CBS 2011-12 comedies, first impressions: Of 'Girls' and 'Gentleman'

2-broke-girls-cbs-320.jpgCBS has been the proud bastion of more-or-less traditional TV comedy over the past decade, and the two shows it's picked up for the coming season keep the line going.

Both "2 Broke Girls" and "How to Be a Gentleman" are multi-camera, live-audience shows, and though the characters are pretty different, they share a basic premise that goes way back as well: the mismatched, unlikely friends. Furthermore, they're each airing in fairly protected timeslots, with "Girls" following "How I Met Your Mother" on Monday nights and "Gentleman" airing after "The Big Bang Theory" on Thursdays.

Now all they have to do is be funny. Here are our first impressions of the network's new comedies.

"2 Broke Girls" (watch a preview)

Max ( Kat Dennings) is broke because that's just how it is; she's working multiple jobs, including as a waitress at a Brooklyn diner, just to get by. Caroline ( Beth Behrs) is broke because her Madoff-esque dad has caused her family's assets to be frozen, so now she needs a job at the diner. Heads are butted, reluctant bonds formed.

We've liked Dennings' work going back to "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and in the pilot she has a fantastic scene dressing down a couple of hipsters in the diner. She and Behrs also seem to have pretty good chemistry. We just hope the show can overcome the tendency to try a little too hard (a common malady among pilots, especially comedies) and let the characters and their relationship speak for themselves.

"How to Be a Gentleman" (watch a preview)

The odd couple (reference intended) in this case is prim-and-proper magazine etiquette columnist Andrew ( David Hornsby) and lunkhead personal trainer Bert ( Kevin Dillon). When new management tells Andrew to loosen up or else, he finds himself turning to Bert for advice on how to do that -- and tries to give Bert a little bit of refinement in the bargain.

A strong cast ( Dave Foley, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Rhys Darby and Nancy Lenehan) surrounds the two leads, but we didn't see a whole lot beyond the obvious snob-vs.-slob jokes in the trailer CBS showed advertisers. It feels like a decent fit behind "The Big Bang Theory," but it would do well to get a little more well-rounded.

Which of CBS' new comedies look good to you?
Photo/Video credit: CBS
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