September 20, 2011

TV: 2 Broke Girls (CBS, Mon 8:30)

CBS has been crowing all summer that 2 Broke Girls was their highest-testing pilot in years. Either they're lying or their test audiences were smokin' the crack, because for most of the way, this show isn't very good. But there is a sudden uptick at the very end that just might be cause for hope.

Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs are Kat and Caroline, two waitresses at a run-down diner in Brooklyn. Kat's been there for years; Caroline is the new girl, a trust-fund baby forced into honest work because her family's assets have been seized (Daddy's a Bernie Madoff-type swindler).

The supporting characters are a rainbow of ethnic cliches -- Matthew Moy as the heavily-accented Asian owner of the diner; Jonathan Kite as the cook, a crude, vulgar, vaguely Slavic type; and Garrett Morris, who sits near the door doing god knows what. Selling chewing gum, maybe?

When Kat and Caroline are in scenes on their own, the show's at its best; Dennings and Behrs are likable, and have interesting chemistry. The last five minutes of the pilot are the strongest; the women move in together, and Caroline starts planning to use her business-school background to help Kat open a cupcake shop. Those five minutes are good enough that I'll watch next week, hoping that those first twenty minutes of mediocrity are just pilot jitters.

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