Dear “2 Broke Girls”: Please Stop Making Us Hate Indie Music
Posted by Newson 09/20/2011 at 10:24 AM
The fact that sitcom 2 Broke Girls, which premiered last night on CBS, is actually one of the more acclaimed shows of the new TV season should tell you just about all you need ot know about the quality of the new TV season thusfar. Don’t believe the hype—the show is absolutely terrible, at least if the cartoonish, unfunny and hopelessly misinformed pilot is any indication. The characters are drawn in the broadest strokes possible, the jokes are mercilessly punchliney (“You may as well be one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s maids—she screwed you!”) and the characterization of the show’s Williamsburg setting as the grungiest, most dangerous part of New York…yikes.
The hardest thing for us to stomach about the show, though, is its treatment of indie rock. Being set in Williamsburg, 2 Broke Girls feels obligated to make lots of token references to hipsterdom, except it’s obvious that no one involved with the show has any experience with hipsters, or what kind of music they listen to. (Even Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, the frequently obnoxious indie-heavy flick in which series star Kat Dennings had her breakout role, had a much better idea about these things.) We already knew it was going to be tough from the show’s much-circulated preview, which featured waitress Dennings chastising a rude hipster customer for, among other things, his unnecessary knit hat. “I wear a knit hat when it’s cold out,” she snaps. “You wear knit hats because of Coldplay.” (“No one in Williamsburg has admitted to liking Coldplay in roughly seven years,” points out Business Insider in their aptly-titled article “This New CBS Show is Going to Make Everyone in America Hate Brooklyn.” We’d say it’s even longer.)
The full pilot continues along this trend. Early in the episode, Dennings comes home to find her jerk rocker boyfriend practicing with his band—except that they’re not playing any instruments, just listening to music they like (which just sounds like one bass note repeated over and over) and imagining themselves practicing. “It’s like The Secret!” one of them quips, because all hipsters are also members of the Oprah Book Club. Worse is later in the episode, when Dennings runs out of her diner in a huff, intentionally leaving the other waitress to serve the entire restaurant—just as The Arcade Fire concert from across the street lets out! This also makes sense, since The Arcade Fire are still a small indie band playing dingy Williamsburg clubs, and not hugely successful Grammy winners that sell out Madison Square Garden.
But the most unforgivable part of all isn’t a joke or character from the show—it’s one of the songs used in it. Peter, Bjorn & John’s “Second Chance,” a solid single from earlier this year, was already in danger of being overexposed thanks to its use in Bud Light Lime and SoBe Water commercials, as well as in Grey’s Anatomy promos, and now thanks to its overuse in 2 Broke Girls, we’re sure to despise it by the end of the year. Not only does the show use the song as its credits theme, it also uses it as its transition music, playing the song’s guitar riff or cowbell hook in between scenes like the slap bass in Seinfeld or the “meennnnnn” croon in Two and a Half Men. Following seemingly every terrible punchline in the show, the song threatens to forever tarnish Peter, Bjorn & John’s good name by its association to this mess of a TV sitcom.
It’s possible that things are so bad this TV season that compared to other new sitcoms that are even worse—we don’t want to mention any names, Whitney—2 Broke Girls will seem fresh and whip-smart, and perhaps even make it to a second season. But for the sake of our sanity, and what little credibility indie rock and Williamsburg have left with the mainstream populace, we’re praying for a swift and merciful cancellation—and also that FOX’s precarious The New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel and premiering tonight, doesn’t fall into quite as many of the same traps.
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