It’s been a rough couple of months for people who like TV shows that aren’t terrible. Since last September, the following series have debuted or will by the beginning of February: “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” “Whitney,” “Are You There, Chelsea?,” “Rob,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” “How to Be a Gentleman,” “Work It,” “Last Man Standing,” and “Allen Gregory.” It’s pretty much this:
Assuming there’s not a huge demand for a show based on a movie that came out eight years ago, there’s something all those series have in common, besides their all being worse than Hitler, Carlos Mencia, and the sound of two marbles rubbing together combined: none are ratings hits. But there is one rookie comedy that has been a blockbuster for, of course, CBS: the critically beloved “2 Broke Girls.” “Beloved” means “hated with a fury as hot as Satan’s bunghole,” right? Yesterday, during the TCA Press Tour, co-creator Michael Patrick King attempted to defend the show’s racist, sexist, unfunny ways, but he ended up making himself look like as much of a prick as his “Sex and the City” background would have you believe. It’s the most anything “2 Broke Girls”-related has ever made me laugh.
Here are the choice quotes, as recorded by Alan Sepinwall:
“I don’t think the characters were one-note. I think the characters were the first note…the characters are dimensional, but they’re shown in segments of 21 minutes. I will call you in five years, and you will have accrued enough time to figure out if these characters became fully fledged-out.”
“I’m gay! I’m putting in gay stereotypes every week! I don’t find it offensive, any of this. I find it comic to take everybody down, which is what we are doing.”
“Every conversation we’ve had about edge of “2 Broke Girls” is based on extreme wit. It’s a sharp wit. It’s about words. We seem to be offending people with the use of words rather than nudity. There has been no nudity on our show, and apparently there doesn’t need to be nudity to push an edge. So we’re more than happy to toil with our paint box of words and see what comes up.”
“This show is so much fun for the audience. I’m surprised the questions are not about fun.”
Here’s an example of Michael Patrick King’s “extreme wit”: “I wear knit hats when it’s cold out; you wear knit hats because of Coldplay.” And here’s a good ol’ rape joke: “Rapists don’t knock and wave. And if they looked like that, we wouldn’t call them rapists; we’d call them JOHNNNNYYYYY.” Who’s Johnny? It doesn’t matter.
Michael Patrick King — a.k.a. Ryan Murphy-lite — assumed that just by showing up at the TCA press tour, and just because his show is averaging nearly 14 million viewers a week, critics would be drooling at the mere opportunity to be in his presence for an hour. Instead, when they began asking legitimate questions about his show’s crippling reliance on ethnic stereotypes (aren’t Asian people just the shortest!), he became defensive, hostile, and unreasonable; he was honestly surprised that the assembled mass wasn’t there to bow down to his hit-making abilities. JUST LOOK AT HIS LAST NAME, people. He wasn’t exactly humble, either, calling “2 Broke Girls” “so much fun,” “sharp wit,” “classy-dirty,” “high low-brow,” and “sophisticated.”
When writers begin to talk about how “sharp” and “edgy” they are, that’s when I tune out (Ricky Gervais is having that problem right now, too). It’s way too self-aware, and you get the feeling that after reading the script, they say, “This is good…but it could use five more rape jokes. Doesn’t matter where.” Michael Patrick King thinks just because he’s using the word “vagina” and finding “new” ways of pointing out that Asian people talk all funny-like on primetime TV, he’s a modern-day Lenny Bruce. Thing is, you can only get away with being offensive if your jokes are funny. On “2 Broke Girls,” they’re not (see here), no matter how much he wants you to believe to the contrary. In Michael Patrick King’s world, he’s right and we, the haters, are wrong, with each side believing the other is being a total dismissive prick. The haters are gonna hate, and we’re totally right for doing so.