2 Broke Girls (CBS): Why Money Matters [PaleyFest 2013]

PaleyFest 2013 is winding down, but isn’t going out quietly. Show creator Michael Patrick King joined cast members Kat Denning, Beth Behrs, Garrett Morris, Jennifer Coolidge, and Jonathan Kite to talk about their off-color comedy, 2 Broke Girls. Two down-trodden waitresses struggle to make ends meet. It’s a story that many people can relate to, which may explain the show’s rising popularity.

The cast shared their worst “normal” jobs. Not every job can be as glamorous as acting. Dennings was fortunate enough to transition from child actor to a successful career in film and television. But, not every job can be a spot on a hit HBO show. A search of YouTube may just turn up a lengthy commercial about kids who wet the bed, starring a girl who looks uncannily like Denning.

Like many people, Behrs began working in the food service industry as a cocktail waitress. Everything was going fine until she was told she’d have to wear short-shorts as part of her uniform. With the spunk you’d expect to see from Caroline Channing, Behrs quit in protest.

It would have been a fascinating hour with just 76-year old Morris discussing his former jobs. He recounted that back in the 1940s one of his first jobs was as a chicken plucker. He also worked at the World’s Fair.

Coolidge described that she worked in a maternity store and posed as a pregnant woman to catch shoplifters. And if you believe that, there’s a Nigerian prince who is waiting for you to respond to his email.

Money matters. King explained that money is an important aspect of the show. The writers like to raise the girls’ bank accounts and smash them. The loss of the cupcake business this year was critical, because they wanted the girls to suffer a big fall. This turn of events gives the Max the Fatalist the opportunity to help the rich girl stand back up. Going forward, the girls are going to take a lot of punches, but will also have some victories.

The most embarrassing lines they’ve had to deliver. For Behrs, “It’d be nice to have his wad in my mouth for a change.” Denning’s worst was equally cringe-worthy, “Make a pastrami so big and thick, you can’t get your mouth around it.” The best by far, though, belonged to Coolidge, “You know I grew up in Poland in poverty, and when I was born I wouldn’t let go of my dead twin sister because it was the only thing I could have for a doll.”

How to get a job on a hit show. In auditioning for the role of Oleg, Kite took an unusual approach. The other actors showed up dressed as cooks. Kite arrived in Hammer pants, flip flops, and white socks with toes. To complete Oleg, Kite drew upon his experience working around cooks in restaurants and from his childhood friend, whose parents were Russian. For fans of Oleg and Sophie, enjoy the romance, but don’t count on seeing a wedding.

They love having a studio audience. The audience plays an important role in the show – it provides feedback to let them know which jokes are working and which ones aren’t. “Comedy is really stressful,” explained Denning, “it’s like math and music at the same time.” Denning feels that, “When the audience is there, it comes to life.” The audience reciprocates the love; there is a girl who frequently attends tapings dressed like Max.

Why cupcakes? King explained that they wanted cupcakes so that they could have something soft for the razor sharp Max. They also imagined that cupcake making is something that Max could have learned from her mother. At the heart of it, though, is a more sentimental emotion, “It’s whipped cream on a piece of cake.” How could you get any sweeter than that?

In addition to attending the panel, we also had a chance to chat with the cast before they went to meet their fans. Check out our video interviews of the cast below:

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(Photo Credit: Kevin Parry for Paley Center for Media)