Earlier this week AMC canceled a panel for The Killing at the Television Critics Association press tour. Ostensibly, the reason was “scheduling conflicts,” although everyone assumed the network feared a mob of rampaging critics, hurt and betrayed by The Killing’s non-ending, rising up as one autonomous being to wreak havoc in revenge. Looks like those critics might have just transferred their vitriol over to 2 Broke Girls?
Yesterday’s panel for the CBS sitcom, which featured cast members and co-creator Michael Patrick King, got intense quickly. As Alan Sepinwall reports, it all came down to whether or not the show was planning on veering away from what has horrified many viewers: The constant string of broad racist caricatures and jokes, aimed mostly at main characters’ Max and Caroline's co-workers at the diner. Earlier, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler had said: "First of all, I think that they're an equal opportunity offender. Everybody gets digs. The comment in our dialogue with Michael is, 'Yes, continue to dimensionalize, continue to get more specific, continue to build them out.’”
And then it was Kings's turn to answer. So, you’re planning on dimensionalizing, yeah? Er, no, not really! “I don't think the characters were one-note. I think the characters were the first note. The characters are dimensional, but they're shown in segments of 21 minutes, which limits the dimensions you can see. I will call you in five years, and you will have accrued enough time to figure out if these characters became fully fledged-out."
Wait, what? Five years? “Our main job is to take care of the girls. They are the engine, they are the heart, they are the soul and they are the acid. So we're always going to throw to them first The other characters will grow and grow and grow as they do with ensembles.” Right, yeah, but, isn’t it a bit of an issue. no? "I personally am thrilled with everything we're doing," King added.
The intrepid reporters pressed on. Really? None of the racial stereotypes are offensive? “I'm gay! I'm putting in gay stereotypes every week! I don't find it offensive, any of this. I find it comic to take everybody down, which is what we are doing."
And it just kept getting weirder. This exchange (via Sepinwall) definitely wins the day:
“Things took a particularly uncomfortable turn when the reporter who had initially asked about Tassler's comments again tried to get King to clarify his remarks, reading the exact quote from the transcript of Tassler's executive session.
King asked the reporter for his name. The reporter gave it.
'So you're Irish?' King asked.
'Yes,' the reporter replied.
'So we've identified your sexual problem.”
Seeing as 2 Broke Girls is the biggest comedy hit of the season and everything, King was probably expecting a breezy victory lap at TCA. He didn’t get it. He also never did quite break down and say he was interested in “dimensionalizing” anything. Despite the best efforts of a room full of heroically punchy critics -- for now, the future of 2 Broke Girls looks no less casually racist.