US TV comedy reviews - 2 Broke Girls and Suburgatory
- Brian Donaldson
- 18 April 2012
Two sitcoms let down by overt product placement
There could be a theme developing here. In the pilot episode for New Girl, scatty teacher Zooey Deschanel discovered her live-in man was cheating on her and left to wind up rooming with three guys. In the opening episode of 2 Broke Girls (E4, Thu, 9pm ●●), brassy Brooklynite waitress Max (Kat Dennings) discovered her live-in man was cheating on her and kicked him out, inviting new workmate Caroline (Beth Behrs) to move in. But Caroline is no ordinary employee, she just so happens to be the now-penniless socialite daughter of a disgraced former billionaire. Obviously, the pair don’t get on, then do get on, then don’t get on again and so forth for 142 ratings-winning episodes.
2 Broke Girls differs from New Girl by replacing kooky with filthy. Even before the theme tune on the opening 21-minute escapade kicked in, we got lines about drying vaginas, large breasts and female orgasms while later on there was plenty room for jokes about subway-induced lesbianism, a rape taser and an occasion when sexual harassment at work might be perfectly justified.
Dire as all that might sound, 2 Broke Girls could actually be even worse, with its tired fish-out-of-water clichés, gratuitous product placement, throwaway lines which suggest that all Asians are the same (the Korean diner boss is referred to as Chinese one minute, Japanese the next) and comebacks/punchlines that you can predict entire scenes in advance.
Suburgatory (E4, Tue, 8.30pm ●●●) comes from the school of thinking that insists that a story can’t possibly be told unless it’s being relayed through the medium of voiceover. In this instance, it’s not by a desperate housewife or someone whose name is Earl, but Tessa, the teenage daughter of a single-dad architect who has shunted his girl out of scary old Manhattan to the Stepford Wives-like sticks. Happily, the only link with 2 Broke Girls is a shameful, repeated bit of product placement while it’s unclear yet whether the Asian-mocking here is affectionate or crude.
Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under’s Billy Chenowith) shows a neat comedic touch as dad George while Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl David) is super-scary as the protective mom of Tessa’s horrible ‘buddy’, Dalia. And if you aren’t parched for a particular sugary energy drink by the time these 21 minutes are back, then someone hasn’t done their job properly.