Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: Can 2 Broke Girls Serve Up a Wealth of Laughs?

The broadcast networks have more than 30 shows debuting this fall, including Charlie’s reborn Angels, homecomings for Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rachel Bilson, and no less than two series set in the ’60s. To help you prep for fall, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots. Next up….

THE SHOW | CBS’ 2 Broke Girls (Mondays at 8:30/7:30c, starting Sept. 26; sneak preview on Sept. 19 at 9:30, following Two and a Half Men)

THE COMPETITION | Dancing with the Stars (ABC), Terra Nova (new on Fox), Gossip Girl (The CW) and The Sing-Off (NBC)

THE CAST | Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), Beth Behrs (Up Close with Carrie Keagan), Garrett Morris (Saturday Night Live), Matthew Moy (Scrubs), and Jonathan Kite

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THE SET-UP | Dennings plays Max, a suffer-no-fools Brooklynite juggling two jobs — greasy-spoon waitress, and nanny — to make ends (barely) meet. Behrs is Caroline, a Park Avenue princess rendered a penniless pariah by her infamous father’s Ponzi scheme. Max’s diner needs a new hire (and Max is about to need a new roommate), while Caroline is desperate for a paycheck and a place to hang her surviving Chanel. Moy, Morris and Kite round out the cast as the diner’s ambitious boss, wise-cracking cashier and lecherous cook, respectively.

THE GOOD | Coming across as effortless in both its set-up and execution, 2 Broke Girls lands smack dab in the sitcom sweet spot, forcing clashing personalities to work together, live together, quarrel together, and just maybe learn from each other — similar to two other new comedies, Fox’s New Girl and ABC’s Apt. 23. Dennings seems to be having much fun here, and her fleeting asides with Morris’ cashier are little gems. Also, for TV fans who obsess over, like, when “the Mother” will be revealed, there’s this: The unlikely gal pals end up working toward a specific financial goal, with their combined savings tallied on-screen at the end of (presumably) every episode — which I think is a neat device.

THE… COULD-BE-BETTER | Behrs does well in her first major acting gig — and effectively elicits sympathy as needed — though Caroline could afford to be maybe five percent less precious. I don’t know how the show plans to utilize Kite’s Oleg, a lewd and unkempt immigrant cook who would seem to have very limited notes to play. And while it’s nice to see a series set in Brooklyn, an anachronistic graffiti-covered NYC subway car made my eyes roll a bit.

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THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Sneak-peeking after the much-ballyhooed season opener of the Sheen-free Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls should cash in big its first night out. Then, in its regular time slot after How I Met Your Mother, it’s got a tonally (and geographically) apropos lead-in. Knowing that those who watch DWTS will (sigh) always watch DWTS, the only wild card is how loud a roar Fox’s Terra Nova makes with its own arrival on the TV landscape.

Watch a video preview for 2 Broke Girls, then vote in our poll below.

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