2 Broke Girls is an American television sitcom created for Warner Bros. Television by Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings. It premiered in the United States on CBS in September 2011. Set in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, the show's plot follows the lives of friends Max Black (Kat Dennings) and Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs). Whereas Caroline was raised as the daughter of a billionaire, Max grew up in poverty, resulting in differing perspectives on life, although together they work in a local diner while attempting to raise funds to start a cupcake business.
Since its debut, the series has received a polarized response from critics and audiences alike. The on-screen chemistry between the two lead characters has been praised, while others have condemned the show's reliance on sexualized humor and stereotypes. It was nominated for three 2012 Emmy Awards, winning for Art Direction. On March 25, 2016, the show was renewed for a sixth season, which premiered on October 10, 2016.
The series chronicles the lives of two waitresses in their mid-twenties (at the start of the series): Max Black (Kat Dennings), the child of a poor working-class mother and an unknown father, and Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs), who was born rich but is now disgraced and penniless because her father, Martin Channing, got caught operating a Bernard Madoff-esque Ponzi scheme. The two work together at a Brooklyn diner, soon becoming roommates and friends while building toward their dream of one day opening a cupcake shop. Among those working with them at the restaurant are their boss, Han Lee (Matthew Moy); Oleg (Jonathan Kite), an upbeat but perverted Ukrainian cook; and Earl (Garrett Morris), a 75-year-old cashier. Also featured starting late in the first season is their neighbor and part-time boss Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge), a Polish immigrant who runs the house-cleaning company Sophie's Choice.
During most of the first season Max is also a part-time nanny for the twin babies of Peach Landis (Brooke Lyons), who during the season adopts Caroline's horse Chestnut. At the end of each episode a tally shows how much they have made toward their goal of $250,000. Early in the second season, Sophie lends the girls $20,000, which is enough for them to start their business. However, the business fails, and in the 18th episode they are forced to give up the lease of their cupcake shop with just enough money to pay off Sophie's loan, resetting the end of episode tally to $1.
During the third season, the girls reopen the business in the back room of the diner, using the window as a walk up window. Max also enrolls in, and Caroline goes to work for, the Manhattan School of Pastry, where Max finds a love interest, Deke, marking the first time in the series that Max gets emotional for a man. Caroline has a brief affair with the Pastry School Head Chef Nicholas, which eventually leads to Nicholas closing down the school and moving back to France with his wife. They also attempt to get Deke's parents to invest in the pastry school, planning to run it by themselves but do not succeed.
During Season 4, the girls start their Cupcake T-shirt Business which succeeds briefly before going into the red. Max and Caroline end up in an elite class Pastry Shop called "The High" in order to make more money to return the loan they took for their Cupcake T-shirt business. In the end of Season 4, Oleg and Sophie get married, with the girls realizing they have their own business to worry about and their own dream to work towards, which leads to them quitting "The High" and coming back to their business.
In Season 5, Caroline sells her life story to a film producer for $250,000. She uses most the money to expand their old cupcake space into the adjacent pizza shop, converting it into a dessert bar. The remaining $30,000 is used to purchase part ownership in the diner in order to help Han pay off his debts from gambling on ladies tennis. While in Hollywood with Caroline consulting on her life story script, Max meets her second major love interest in the series, a Los Angeles-based "lawyer to the stars" named Randy.Kat Dennings as Max Black, one of the waitresses at the Williamsburg Diner. She is a poor working class girl who had a rough childhood in Hope, Rhode Island and an equally rough adult life, driven by both genuine poverty and being raised by a mother who was usually absent and dangerously incompetent when she was around. (It is implied that her mother was a drug addict.) Han initially allowed her to sell homemade cupcakes in the diner, which led to her going forward with Caroline's idea to go into the cupcake business. The brunette Max is street-smart, tends to deliver insults with a smile, and often pokes fun at her own promiscuity, her large breasts, and indulgence in marijuana. She always wears knee-high brown leather boots while waitressing.
Beth Behrs as Caroline Wesbox Channing, a waitress at the Williamsburg Diner. She is a formerly rich high society girl (in the style of Paris Hilton) and University of Pennsylvania Wharton graduate who lost all of her money when her father was arrested and thrown in jail for a Ponzi scheme. She is forced to start over and becomes Max's co-worker, roommate and eventual best friend. She comes up with the idea of starting a cupcake business with Max. Despite being spoiled since birth and then losing her money, Caroline is kind and optimistic, though high-maintenance at times. The blonde Caroline always wears large pearl necklaces with her waitress uniform as well as high-heeled shoes.
Garrett Morris as Earl Washington, the elderly cashier who has worked at the Williamsburg Diner since 1962, or 1989, and a former jazz musician with a love of marijuana and gambling. Max is very close to him, and frequently says that she wishes he was her father. By season six, Earl is starting to show signs of memory loss.
Jonathan Kite as Vanko Oleg Golishevsky, a Ukrainian cook at the Williamsburg Diner. He sexually harasses Max and Caroline constantly with inappropriate jokes, innuendo and propositions for sex, but his behavior is benign and easily ignored (or mocked, by Max). He later develops an attraction to Sophie, and has a sex-only relationship with her. At the end of season two, Oleg cheated on Sophie, leading her to angrily break up with him off-screen before the third-season premiere. In season four, the two reconcile and get engaged and then married; it is revealed he needs to get married because his green card will expire.
Matthew Moy as Han Lee, the owner of the Williamsburg Diner. He is constantly a target for jokes (mainly from Max) involving his height, his effeminate mannerisms in spite of his claims of being heterosexual, and his lack of knowledge of American culture. He is originally from South Korea and he references his parents and his home country often.
Jennifer Coolidge as Sophie Kachinsky (recurring, season 1; regular, season 2–present), a Polish woman who owns a cleaning company, lives in the apartment above the girls, and often bugs them with stories about her sex life and growing up in Communist Poland. She does not like Caroline as much as she does Max, but invests in their cupcake business in season two. She always enters the diner saying "Hey Everybody" with applause from the studio audience. She was involved in a relationship with Oleg during seasons two and three, gets engaged to him in season four, marrying him in the finale, and during season five she becomes pregnant with their first child. In the sixth-season premiere they have a baby girl.
Chestnut is Caroline's horse who lived full-time in the garden of Max's apartment, until Max convinced Caroline to have someone adopt and stable him so that he could endure the winter weather. He is portrayed by a horse named Rocky.
Brooke Lyons as Peach Landis (season 1), a high society mother who acts like the most clueless version of that. She is the woman whose babies, Brad and Angelina (a reference to real-life actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), Max babysits for. She fired Max from that job to appease an awful friend of hers after a cupcake-catering mishap, and after she begged Max to return full-time, Max decided that she would only return in a part-time capacity. She hasn't been seen or heard from since, and the show has made it clear Max no longer has any association with her.
Nick Zano as Johnny (seasons 1–2), Max's on-again-off-again love interest. He told Max he broke up with Cashandra and was getting married to another woman he just met a week ago in the season 1 finale. He was not seen again until the episode "And the Big Opening" of season 2, in which he and Max had sex. He and Max both agreed that they only wanted each other when they were taken by another person. He left at the end of that episode promising her he would see her again someday.
Ryan Hansen as Andy (seasons 2, 5), a candy store owner whose business was across from the cupcake store, and Caroline's love interest in season 2. In Season 5, Andy returns to Williamsburg and invites Caroline and Max to his wedding. He is married to Romy, a hat designer.
Federico Dordei as Luis (season 3), a flamboyant man who becomes the new day waiter in the third-season episode "And the Group Head". He is attracted to Oleg.
Gilles Marini as Nicolas Saintcroix (season 3), a French "master baker" who owns and teaches at the Manhattan School of Pastry; he was Caroline's love interest, until she realized he is married in "And the French Kiss". He and his wife have an "open relationship" and his wife even gives Caroline permission to sleep with Nicolas, but Caroline refuses because she does not want to sleep with a married man. He later moves back to France to be with his wife, and thus the Manhattan School of Pastry closes.
Mary Lynn Rajskub as Bebe (season 3), a neurotic pastry chef who works at the front desk of the Manhattan School of Pastry. She later moves to Canada, claiming that "they" have found her.
Eric André as Deacon "Deke" Bromberg (season 3), a sarcastic half-black/half-Jewish student at the Pastry School who quickly becomes Max's friend, lover and later ex-boyfriend. He is the second person Max says "I love you" to (the first being Caroline). It is later revealed that despite living in a renovated dumpster, he is rich, his parents owning a large elevator company. However, when he contemplates making a stand against his parents after they objected to his relationship with Max, Max drugs him so that she and Caroline can push his dumpster in front of his parents' house, Max knowing that Deke would be unable to cope with being genuinely poor. In "And the Wedding Cake Cake Cake", Max reveals that she and Deke are no longer together.
Patrick Cox as John (seasons 3–4), a large homosexual bald man who shared a table in the pastry school classroom with Max, who nicknames him "Big Mary". They later worked together at The High.
Sandra Bernhard as Joedth (pronounced "Jo") (season 4), the lesbian owner of The High, a boutique restaurant where Max and Caroline start working.
Austin Falk as Nashit "Nash" (season 4), a handsome new waiter at The High, later hired by Han to be a dishwasher at the diner. He returns home to Ireland when his mother shows up to get him, also revealing that Nash is not yet 18.
Ed Quinn as Randy (seasons 5–6), a lawyer who becomes Max's lover while the girls are in Hollywood to discuss the movie adaptation of Caroline's life story. He later breaks up their relationship before she leaves town, saying that he likes her too much and knowing how long-distance relationships usually end. But he then follows her to New York and they briefly continue the relationship.
Christopher Gorham as Bobby (season 6), a contractor who helps rebuild the dessert bar after a storm and soon becomes Caroline's love interest.
Even before it went to series, the then-undeveloped pilot was the subject of a bidding war, with CBS landing the deal on December 10, 2010, and ordering it to series on May 13, 2011. It was one of two shows commissioned for the 2011–12 television season for which Whitney Cummings served as producer and co-creator, the other being Whitney, which was picked up by NBC but was cancelled after two seasons.
Dennings was the first to be cast in role of Max on February 18, 2011. A week later on February 25, 2011, Behrs won an audition to land the role of Caroline, beating out other established actresses. Moy, Morris and Kite were the last three to be cast on March 16, 2011.
The series is taped in front of a live studio audience with some sweetening.
The first episode aired at 9:30 pm (E/P) after Two and a Half Men on September 19, 2011, and the show moved to its regular timeslot following How I Met Your Mother on Monday nights at 8:30 pm (E/P). Production for the second season began on August 6, 2012.
For its second season 2 Broke Girls moved to 9 pm ET/PT after Two and a Half Men was moved to Thursdays, and remained there until early in its third season.
On March 27, 2013, CBS renewed 2 Broke Girls for a third season. The show was first moved back to its original timeslot, which opened when We Are Men was cancelled, and stayed there until March 24, 2014. Beginning on April 7, 2014, 2 Broke Girls moved to 8 pm to replace How I Met Your Mother following its conclusion, with the show's former timeslot given to the short-lived Friends with Better Lives.
On March 13, 2014, CBS renewed 2 Broke Girls for a fourth season. The network announced a premiere date of October 27, 2014. The move was prompted by CBS' arrangement to air Thursday Night Football for the first several weeks of the season and their subsequent decision not to postpone the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory, which occupied 2 Broke Girls' timeslot until October 20, and then returned to its normal Thursday timeslot. The fourth season consisted of 22 episodes.
On March 12, 2015, CBS renewed 2 Broke Girls for a fifth season which premiered Thursday, November 12, 2015. CBS relocated the show to Thursdays 9:30 pm ET/PT due to Supergirl taking over its previous Monday night timeslot. 2 Broke Girls had its premiere delayed again this season due to CBS airing Thursday Night Football for the first few weeks of the season. By November, regular Thursday programming resumed with The Big Bang Theory and new comedy Life in Pieces moving to Thursdays after airing on Monday nights at the beginning of the season. Mom and 2 Broke Girls then premiered the same month to form CBS' Thursday night comedy block. By midseason, CBS moved 2 Broke Girls to Wednesdays 8 pm ET/PT starting January 6, 2016 pairing it with the final season of Mike and Molly. Both comedies were slated to air for six weeks on the Wednesday 8-9 hour before going on an indefinite hiatus due to Survivor returning to that timeslot the following month. However, on February 8, 2016, CBS cancelled new comedy Angel from Hell with 2 Broke Girls replacing it and returning to its Thursday timeslot on February 18, 2016.
2 Broke Girls has been broadcast in English in numerous countries around the world. In Canada the series airs on City TV. In the UK it is broadcast on E4, and in Ireland it airs on RTÉ2. In Asia and Oceania the series airs on Star World in India, ETC in the Philippines, the Nine Network in Australia, and TV2 in New Zealand.
2 Broke Girls has received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the first season holds a rating of 59%, based on 34 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs have undeniable chemistry, and although 2 Broke Girls is at times bogged down by predictable jokes, this old-fashioned odd couple sitcom is rich with laughs." On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 66 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Much criticism for the show was focused on the perceived overuse of sexually based jokes and offensive racial stereotypes. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter said the show had potential but "squandered it away every week on cheap, predictable and unfunny jokes" and noted that many jokes were of a racist or sexual nature. New Zealand critic Chris Philpott was especially offended by the rape jokes in the first three episodes of the series, calling the series the worst new show of 2012, stating that it "display[ed] a lack of understanding and creativity on the part of the comedy writer." Andrew Ti, writing for Grantland.com, singled out the portrayal of Han Lee as "a fairly regressive portrayal" of the stereotypical Asian male: "a tiny, greedy, sexless man-child with infantilized speech patterns." Elliot B. Gertel at Jewish World Review similarly found that the show misrepresented "Orthodox" Jews in an episode. When asked about the racial stereotypes at a January 2012 press conference, Michael Patrick King said "I don't find it offensive, any of this".
Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker wrote that while the way the supporting characters are written is "so racist it is less offensive than baffling", she noted that the show has "so much potential", and compared it favorably to Cummings' other show Whitney. Positive reviews such as one from Entertainment Weekly focused on the "potential" that the series has based on the acting and chemistry between Dennings and Behrs. The series also received a B+ from The Boston Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert, who was impressed with the casting and production: "The actresses – especially the Gwen Stefani-esque Dennings – transcend their types, and the pop-savvy humor has spirit thanks to producer Michael Patrick King from Sex and the City. After the forced opening minutes, it's the best multi-cam-com of the season." The A.V. Club editor Todd VanDerWerff in writing his weekly reviews of the show, he hoped that the series would improve, but ultimately wrote: "Most of the problems—weird story construction, stereotypical characters, bad jokes—that have bedeviled the show have been there from the very beginning, though I will certainly say they've gotten worse as the season has gone along and the show hasn't bothered to diversify its rhythms at all."
In 2015, Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said what started out as "a modern Laverne & Shirley" attracted lots of young people to begin with, until they "realized it was a waste of their time."
The show has appeared on many critics' "Worst of The Year" lists throughout its run.
The series premiere was watched by 19.4 million viewers after its lead-in, the first episode of Two and a Half Men without Charlie Sheen. This marked the highest rating for a fall premiere of a comedy series since Fall 2001. It scored a 7.1 rating in Adults 18–49. With DVR viewers included, the premiere rose to over 21.5 million viewers and an 8.1 in adults 18–49. The show has done well in ratings with college students and young males.
On June 20, 2012, it was announced that TBS had secured the cable syndication rights to the sitcom, which began airing on September 20, 2015. The series has also been cleared on CBS and Weigel owned affiliates in 35% of the United States.
2 Broke Girls first became available on DVD in 2012 with the first season via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and was the only season to receive an additional Blu-ray release in countries United States, Canada and Australia. Subsequent seasons have received only a DVD release.
Multiple season sets
Multiple DVD sets received releases in the United Kingdom and Australia, with the first three-season being made available in 2014. Two subsequent sets containing seasons one to four and seasons one to five were released exclusively only in Australia.