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Catch up with 2 Broke Girls before the new season starts

The first season of '2 Broke Girls' is now available on DVD and Blu-ray before the new season starts. Will this comedy become a classic that stands the test of time, or an easily forgotten piece of fluff?

Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs

Okay, sue me. I am not afraid to admit that I love 2 Broke Girls. In fact, it’s the only sitcom on CBS that I watch. But there are many that have dismissed its crude humor and “offensively” stereotypical characters as patently unfunny and a waste of Kat Dennings’ talent (why does no one ever mention Beth Behrs when they say that?). So, yes, I will take a stand for 2 Broke Girls and hope that others will discover what could become a true comedy gem.

If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, Behrs plays Caroline Channing, the daughter of a not-so-vague Bernie Madoff-like father who finds herself broke and on the street after his financial scandal sends him to jail and puts all of her money and belongings in the hands of the system. Dennings plays Max Black, a sassy waitress at a Brooklyn diner who has nothing but a tiny apartment, a cheating ex-boyfriend, and a dream to become a famous baker of the world’s best cupcakes. Max and Caroline meet on the subway one day, and feeling sorry for her, Max takes Caroline in and gets her a job, her first, at the diner. Hilarity ensues, with the neat little hook that Caroline is driving Max to fulfill her dream by starting a cupcake fund for their business that tallies up at the end of each episode (or down if they have to use the money for something else). It’s a neat little hook that gets you invested in their journey.

The girls are like a modern Laverne & Shirley surrounded by a cast of wacky stereotypes including Han Lee (Matthew Moy), the Asian owner of the diner, Oleg (Jonathan Kite), the horny, eastern European cook, and Earl (Garrett Morris), the cashier at the diner with a quip for any situation. Coming in to the story midway through the season is Sophie Kachinsky (Jennifer Coolidge), a cleaning service owner who lives in the same building as Max and gives the girls some part-time employment to help them raise money for the business. Han, Oleg and Sophie all have some kind of TV-ethnic accent which has been the focus of much of the derision against the show, but they’re all actors who knew what they were stepping in to so if they don’t have a problem with it, then no one else should either.

I’ve gotten a kick out of the show over the past season, and I have to say that it’s been pretty consistently funny. The characters of Max and Caroline certainly are “types” but Dennings and Behrs have a natural chemistry together that makes the relationship, and the comedy, work. As is pointed out in the bonus “making of” feature on the video, everyone assumed the actresses knew each other long before they got this job because their friendship seemed so natural. That really comes out on the show. The writing is pretty sharp too, even if it does tend to go a little more to the sexual side at time — there are no innuendos here folks. This ain’t Three’s Company. And there are the occasional heart-tugging moments as well, particularly when Caroline had to take her horse to live out in the country (you just can’t keep a horse in a tiny yard in Brooklyn), and when Earl suffered a heart attack while fretting about his taxes. But even when a little drama creeps in, there are always some laughs to bring the mood back up. Overall, I really enjoyed the first season, and I’m looking forward to the second which will air Monday nights on CBS at 9:00 PM Eastern.

Warner Brothers has just released the complete first season on DVD (3 disks) and Blu-ray (2 disks). The 1080p Blu-ray image is sharp and clear with vibrant colors as would be expected from the high definition recordings. The DTS-HD Master Audio is presented in a 5.1 mix and everything is well balanced. Most of the audio is front and center with the surrounds used mostly for the musical bumpers before and after each commercial break. There are also subtitles in English, French and Spanish. Bonus materials are slim. The highlight is the “2 Girls Going 4 Broke” featurette with a behind the scenes look at how the show came together with input from creators Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) and Whitney Cummings (and this show is so much better than her own sitcom on NBC), as well as all of the regular cast members (and it’s odd to hear Moy and Kite speak in their normal voices). There is also a collection of unaired scenes from several season one episodes, but what I really wanted was a blooper reel. You’d think with a sitcom, there’d be a great blooper reel! I closely watch the actors during some of the funnier moments of the show, and I know I’ve seen both Kat and Beth trying hard not to crack. Maybe they’re just so good that there aren’t any bloopers. Other than that major shortcoming, I highly recommend the set for the fans of the show (and with your purchase, you also get access to the episodes via Ultraviolet, which allows you to stream your purchased content to a number of devices), and if you haven’t yet bothered to watch it because of the reviews, now’s your chance to give it a sample!

This review was based on a retail copy of the Blu-ray provided to CliqueClack by Warner Home Video.

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Photo Credit: CBS/Warner Brothers

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10 Responses to “Catch up with 2 Broke Girls before the new season starts”

September 5, 2012 at 10:25 AM

I have to agree that I like this show. I can tell it’s not super well written or anything, but the two leads are just so winning together.

September 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM

I think those that don’t like the show speak about the “waste of Kat Dennings’ talent” instead of her co-star because Dennings is a considerably more known commodity than Behrs going into the show.

She was the only reason I watched in the beginning, though it wasn’t enough to keep me around. I’m generally not a sitcom guy, and for me to watch it has to have some special hook. 2BG just didn’t have it for me.

Edit: And, FWIW, I don’t think the accent is the source of the accusations of racism … it’s fairly apparent to me that the characters were drawn from the most basest of stereotypes (At least with Mr. Han and Oleg … I can’t speak to JC’s character).

September 5, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Well, I don’t know about that, because without the accents they wouldn’t be as “ethnic” as they are … and in some of the “outraged” comments I’ve read about the characters, they do point out that both men speak perfectly good English. Without the accents Han wouldn’t really be “funny Asian guy” and Oleg wouldn’t be “funny Eastern European guy.” They’d just be, respectively, “hyper little diner owner” and “horny fry cook” with no ethnic stereotype attached. People wouldn’t have anything to be upset about then! :-)

September 5, 2012 at 12:50 PM

From an article at The Guardian:

E4’s latest aquisition, 2 Broke Girls, is the most problematic. Created by Sex and the City’s Michael Patrick King, it’s the story of two white waitresses (Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs) who work in a Brooklyn restaurant whose boss is Asian-American Han Lee ( Matthew Moy). Short, asexual and work-obsessed, Lee is ridiculed for his broken English and failing to “get” US culture. In one episode Dennings’ character says, after a run-in with Lee: “You can’t tell an Asian he made a mistake. He’ll go in back and throw himself on a sword.”

His English was one of five things :)

(I can’t believe the Right guy is arguing with the Left guy on political correctness :) )

September 5, 2012 at 1:31 PM

I’m not saying there aren’t other instances of racial stereotypes, but that was maybe one quip out of 22 episodes. His “broken English” is in every episode, so that would seem to be a bigger issue than a one-liner (and Glee faced similar criticism for the “Asian F” episode when Mike got an A- and it was the end of the world for his family). Perhaps hearing the accent over the course of a season has become natural to the viewers so it’s not as obvious a stereotype as the “all Asians are smart” one. Funny thing is, it seems that the “racial stereotypes” in these shows bother other people more than the ones being poked fun at, at least amongst the Asians that I know. I’d be curious to know what the actor thinks of all this.

It could be worse – they could have hired Jerry Lewis to do slanty eyes and wear buck teeth!

September 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The more Eps. of this show you watach, the more invested you become. The two leads are talented and likable and just like those two girls from Milwaukee could go a long way. Most folks don’t remember that “Seinfeld” didn’t hit it’s groove until it’s third season. Rave on Kat and Beth.

September 5, 2012 at 12:12 PM

You are so right. I almost gave up on Community after the first couple of episodes, but it grew into something pretty awesome. 2 Broke Girls isn’t on that same level of creativity, but I think Max & Caroline have the potential to develop into a good female buddy comedy team like Laverne & Shirley or Lucy & Ethel.

September 5, 2012 at 1:12 PM

. . . . .

Is this that show with the “twist” … ???

September 5, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I had a few episodes still on my DVR and watched a couple last week. I forgot how much I enjoy the show. I enjoy Max and Caroline.

I didn’t like the secondary characters at the beginning, but as the series went on they became tolerable and even funny at times.