The TV critics’ press tour session for “2 Broke Girls” took a weird, tense turn Wednesday (Jan. 11) as critics repeatedly pressed showrunner Michael Patrick King about the portrayal of several supporting characters.
King, meanwhile, defended his show’s depiction of the characters, principally Asian diner owner Han (Matthew Moy).
“I like the fact that in the last three episodes we haven’t made an Asian joke. We’ve only made short jokes,” King said.
The dustup actually began in a session with CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler earlier Wednesday. A reporter asked her about what notes the network has given on “2 Broke Girls,” and Tassler responded that while she likes that King is an “equal opportunity offender,” she’s talked with him about “continu[ing] to dimensionalize, continue to get more specific, continue to build [the characters] out.”
When King was asked about those notes, he said this:
“It’s an interesting process because, if you talk about stereotypes, every character when it’s born is a stereotype. I mean, this show started with two stereotypes — a blonde and a brunette. And that implies certain stigmas as well, which we immediately tried to defuse and grow.
“And we happen to have Garrett Morris‘ character, who’s an African American. We’ve done an episode where he has a very personal experience, and you start to see the family showing up around all these characters. Every character on a series hopefully, if you have the journey that everybody would like to have on a series, which is time, you get to shade the characters so they become more and more rounded, a little bit more grounded. A short character like Han will always be referred to as short. There will always be short jokes, the way that Danny DeVito‘s character in ‘Taxi’ was a short guy. … That’s what comedy is. You point out the objective viewpoint of somebody else.”
The session got more testy from there (to the point where stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs were overjoyed to answer a question about Chestnut the horse), with King fielding questions about the show’s abundance of sex jokes (“I consider our jokes classy-dirty. I think they’re high-lowbrow”) and repeated queries about the way his minority characters are depicted.
“I’m gay. I’m putting in gay stereotypes every week. I don’t find it offensive, any of this,” King said at one point. “I find it comic to take everybody down. That’s what we’re doing. … Being a comedy writer gives you permission to be an outsider and poke fun at what people think about other people.”
What do you think? Does “2 Broke Girls” push the stereotyping of its characters too much? Or are you OK with it?