Is it possible to start a new business when your last one failed miserably? That's part of the premise behind the third season of "2 Broke Girls," which had the two main characters learning from their past mistakes while making new ones. The results may have been done before to some degree, but the jokes still seemed fresh and hilarious at the same time.
"2 Broke Girls" followed Max Black (Kat Dennings) and Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs) as they tried to overcome their mistakes from their first failed cupcake business that left them closing up shop sooner than they thought. For their second business venture, the girls decided to start on a much smaller scale before they decided to go up into a full blown business. They had some early support from their friends Oleg (Jonathan Kite) and Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge) who let go of their animosity long enough to celebrate with them. With the help of their boss Han Lee (Matthew Moy), the girls were able to use an unknown secret back room in the diner for their new base of operations. Unfortunately, Han and Caroline started to disagree whether the girls should be paying rent or not. During their opening night, Max and Caroline dealt with their first customer who was a famous rock star that happened to die right in front of them. They also ended up getting a huge boost in business after their new store was revealed as the spot where the person died. The girls recruited fellow diner employee Earl (Garrett Morris) to help out when the crowd got to be too much to handle. The only thing that might stand in their way to having a successful business was Han himself who wanted the girls to pay rent and started to take some business away from them out of spite. Sadly, the three of them forget to realize that crowds disappeared just as quickly as they came. Will Han and the girls be able to work out their differences and still maintain their own businesses?
In terms of humor, "2 Broke Girls" often danced a fine line between genuinely hilarious comedy to the somewhat uncomfortable when a sex joke went just a little too far. Besides the fact that some plot lines were rushed, the show's main issue last season was trying to find a balance between conventional and crude humor. Sure, most sitcoms tended to flirt with both on more than one occasion. The third season premiere appeared to find a delicate balance between the two to give viewers the chance to laugh without feeling too uncomfortable. The writers have also managed to make Max and Caroline's reactions reflect what viewers may feel as a way to relieve some necessary tension, which primarily came from the Oleg and Sophie storyline. Dennings and Behrs have both managed to convey realistic looks of discomfort whenever Kite's Oleg and Coolidge's Sophie talked about their past sexual relationship and the resulting break-up. The premiere's most memorable scene came towards the end when Caroline and Han's feud was at a fever pitch, which involved moving a memorial and Han nearly getting pummeled by an angry mob. Despite the show's rather cynical outlook, the true heart of "2 Broke Girls" was how a family can found in the most unexpected place. It also helped that the show didn't embrace too much sentiment before Dennings' Max made a wisecrack about Moy's Han to bring viewers back to reality. It would be nice for the rest of the supporting cast to have a larger part in the cupcake business, but only time will tell if that's the case.
As for breakout performances, Behrs and Dennings led the pack as a modern day Laverne and Shirley who worked at all hours to pay the bills. Of course, it also helped that the characters sometimes lost their dignity in the process just to earn laughs. Behrs' Caroline has evolved from being a spoiled rich girl who lost everything into someone who wanted to pave the way for herself to claw her way into her own successful venture. She made Caroline someone to root for, even when the character occasionally crossed a line or embarassed heself a little too much. Caroline's scheme often got her into trouble with anyone who got in her way, which was Han and a homeless guy in the season premiere. Behrs managed to make Caroline's zaniest ideas seem relatable and humorous at the same time as she went for broke to earn laughs. Her most memorable scenes came when she was desperate to draw customers back to her shop that involved moving a makeshift memorial for a dead rock star. Caroline's actions almost started a riot and later caused a homeless man to pee on her in response. Behrs' expressions varied in both scenes that ranged from manic, depression, and utter shock that the night ended on such a disturbing note. Dennings, on the other hand, provided some of the show's strongest zingers and one liners without too much of an effort. She made it seem like those lines came naturally to her and weren't scripted. Dennings provided Max with the right balance of cynical snark without losing her humanity as she fought for her friends when it was necessary to protect them. Let's hope that the show will one day further explore Max's background to give viewers more of an insight into the mysterious character, or at the very least provide a great celebrity cameo down the line.
"2 Broke Girls" premiered on September 23rd and airs Mondays at 9:00 PM on CBS.
Verdict: Dennings and Behrs continue to develop their comedic rapport as they went for broke to draw the appropriate amount of laughs, which sometimes happened their own expense.
TV Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)