2 BROKE GIRLS “Pilot” Season 1 Episode 1 – When you think of some of the best comedies on television, rarely do you tend to regard their pilot episodes as their finest moments (just think of Community, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Friends, Seinfeld etc). Shows like Arrested Development, shows which come right out of the gate in full hilarity with fully realized characters are truly anomalous: this is mainly because comedy lives or dies by the quality of the writing and the chemistry of the cast. Dramas are different, since by natures dramas are generally plot driven affairs: I maintain that the pilots of Alias (Sydney realizes SD6 isn’t all she thought it was cracked out to be), Friday Night Lights (the team lose their star player in a tragic accident) and Battlestar Galatica (every 33 minutes a Cylon force attacks the fleet of survivors, preventing sleep and inducing chaos) are among those shows’ best episodes ever.
2 Broke Girls is something rare in the comedy world. It’s a show with super smart writing that churns out several jokes a minute (and no, not all of them work but I found myself laughing out loud at a ton of the keen observations and pithy lines. This is a pretty rare occurrence since I am misery) but doesn’t sacrifice the characters’ emotions for the sake of a good punch line (as Chuck Lorre shows like The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men are prone to do, much to their detriment). Whitney Cummings, who is best known for her stand up routines, roasts on Comedy Central and as a recurring panellist on Chelsea Lately, co-wrote the script for the pilot with Michael Patrick King, noted for his writing and directing on Sex and the City and showrunner of this show, and it’s one of the best scripts for a comedy pilot in years, certainly the best one this year. It’s one thing to praise its topicality and cultural awareness, but as shows like Glee have proven, topicality means shit if the show isn’t funny/good. Luckily, this show is pretty damn good.
It helps that Cummings and King have such a fantastic cast. The pilot only provided a showcase for Kat Dennings’ Max (predictably, Dennings is as sexy, charming and snarky as ever, and her ability to throw away brilliant punch lines with unerring casualness and thus make them even better in their authenticity is just a natural talent) and Caroline, played by Beth Behrs who was unknown (to me at least), but as the episode shifted into its second act I found myself being completely won over by her affable perkiness, (and blunt observations) especially as Cummings and King has not made her into Spoiled Dipstick Blonde 999.0. She’s accustomed to one sort of lifestyle, but she’s not an oxygen thief like that incestuous inducing socialite from the Upper East Side Dennings’ character babysits for (who I also greatly appreciated).
So not only do the two main characters have backstories I want to learn more about and futures I’m actually emotionally invested in after only half an hour, but their workplace is kick ass. I love its shabbiness, its shady past of Russian mobsters and crack addicts. It’s not glamorous (their ketchup bottles are made out of glass!) but the little production values like the murder hole storage room makes the episode really pop.
The supporting characters, from Bryce Lee the manager to the black guy at the door to the skeevy Russian cook, not to mention the customers, offer up a fully realized and lived in world. So far they’ve not been given much except to offer themselves up to Max’s sharp tongue, but if the pilot, particularly it’s latter half, is anything to do by, I’m hopeful that these characters will be more fully fleshed out as the season goes on.
Needless to reiterate, I’m a fan so far. Sure, there were some flaws with the pilot but while I could nitpick and say “this line didn’t work” or “this moment could have been better” I would be literally nitpicking: my criticisms are that minute. Don’t get me wrong: this was not the pilot of Arrested Development, or a classic episode of television. It is however a really good pilot which promises so much potential in terms of growth and story and writing and character. The girls may be broke, but this show is full o’ riches.
What did you think of the pilot? Sound off in the comments below.
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