2 Broke Girls Showrunner Michael Patrick King Had a Rough Day at the TCAs

There's a little thing going on right now called The Television Critics Association press tour, in which all the networks host panels about their shows in front of a live audience of some of the industry's professional television critics. The days are filled with Q&A; sessions, and the nights are filled with industry parties as the nets try and wring a good word out of those who critique TV shows for a living. (I've attended one in the past, and to be honest, they're pretty boring.)

But television critics can be jerks sometimes (just look at me!), and when you put a bunch of them in a room at the same time, they can become a downright angry mob. CBS (full disclosure: the network signs my paychecks) took a turn in front of the horde today, and one panel, 2 Broke Girls, got particularly testy this morning.

The critics played the role of the firing squad, and the man wearing the blindfold was 2 Broke Girls co-creator Michael Patrick King, who's best known for writing Sex and the City and directing its movie adaptations. The point of contention was the much written-about topic of ethnic stereotypes and dirty humor. For those who haven't seen the comedy, which debuted in the fall, two ladies work in a diner with a sex-crazed Eastern European line cook, an African-American cashier, and an Asian caricature for a boss. Also, the word "vagina" rolls off tongues a few times an episode.

After lobbing a few softballs, several critics took aim and fired off inqueries regarding the show's race-based humor and potty-mouthed one-liners, a line of questioning to which King took offense. "I think our jokes are classy dirty," King said, according to Vulture. "Highbrow lowbrow." There have been several accounts of King snapping at a reporter who asked whether CBS programming chief Nina Tassler requested "dimensionalizing" supporting characters, responding with: "I will call in you in five years and you will see if these characters are further fleshed out."


The whole thing unspooled on Twitter gloriously, with #awkward becoming a common hashtag as King became more flustered and puffed out. Later, King allegedly turned his back on and walked away from reporters who sought him out to ask additional post-session questions. "I came here thinking it was going to be a blast, about fun, not this skewed viewpoint," he said after the panel.

I'm not about to come to King's defense, as being subject to criticism is part of his job. But the last time I checked, 2 Broke Girls was a CBS comedy and not Charles Dickens. I wasn't in the room so I can't really editorialize on the situation, but it seems we can cut back on the venom a bit, considering 2 Broke Girls certainly isn't the only show with stereotypical supporting characters on TV right now.


More: Read Vulture's firsthand account of the matter


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Jan 13, 2012
As for the constant vagina jokes, that's basically the reason I watch the show. As for the stereotypical characters, King should have to answer the tough questions. Maybe this will actually make him change up his writing. Sorry, I have very little to no sympathy for rich Hollywood writers.
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Jan 13, 2012
Yes the show has stereotypical racial figures in it but why is that so bad. We all have to learn to laugh at ourselves and be less hypeer-sensitive. The show mocks poor white "trailer trash", and ex-rich white Caroline almost as much as it does Han and the chef dude. Is this show going to win any awards, no, but it is a fun, oft funny little slice o' tv.
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Jan 13, 2012
The show was ok when it started but its already getting stale.
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Jan 13, 2012
Your mom should just marry the CEO below. Then she wouldn't have to work.
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Jan 12, 2012
This is pretty sad. Good luck finding a woman on there who likes you and not your money LOL
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Jan 12, 2012
Boo f*#^&@$ hoo, King. Boo f*#^&@$ hoo.
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Jan 12, 2012
if one is unable to handle criticism than he/she should not meet with the critics.. it is not that they swore to his mother, they just pointed out the obvious.. running away from the reporters makes it even more hillarious, how old is he, like 10?
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Jan 12, 2012
I like the show, I don't love it though. It makes me smile and heck it even makes me chuckle at times, but it doesn't make me "lol" like other comedies out there right now. But that's ok, if you ask me it's actually slowly but surely getting better with the humor. Michael Patrick King just needs a thicker skin, why wasn't Whitney Cummings there? I don't really like her but she has balls. And I bet she'd tell all of those critics what to do with them!
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Jan 12, 2012
King comes off as thin-skinned in this article. When did interviewees get the idea that they're entitled to whiffe ball sessions? If you don't want to discuss communications between yourself and the head of programming, just say you don't want to discuss them. No need to throw a hissy fit over a line of questioning you didn't like. Who cares what critics think anyway? The most risible show (e.g., Friends) can become a "phenomenon" or even a "classic" if the ratings are high enough for a sustained period of time.
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Jan 12, 2012
I love 2 Broke Girls. That being said, I'm surprised that the show is the only one being targeted, when to a certain extent all tv show have stereotypes of some kind. As for the humor and jokes, just look at all the other comedies. Almost all of them have a certain raunchiness attached to them. The difference between each one of them, is that you can be crude and funny or just the complete opposite
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Jan 12, 2012
Trying to empathise...can I think of an impassioned plea against show-runner abuse? Nah, this definitely seems like karma to me.



As to all these posts glossing over ethnic-stereotype humour, shame on you. Why do you think people object to this humour - it's not because it's unfunny, it's because it's bigoted and offensive. In this day and age we must demand more from popular culture.
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Jan 12, 2012
- 2 Broke Girls is funny! I look forward to watching it every week. I don't understand what the big fuss is about. Virtually every comedy on TV has a certain amount of crudeness associated with it, at varying degrees. Sure, the stereotypes do provide some eye-rolling moments, but the overall package is a pretty decent one.

- I find shows like Whitney and now Work It ('Are You There, Chelsea?' will be joining the list soon enough), to be more offensive for being crude and completely devoid of humor, a combination that has no business insulting us with their presence on TV.

- This a classic example of how the actual show is better than the people that created it. Anybody can come up with an idea, but it's the execution of the idea that's important. Whitney Cummings gave us Whitney (the show) as well, which is at the pinnacle of television suckiness. That should tell you how 'involved' the creators Michael Patrick King & Whitney Cummings are in this show (2 Broke Girls).

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Jan 12, 2012
The "pinacle of television suckiness" Come on Crazy, that is sugar coating it a lot. I can't say that I agree with you about 2 broke girls. Mostly because I am just not into girls with low self esteems and constantly remind you how crappy she is. And that took a lot because I have genuinely enjoyed most of Kat Denning's roles in movies. Which were generally strong characters. But I never made it past the second episode. It could have gotten better. And it couldn't be as bad as Whitney.



But in my dismissing of 2 broke girls from my tv watching. I feel that their are shows that present crude humor. But it isn't necessarily all that they have. I felt at least in the first couple of episodes that is all it had. But I compared it to others that rely heavily on crude humor. Always Sunny, Archer, The league, South Park, several of the Comedy Central sitcoms.I felt they did it better. And it wasn't just from the same character and it was presented in a more intelligent manner in the way that it was written.



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Jan 12, 2012
I'll say this and then get out. CBS plays to the masses as is obvious by the shows they promote and keep. Procedurals and comedies designed specifically to accumulate the greatest viewership, and thus great financial advantage in ad sales.



It's the old adage: "You can please all of the people some of the time, or some of the people all of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."



CBS has chosen to please most of the people most of the time, which is why they have the highest viewership, but those people aren't the critics. They should be able to take what gets thrown at them in regards to their shows' quality from the "artistic" side of things. That said, the critics are smart enough know realize the above, as well, and shouldn't continually berate them for such an obviously conscious approach.
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Jan 12, 2012
I think this article summarizes it perfectly. 2 Broke Girls does have crude humour, but it's not alone, and it shouldn't be the only target getting assaulted.
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Jan 12, 2012
I also wasn't there, but those questions seem perfectly fair to me.
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Jan 12, 2012
2 Broke Girls is fun and often times hilarious. Sure all of the characters are stereotypes and a lot of the humor is vulgar, but that's just how life is sometimes.
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