and interplay between the recurring diner characters is what should keep audiences returning and growing.