Old-fashioned buddy comedy, CBS, Monday Night

What’s it about? Well you see, there are these two girls… and they’re broke…

In all seriousness, this title is very clearly trying to jump on the bad economy bandwagon, and while the character’s go a lot deeper then you’d expect them to, even in the pilot, the conceit itself doesn’t go much deeper than that. Max (Kat Dennings) is a misanthropic Brooklynite who works multiple jobs to make ends meet. Caroline (new face Beth Behrs) is a bubbly heiress and business school graduate who lost everything when her father was arrested for a Ponzi scheme (sound familiar?) and all her assets were frozen. They meet. Their differences keep them apart. Their similarities being them together. All is well in Brooklyn. Except for… umm, poverty… and Brooklyn.

On the Holiday Special Scale:  10 out of 10. This show has pretty much split critics down the middle. Some think it’s the next Laverne & Shirley. Some think it’s another Two and a Half Men, but with girl jokes. Count me among those who see immense potential for this show, which rides, laugh track and all, solely on the backs of its leads, who are really great in this pilot. This is the show I actaully invented the Holiday Special Scale for. Watching the show, I started imagining crazy situations I could see these two ladies getting themselves into while trying to reach their goal of having their own cupcake shop, and Christmas just popped into my head. I imagined the diner decorated badly in holiday cheer; some Christmas themed leering from Oleg, the vaguely Eastern European sleezball cook; Max taking on some loony holiday season job like Salvation Army Santa at the urging of optimistic Caroline and hating it profoundly; and Caroline begging Max to try and recreate some over-the-top holiday tradition that Caroline did with her family back when they were rich. And I laughed at these scenarios and wondered how each character would deal with them, which is strange because I barely know these characters. For all I know, any holiday episode this show does will suck. But I don’t think that will happen. No, I think this show has the right idea, and as long as it goes where I think it’s going (Caroline and Max use the diner as home base but also try and secure employment by various other means, switching up the formula constantly) then I see a bright future for 2 Broke Girls, one where the two leads use their chemistry to build a Lucy and Ethel like chemistry and take the comedy world by storm, bringing laughter holiday special after holiday special. (Note that if the producers don’t use this chemistry and creativity, then I will totally despise this show.)

The Stupid Advertisement Scale: 7 out of 10. Rocky going at first. Based on it’s punchlines alone, your not going to keep watching this show. They’re clever, but they’re not going to get you past the dreaded ad break. But then, fifteen minutes in, something magical happened. The characters took control, relegating the jokes to second fiddle, and a female friendship that actually made wonderful sense began to form between two girls who would have appeared to have nothing in common. What changed? This show basically won my goodwill when, halfway trough the episode, we found out that, while she may be vain, naive, pretty and blonde, Caroline is also extraordinarily caring, sensible, intuitive and is way smarter then anyone else around her – including Max. What a surprise that was. Beth Behrs sells it completely, and while she’s selling her punchlines and phyical gags to the rafters, the little character things are delivered subtley and quietly. You are won over by them as the viewer as slowly as Max is won over by them, but by episode’s end, this show has done something extraordinary. It has made it’s two female leads equals – both in each others eyes and in the eys of the viewer – while giving them each distintive personalities and flaws that can be built on later. The minute I saw this, I was fighting like crazy through those ad breaks. Not only would I have reloaded in a heartbeat to see the neat sleight of hand they pulled with the character of Caroline – I was giddy when the break was over.

Watching Again Next Week: Yes, I will be, and I’ll know fairly quickly whether this show goes where I hope its going or whether it will in fact squander all the promise I perhaps misguidedly see in it and go the more 2 and a Half Men route. (Please god, no. Side note, the Advertisement scale was created while watching Two and a Half Men. I tried to watch the season premiere because I was curious about both how they dealt with Sheen’s departure and how they dealt with Ashton Kutchewr’s arrival. During the second commercial break, CBS.com locked me out and I had to reload the page and sit through two ad breaks before I could get back to watching the show. So little had I been enjoying myself that, in the middle of the third commercial I just said screw it and turned off the computer. And the Stupid Advertisement from Hell Scale was born. Two and a Half Men gets a zero. Yeah it’ll draw you in onn the hype, but it sure as heck won’t keep you their on quality and potential.