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'2 Broke Girls': Promising series nailed twentysomething poverty. NYC, not so much.

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2 Broke Girls
Richard Cartwright/CBS

After the chock-full-of-surprises season premiere of How I Met Your Mother and the hyped debut of Ashton Kutcher on Two and a Half Men, CBS rolled out its brand-new Monday night sitcom, 2 Broke Girls, an odd couple tale as old as time… with a young, hip twist.

The influence of creators Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City) and Whitney Cummings (Whitney) was felt throughout last night’s show, in which a sassy Brooklyn waitress named Max (Kat Dennings, channeling her sassy New York-savvy Nick and Norah character) meets a prissy socialite named Caroline (Beth Behrs) who has fallen on hard times and begins working at her restaurant (and subsequently becomes her roommate).

The pilot for the series, which was named one of the EW’s most anticipated Fall TV shows, managed to both feel comfortably familiar (mismatched pals living and working in New York, quirky supporting characters like Earl the cashier and Ryce the manager, that laugh track) and boundary-pushing. (Thanks to King and Cummings’ touch, jokes about questionable white stains on clothing and the line “That’s the sound of my vagina drying up” made the final cut.)

The show, however, doesn’t seem sure sure of what it wants to be just yet. Even its representation of New York City felt uneven. While it accurately portrayed young urban dwellers in the Big Apple who work multiple jobs to stay in their crummy apartments, it still reinforced old NYC stereotypes: Who in the city ever worries anymore that you’re going to get tasered and robbed wherever you go? Still, 2 Broke Girls has some serious potential, thanks largely in part to Dennings, who can play jaded and quick-witted like the best of them, and Behrs, who could have made her character come off as a whiny brat, but instead turned her into a likable and equally-down-on-her-luck gal. (When Max’s hot, but scummy, boyfriend hits on Caroline, she turns him down in a most excellent way in one particularly good scene from the pilot.)

My tip for the waitress-centric show: 2 Broke Girls will do pretty well for itself if it relies more on the chemistry between Dennings and Behrs, rather than serving up predictable sitcom clichés.

What did you think of 2 Broke Girls, PopWatchers? Were you hoping for less of a standard sitcom set-up or did it feel young and fresh to you? Did Dennings draw you on or do you want to see where Behr’s storyline goes? Share in the comments section below.

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