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Thursday, September 27, 2012

2 Broke Girls not exactly a hiding a stash

CBS's 2 Broke Girls kicks off year two with "And the Hidden Stash." Caroline's (Beth Behrs) family possessions are up for auction. Her father, Martin (Steven Weber, Wilfred, Wings), insists that she attend the event and buy back her horse riding trophy. Max (Kat Dennings) assumes ulterior motives, convincing Caroline that there might be money inside the base of the cup. But in the end, it is only a message of perseverance that Martin is trying to get across.

The "twist" in "And the Hidden Stash" is seen coming from a mile away. It's one thing to speculate that Martin may have a trick up his sleeve. It's quite another for the girls to buy into it whole-heartedly, even figuring out how much money might fit in there, and getting upset when they're wrong. This is all guess work. There is never any guarantee. It's frustrating that they can't tamper their excitement for something they cooked up in their own heads.

Just as bad is how they openly discuss hidden caches of money in the prison visiting room. Guards are present, listening to their every word! Martin is in jail for stealing money. If an employee hears Martin talking to his daughter about secret stashes, and Max isn't subtle about the conversation, that will get reported. It just defies realism.

2 Broke Girls starts as a charming tale of two down-on-their-luck waitresses who are going to work their way into a cupcake empire. If the story had continued on that path, it would have been a very cool show. Instead, it has devolved into status quo, with the amount of money saved barely going up from week to week, and their station not improving at all. No one expects Max and Caroline to have left the diner behind by the start of season two, but there should be progress, and none is apparent.

It's not that the show isn't funny. The ensemble cast, which includes Matthew Moy, Jonathan Kite, Garrett Morris, and Jennifer Collidge, knows how to deliver a joke. The two leads can be very humorous, and it's not hard to root for them. Their bit bidding against Hamish McDonough (Robert Michael Morris, Running Wilde) is great, as is the rip on their sitcom competition, Zooey Deschanel! But it's this insistence on sticking with the world the way it starts, and the sacrifice of realism for the cheap gag (see the start of this review) that is frustrating. There is so much potential here that is being squandered.

Will it improve? It kind of has to. If it were to maintain what it is now, it would be stale and not worth watching by the middle of this year. Right now, it's risking losing those viewers drawn in by the initial promises. Although the rote scripts might appeal to a larger base, and are mildly entertaining, it hurts the quality in way that it soon would be nearly impossible to recover from. Please fix this show. The crucial ingredients are already present, they just need to be allowed to rise.

2 Broke Girls airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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