In 2011, CBS struck gold with 2 Broke Girls, a show about — you guessed it — two broke girls. The lively 20-something ladies, Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) spent most of the show’s six seasons struggling to make ends meet while working as servers at a diner in Brooklyn, New York. As the show progresses, the witty and often crass duo take a stab at being business owners and discover a way to potentially earn some serious dough — or, perhaps, batter is more likely. They started a cupcake franchise, you see.
While 2 Broke Girls was very much a sitcom — laugh track and all — it still managed to feel relatable by highlighting the very real recession of the time. The show also had not one, but two, female leads, and unapologetically skirted the boundaries of what was acceptable for prime time television. We all know that Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs made a phenomenal team, but here are some things you may not have known about 2 Broke Girls.
When it came time to pitch 2 Broke Girls to the various television networks, the goal was no different than every other show: to get picked up. While attracting the attention of one network is great, four is, naturally, even better. And, according to 2 Broke Girls’ co-creator Michael Patrick King, that’s exactly what happened. "There was interest from Fox, CBS and ABC. A bidding war [ensued]," he told The Hollywood Reporter.
That doesn’t mean every network liked the show as it was presented, however. Co-creator Whitney Cummings divulged some information to The Hollywood Reporter, saying, "I believe the feedback from Fox was, ‘Can it be two broke boys?’ So that didn’t work out." Really, Fox?
Nevertheless, King and Cummings stuck to their guns. "I didn’t see any hardworking 20-year-olds on television, and I especially didn’t see any hardworking female characters," said King, explaining why he wasn’t willing to budge on the characters. Thankfully, this commitment paid off. Nina Tassler, then entertainment chairman of CBS, knew 2 Broke Girls was something she just had to have.
Pushing boundaries was expected
When CBS picked up the show, Peter Roth, Warner Bros. Television group president, told The Hollywood Reporter he was "surprised" since the creators "really wanted to push the envelope." Apparently, CBS was down for the envelope-pushing nature that carried the show through its six-season run.
In the middle of the third season, Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs went on CBS This Morning to promote 2 Broke Girls. While Host Gayle King said she was a fan of the show, she also admitted, "There’s some times I’m listening and go, ‘Did they really say that on TV?’ Dennings and Behrs explained that they, too, have similar moments while going over their scripts.
"I feel like, now, the people that have been watching from the beginning kind of expect it so we sort of let them down if we’re not a little bit shocking," said Dennings, defending the raunchy nature of the show’s dialogue.
On- and off-screen chemistry
If you have to say wildly outrageous, overtly sexual, and borderline offensive lines, it’s probably at least less awkward to spout them out to your best friend. Luckily for Dennings and Behrs, they are as close in real life as they appeared to be on the show.
"Beth and I genuinely love each other and are best friends in real life and that probably reads," Dennings told Entertainment Tonight shortly before a 2 Broke Girls panel discussion. Dennings even credited their genuine friendship with helping the show become a success.
Behrs feels the same about her former costar, dubbing Dennings as her "bestie" and "bae" on Instagram. In one throwback photo, she even came up with a celebrity couple hashtag for the two of them — #BehrKat. Are they not the cutest? BehrKat’s love definitely rings true. Or, to put it 2 Broke Girls terms, these two are certainly not faking it.
Fake accents and stereotypes all around?
Although 2 Broke Girls had a sizable fan base, averaging 6.42 million total viewers in its fifth season, it would be remiss to ignore the fact that the show was often problematic. While the frequent lewd — and, yes, often hilarious — jokes were considered the riskiest part of the show, 2 Broke Girls took a much greater risk by relying heavily on stereotypes.
The New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum called the show "so racist it is less offensive than baffling." Yikes. But, she’s not wrong. In fact, three of the four supporting cast members — Jonathan Kite, Jennifer Coolidge, and Matthew May — are all actors playing people of different ethnic backgrounds, complete with phony accents. Not to mention Garrett Morris’ role as an elderly black cashier, who, as Nussbaum believes, "should sue for the limp gags he’s fed."
We can’t help but wonder: Would 2 Broke Girls have proved to be even more successful if it toned down the stereotyping?
An Emmy winner despite pretty awful reviews from critics
Emily Nussbaum wasn’t the only critic that took issue with 2 Broke Girls — far from it. Matthew Gilbert, TV critic for the Boston Globe compared the show’s constant jokes to "getting slapped across the cheeks repeatedly with a rubber ducky." A hilarious visual, to be sure, but not exactly what you want to hear if you’re involved in the show’s production. If that weren’t bad enough, Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter also dubbed 2 Broke Girls "the most disappointing new sitcom of the fall."
Even if King was able to avoid the critics’ reviews in the beginning, he eventually got wind of the criticisms about the show he co-created. After being questioned about the various problematic elements of 2 Broke Girls during a press tour, he became defensive, according to Uproxx, and told reporters, "I personally am thrilled with everything we’re doing."
No matter your feelings about the show, it’s obvious it was at least doing something right considering it was nominated for an Emmy some 12 times, and won once. Even viewership remained relatively high — right to the very end.
The sneaky way 2 Broke Girls got around FCC regulations
How did 2 Broke Girls get away with all their colorful commentary anyway? It was actually pretty ingenious. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a set of standards regarding what can — and cannot — be said on television. And that’s how we end up with words like "vajayjay," which was unintentionally popularized by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes after not being allowed to call the female reproductive organ by name on primetime television. In an interview with NPR, Rhimes dubbed the regulations "fences," but said those fences "make for very creative moments." The same could be said for 2 Broke Girls.
The Washington Post explained that the scripts of CBS’ incredibly popular sitcom contained references to basically everything sex-related — seriously, everything — but didn’t actually spell out the specifics for TV audiences. Instead, the writers used their skills to cleverly craft a ton of innuendo, thus skirting the rules.
That’s not to say viewers didn’t complain; they did. In fact, by its sixth season, the FCC garnered 91 formal complaints as a result of 2 Broke Girls. Worth it?
138 episodes later
Despite 2 Broke Girls having maintained decent ratings throughout the entirety of what would be its last season, CBS pulled the plug on their seasoned sitcom after 138 episodes. Head of scheduling for CBS, Kelly Kahl, explained to Deadline, saying, "2 Broke Girls was a really good show for us for a very long time. Our comedy development this year was very good… [and that] puts a lot of pressure on some of your older shows." Kahl said it simply felt like the right time to "create some space on the schedule" and try something new. So, instead of returning for a seventh season, 2 Broke Girls finished out with its sixth.
After it was announced that CBS would not be renewing their show, Dennings and Behrs released a joint statement on Twitter thanking their fans and credited the show with bringing them their "lifelong friendship." All the feels.
Wait, so we never get to meet Max’s mom?
It’s never fun when one of your favorite shows gets cancelled, but it’s even worse — way worse — when pieces of the plot are forever left in limbo. Throughout most of 2 Broke Girls, viewers were fed bits and pieces about Max’s estranged mother. We all assumed we’d get to meet her one day, right? Well, that was indeed the plan.
According to exclusive information obtained by TVLine, the creators of 2 Broke Girls were in the beginning stages of discussions with the woman they hoped would guest star as Max’s mama in Season 7. Of course, we now know this is never going to come to fruition. And, to add insult to injury, we even know with whom the creators were negotiating this deal: None other than the goddess of pop, Cher! Can’t you just picture it? This would’ve likely been a stellar episode for the show.
Where are the 2 broke girls now?
It’s been some time since we’ve seen either Kat Dennings or Beth Behrs on the small screen — since 2 Broke Girls was cancelled in 2017, to be exact. However, that hole in our lives will soon be filled again — yay! Before you get too excited, though, you should know they won’t be starring on the same show this time — boo! Nevertheless, Dennings has chosen ABC’s untitled comedy pilot based on the book How May We Hate You?, Deadline reported. She plays the female lead and serves as one of the producers. Go Kat!
Behrs will also be playing the female lead in a comedy pilot, only for Fox as opposed to ABC. The show is set to be called Our People and is based on the Israeli format Nevsu: A Young Multicultural Couple, according to Deadline. If all goes well, both real-life broke girls (well, for sure actually rich girls, right?) will get their pilots picked up by their respective networks and go on to have continued success. We can only hope Fox and ABC don’t air the comedies at the same time, because who could choose? #BehrKat for life.