Enter "Two Broke Girls" which stars Kat Dennings (Max) as a foul-mouthed lower class waitress and Beth Behrs (Caroline) as a trust fund baby and MBA who's financial assets have been suddenly dissolved. The two work as waitresses at a diner and team up as roommates and business partners to jump start a cupcake business from no capital with Caroline as the brains and Max in the kitchen.
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The best one can say about the racial stereotypes is that their screen time has been reduced, but that's less worrisome than the pace of the humor. The show feels like a 2010's version of vaudeville. The entirety of the plot or any character development is secondary to the never-ending routine in which Caroline, the straight one, sets up a joke, and Max delivers a one-liner without any situational awareness over whether it's the time for a joke or not. This isn't just a comedy structured around the laugh track: It's a comedy that is flat-out addicted to the laugh track. Nothing is more important than preventing 30 seconds from going by without getting laughter which results in a fairly low hit-to-miss joke ratio and undermines any attempts at a larger truth underneath the jokes.
In spite of all this, I can't deny I frequently enjoy this show. Curiously enough, I find it's a combination of all three things (hate watching, guilty pleasure, and irony) that keeps me glued:
Hate Watching: In spite of the show's shallow style of joke telling, there's something resonant to the premise. The two protagonists have a relatable problem being out of money with Caroline and Max arriving at poverty from two different perspectives. Additionally, whereas past comedies about the lower class ("Roseanne", "All in the Family", "The Jeffersons") have come off as pretty depressing, this show has a pretty fun take on poverty with characters who don't feel . At the end of the day, I might even suggest the show is important.
Guilty Pleasure: The show qualifies as a guilty pleasure because there's something refreshing about watching an old-school sitcom with easily set-up jokes. It's a change of face and it's comfort food. It also helps that Kat Dennings and Beth Behr are great actresses and can transcend hacky material.
Ironic Watching: The show's bad elements are so outrageous and misguided that they're just fun to laugh at. Again, part of the key here is Dennings and Behr: They deliver the jokes with a sort of punctuated wink. There's a self-awareness (and quite often with Behr, a visible giggle) that they no how awful some of the humor is.
I'm currently writing about "2 Broke Girls" in a vacuum: I have no idea if others have felt about whether the show has improved over the past three seasons so it will be interesting to see where critics stand with the show in 2014. What do you think about the show?