CBS at TCA: ‘2 Broke Girls,’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ highlights

How I found an ending?

There really is quite a bit that we could choose to talk about when it comes to the CBS TCA panel on Wednesday — from the network’s explanation for “The Talk” firing to Chuck Lorre’s hopes that he convince Ashton Kutcher back to “Two and a Half Men” for another year (even if it will likely cost him).

However, we’re going to narrow our focus instead to a show that is just starting its run (in “2 Broke Girls”) to one that is getting set to end (in “How I Met Your Mother”) — who both managed to accrue plenty of headlines for different reasons.

Is “2 Broke Girls” too offensive? – Despite the fact that series co-creator Michael Patrick King was ruthlessly grilled at TCA for whether or not his show is too offensive and stereotypical, it went on to with the People’s Choice Award for Best New TV Comedy. In other words, the people don’t care whatsoever about what critics think.

What critics seemed unwilling to admit during the TCA panel is that at its core, “Broke Girls” is a funny and promising young show despite its central issue. Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs have undeniable chemistry with each other on screen, and their scenes provide some belly laughs even when no one else is around. The show is also willing to take on a gritty subject — in poor America — that most others of its kind are not willing to touch.

But the critics are at least partially right — the show’s not necessarily offensive as a whole, but some of the characters are just too underdeveloped to the point they are stereotypical. Mr. Han is the clueless Asian immigrant trying to fit in to America, and Oleg is the shady Eastern-European slouch not really interested in working. While these two character did not have the benefit of a great start on the show, they do still have their redeeming qualities and can be fixed if the writers devote more time to them.

The most shocking thing of all is how critics seem so willing to jump on this show and laud another in “The Big Bang Theory,” who stereotypes a Jewish man living with his mother to no end. The only reason “Big Bang” has become effective is that they have given this character (in Howard Wolowitz) just enough quirks to make him somewhat distinct. “2 Broke Girls” shouldn’t cut out its edge (since that is part of the show) — just give the characters more of a reason to stand out, and they will be seen less as stereotypes and more as people.

How I Met … The End? – “How I Met Your Mother” could feasibly end after season 8, if for no other reason than that the show’s cast is only under contract until then. However, ratings for this season have been higher by a large margin — and more and more people seem to latching onto the star power of Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris.

What surprised people at the panel was not the show’s producers were thinking about the end so much as that they are currently thinking about what to do after the mother is found. Could they have another show about life with the mother? Sure, but it’s hard to think that you could get both Segel and Harris to stick around again.

What seems more likely (and was even brought up as a possibility) is a show that actually follows the journey of the mother beginning in 2005 until she ends up meeting Ted. The downside here is that pop-culture references could be hard to pull off — but you wouldn’t have to worry about casting the same cast as much, and you also have the added benefit of being able to allude to some other events from the “companion show.” The problem? If the show doesn’t run as many seasons, everyone will be both depressed and confused.

At most, it seems that “HIMYM” proper will last for nine seasons — even Segel suggested he would be open to seeing the show through now that there is a plan to wrap things up. We’ll probably know the show’s fate by the time season 8 kicks off, and then we can go from there.

The main thing executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas need to realize? That the final scene here should be Ted meeting the mother, as nothing else that follows really matters.

Photo: CBS

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