Tag Archives: 2 Broke Girls

Fall 2011 New TV Show Predictions Reviewed, Part 2

26 Dec

A couple of months ago, I made predictions about how long new shows on CBS, NBC and The CW would last.  As all the shows have aired for a few weeks, it’s time for an evaluation of my predictions, although for some shows, the final word is not in yet.  Such an evaluation follows:

CBS

2 Broke Girls

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up with high likelihood of renewal.  I knew it was likely to get renewed, but I still tried to vote with my heart by hoping it at least wouldn’t last multiple seasons.  Now, we could be looking at the next Two and a Half Men (shivers).

How To Be A Gentleman

Predicted:  12-

What happened:  Cancelled.  Fourth on my top five easiest cancellation decisions.  Sad, because there’s a few people I like in the show, but not really sad.

Person of Interest

Predicted:  Renewal

What happened:  Picked up for a full season, likely to be renewed.  I was worried when the show didn’t start as strong as expected, but it would be a surprise, albeit not a huge one, at this point if the show wasn’t brought back.

A Gifted Man

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for three more episodes, totally 16, leaning towards cancelled, but undecided.  Probably my best 13+ pick of the year, it meets all the middle of the road commercially and critically criteria to need an extended look but ultimately be cancelled.

Unforgettable

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season.  Along with Terra Nova, the most borderline of the borderline.  No idea which way it will go, may come down to the last minute.

NBC

Up All Night

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season, still up in the air for next year.  Neither a huge success nor a bust, on ratings-strapped NBC, executives are looking to grab on to anything with a chance of success (though not Community, unfortunately).  It’s moving to Thursday, and how it fairs there will determine its fate.  I’d lean towards renewal though.

Free Agents

Predicted:  12-

What happened:  Cancelled.  Number five in my most obvious cancellations of the year.  There wasn’t much press, and though this was likely the best of the comedies cancelled quickly this year, that’s not saying a whole lot.

The Playboy Club

Predicted:  12-

What happened:  Cancelled.  I’m out of my five obvious cancellation choices, but this would be number six if I had one.  It never really had a chance and it shouldn’t have.

Whitney

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season, awaiting ratings on a new night.  It will switch time periods with Up All Night, making much more sense for both shows.  It never belonged on Thursday night, and hopefully will be put to bed by the end of the year, but it could go either way.

Prime Suspect

Predicted:  Renewal

What happened:  Probably cancelled, but not officially yet.  I was just straight out wrong about this one.  It got generally well reviewed and with NBC as ailing as it is, I thought even with middling ratings, they’d keep it around.

Grimm

Predicted:  13+

What happened:  Picked up for a full season and leaning toward a renewal.  I went back and forth on this show as more news and previews emerged and I’m still not sure how I feel.  I think it will probably get renewed, but it’s not over yet.

CW

 

Ringer

Predicted:  Renewal

What Happened:  Picked up for full season, likely to be renewed, but not assured yet by any means.  It doesn’t take too much for the WB to renew, so I think Ringer will be in.

The Secret Circle

Predicted:  Renewal

What Happened:  Picked up for a full season and seems most likely of all the WB shows to merit a renewal.  I felt good about this choice partnered up with successful The Vampire Diaries and this just confirms it.

Hart of Dixie

Predicted:  13+

What Happened:  Picked up for a full season.  It’s likely to be renwed, though less likely right now than Ringer and definitely less likely than The Secret Circle.  Still, I feel good about my prediction even if it comes out wrong.

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Fall 2011 Review: 2 Broke Girls

20 Sep

I thought about sub-titling this review, “In Defense of Hipsters.”  I didn’t, but we’ll get back to that shortly.

It’s very early in the fall premiere season but we have an early contender for if not the worst show, the show I find most personally offensive.  Honestly, it’s not because the writing is bad, although it is.  But honestly, (and here’s a kind of compliment, to show this is all even-handed), the writing wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  And Kat Dennings, who I haven’t liked since Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist  wasn’t as bad as I thought she would be.  The problem with this show is both its absolute lack of understanding of what it’s trying to make fun of, and the ridiculously one-sided stance that comes from that.  Allow me to explain.

The first minute or so of the show is the worst minute of television I’ve seen in years (is decades too far?) and although more concentrated than the rest of the show, is a good microcosm for the show at large.  I made a mention of a Coldplay reference in my preview of the show but I’m going to break it down further and attach the youtube so you can see for yourself.  I’ll break down the clip below.

Two men are sitting at a table in the diner in which waitress Kat Dennings, named Max in the show, works.  The men are maybe in their mid-20s and are dressed in plaid and have wool caps on.  One of them, after attempting to call her over to the table, snaps at her (finger snaps, not snaps in anger).  Without question, this is a rude action.  She then retaliates eight-fold.  She snaps directly in his face, an action far more rude in and of itself than snapping in the air for the waitress.  She then calls out the patron as a hipster, for having no job, which, first, she has absolutely no way of knowing, and second, even if she did, it would be extremely uncalled for and none of her business.  She and him are nothing alike at all, she asserts.  After the second man at the table notes that his friend has been “burned,” Max lets him know that he doesn’t get off either for this seemingly minor transgression.  She, she tells him, wears wool hats because it’s cold, while he, she claims, wears them because of Coldplay.

Let’s break this down.  First, if she was pissed, she could have, I don’t know, told them that snapping was obnoxious.  Instead she decides to be a total asshole, far more than was called for in retaliation for their snaps.  Second, these people don’t dress like hipsters do in New York.  Anyone who lives in New York should know this.  There is stereotypical clothing they could pick, horn rimmed glasses and tight jeans and trucker hats or beards, but they just got it completely wrong.  Third, fucking Coldplay?  I’m sure someone wrote this line and thought it was so brilliant that they didn’t want to actually bother to think about accuracy.  Coldplay could not be farther from a hipster band.  Do hipsters like Coldplay?  Sure, maybe, because EVERYONE likes Coldplay.  I’m going to go farther though.  If anything, hipsters are more likely to HATE Coldplay.  In wikipedia’s article on the hipster subculture, they rip a Time magazine quote which says (I know, Time magazine is truly the definitive source on hipsters), “Hipsters are the friends who sneer when you cop to liking Coldplay.”  I’m sure Max would like Coldplay if she didn’t seem to hate everyone and everything that wasn’t hardscrabble and poor and an underdog.  They’re probably too successful so she has to resent them.  Fourth, why can’t they wear wool hats?  Why is this an objectionable stylish statement to you?  If he’s uncomfortable or hot inside, this bothers you why?

And to the greater point, as I alluded to earlier, what the fuck is with this defenseless picking on hipsters for no reason?  Why is Max on so much of a higher plane than them?  Because they like indie music?  Since when did hipsters become so horrible?  I’m tired of them being an easy target for honestly no reason, even beside the fact that if there was going to be hipster bashing it should have happened five years ago.  There’s plenty of understandable reasons to pick on hipsters; their pretentious music taste, sure.  Where is this stereotype that hipsters would be mean to waitresses?  Later in the episode, Max notes that she doesn’t envy the other waitress because an Arcade Fire concert just got out next door and hipsters would be crowding the diner.  Why the fuck is this so terrible?  Not to mention, the Arcade Fire sell out Madison Square Garden.  They wouldn’t be playing in Brooklyn.  Of course, most of the audience of this show probably doesn’t even know who the Arcade Fire is, Grammy and #1 album or not and they certainly wouldn’t know a real indie band (The Drums, Yuck, or Wild Beasts, just to name a couple actually playing the Music Hall of Williamsburg in the near future).

The Big Bang Theory is despicable for its depiction of nerds, but at least it plays correctly to the horrible stereotypes of nerds.  2 Broke Girls can’t even get that right.

I can’t spend this amount of time on everything else in the show, and admittedly, that’s the single most painful minute, so I’ll move more quickly.  Williamsburg, a very gentrified area at this point where rent is not cheap by any means, is portrayed as a rough shithole where second broke girl Caroline, who lost all her money when her dad, a Bernie Madoff take off, got caught, can’t wear her nice coat for fear of getting robbed.  Her apartment definitely costs a significant amount of rent for such a titular broke girl.  The subway the two are on looks more like a stereotypical subway from the ‘80s than one from today.  By no means are all subways immaculate, but nor are they covered in graffiti.

Also, Max works a second job as a nanny for a clueless rich socialite in big bad MANHATTAN.  Max is smart and streetwise.  The woman she works for though, boy, rich people are so STUPID and LAZY, they can’t even pick up their own kids.

This isn’t fucking Williamsburg.  There is nothing New York about this show.  I know Michael Patrick King worked on a definitive New York show in Sex and the City but this couldn’t be farther from that.  It’s filmed on a sound stage and doesn’t look or feel at all like New York.  Beyond that, it’s just painfully inaccurate and patronizing to the people and to the neighborhood.

And I’m sure all this ribbing of hipsters and rich people and New York is all supposed to be taken in good fun, and you might say, chill out, it’s just a sitcom.  If that’s how you feel, that’s fine, I’ll respect that.  But to me, relying on stereotypes, and worse relying on inaccurate stereotypes is the worst, and maybe worse than worst, the laziest type of comedy.

I’m sorry this review is extra long, but I know I came in biased to this premiere so I wanted to make sure these were really my feelings and I wasn’t forcing it because I wanted to hate the show.  I took a good long think about the comedies I do like, and none of them have this attitude of patronizingly picking on certain defenseless easy target groups.  Sure, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia picks on everyone, but those characters are supposed to be despicable people, while somehow I think you’re supposed to love Max.

Will I watch it again?  No, I will not.  You don’t have to hate it.  But it wouldn’t hurt if you didn’t watch it at least.

Fall 2011 Preview and Predictions: CBS

15 Sep

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13)

We’ll tackle CBS next, the ratings leaders behind their procedural powerhouses CSI and NCIS and unfortunate comedy stars Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.  All their new shows start next week except for How to Be A Gentleman, which starts the week after.

2 Broke Girls – 9/19

No single preview has offended me more personally than that for 2 Broke Girls, in which Kat Dennings’s character makes a reference to Coldplay as a hipster band, amongst other things.  What Big Bang Theory does for nerds, it looks like 2 Broke Girls will do for hipsters.  Basically, it’s a show written to make fun of hipsters by people who don’t know what hipsters are, or it so it appears from the preview.  On top of that, I’ve disliked Kat Dennings since I saw Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, one of the worst movies I’ve seen in the last five years.

Verdict.  13+ – For some reason people claim to be liking this, and because it’s on CBS, every show might be renewed because people over the age of 50 just leave the TV on CBS and throw away their remotes, but boy I just can’t pick a show that looks this terrible to succeed in good conscience

How to Be a Gentlemen – 9/29

Ah!  Finally, a show that just looks really and truly terrible and has absolutely no reason to support it.  Wait – it actually has cast members who I kind of like?  David Hornsby, better known to me as Rickety Cricket from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia as the uptight Felix Unger roommate, and Kevin Dillon, or Johnny Drama from Entourage, as the crazy, slobbish, Oscar Madison roommate, along with Dave Foley, Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe from 24) and Rhys Darby (Murray from Flight of the Conchords).  Cricket and Johnny Drama are roommates who are perfectly mismatched, have love-hate relationship, teach a little bit to each other, blah blah blah.

Verdict:  12- Boy, I like that cast, but boy that show sounds and looks terrible.

Person of Interest – 9/22

One of the more interesting sounding series of the new season, Person of Interest is something like Batman meets Minority Report.  Michael Emerson, otherwise known as the uber-creepy Ben Linus from Lost, is a reclusive billionaire who has developed a program which can predict information about violent crimes in the future, but with limited detail.  Linus hires an ex-CIA agent thought to be dead to do the legwork on stopping these crimes that his program picks up on.  Add all this to the fact it’s created by Jonathan Nolan, Chris’s younger brother, who co-wrote the screenplays to The Prestige and The Dark Knight and it sounds pretty promising.

Verdict:  Renewal – CBS is moving ratings giant CSI to get Person of Interest some viewers – if that’s not a sign of big-time network backing, then I don’t know what is.  On top of that, it apparently got legendary approval ratings for its pilot.

A Gifted Man – 9/23

Patrick Wilson is quite literally a man constantly bringing gifts to small children.  No, if only.  This is actually far more insane. Wilsonis a materialistic, selfish, scrooge-ish but extraordinarily talented surgeon working and dabbling amongst the upper crust exclusively.  That is, until his dead wife comes back in ghost form and starts trying to make him a better person, having him run the free clinic that she apparently ran before they died (how did they get along when they were both alive with such disparate interests?).  Oh, and Julie Benz (Rita from Dexter) plays his sister.

Verdict:  13+ – Jonathan Demme directed the pilot, which is probably good news, but this seems like it could get awful predictable awful fast.

Unforgettable – 9/20

Gimmicky procedurals are right in CBS’s wheelhouse, and Unforgettable fits right in with The Mentalist.  Unforgettable stars Poppy Montgomery as a woman with a rare medical condition, which means that she quite literally can not forget anything.  A former detective before the show begins, her former boyfriend and ex-partner (the same person) ask her to come back to help solve cases using her rare ability.  On top of that, we’ve got a long-term plot based on the only thing Miss Unforgettable can not remember:  The mysterious circumstances behind the murder of her sister!  Bum bum bum!

Verdict:  13+ – I’m sure it won’t be bad, but I have a hard time believing it will be that good either.  It just sounds so unbelievably generic.  On CBS, it’ll get viewers, but CBS expects more too, and one of these dramas has to not deliver