"2 Broke Girls" is one of two fall 2011 TV series spearheaded by lady-of-the-season Whitney Cummings. (The other, "Whitney," in which Cummings stars, is a hot mess, with one of the most obtrusive studio audience laugh tracks in recent memory.)
The plot is straightforward, if far-fetched: Former billionaire heiress Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs), newly bankrupt and homeless, takes a waitressing job at a Brooklyn greasy spoon to make ends meet. There the sheltered Paris Hilton clone is tutored in the ways of the world by sassy, buxom waitress Max Black (Kat Dennings). Class-disparity hilarity ensues, theoretically.
The buzz: "Whitney" airs on NBC, a network that has established a solid track record of quirky single camera comedies ("Parks & Recreation," "The Office," "30 Rock"), while "2 Broke Girls" seems right at home on CBS, a network that is among the last to remain faithful to the traditional, three camera, live studio audience sitcom format ("How I Met Your Mother," "Two and a Half Men," "The Big Bang Theory"). "2 Broke Girls" was a hot script during pilot season, generating plenty of early buzz for its raunchy humor and female perspective.
The verdict: Unfortunately, if the pilot is any indication, "2 Broke Girls" exists in a world where the spectrum of human personality runs between vapid and cloyingly sardonic. "2 Broke Girls" mixes post-ironic one-liners (she said "vagina"!) with prehistoric sitcom tropes, and what passes for "edgy" humor is in reality just window dressing on a very unremarkable window. Ultimately, neither "2 Broke Girls" nor "Whitney" prove worthy of their early buzz, though either might make a future transcontinental flight slightly more enjoyable as in-flight entertainment. Hey, perhaps the deafening sounds of the jet engine will help muffle the studio audience?
Did you know? Kat Dennings has a history with "2 Broke Girls" co-creator Michael Patrick King. When she was a young teen, Dennings played the memorable "Bar Mitzvah brat" in an episode of writer/exec-producer King's other series about single ladies who spend lots of time in restaurants, "Sex and the City."
"2 Broke Girls" premieres Monday, September 19, at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Regularly airs at 8:30 p.m. starting Monday, September 26.