'2 Broke Girls' TCA Panel Grows Tense With Questions Over Racial Jokes
During "2 Broke Girls" panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, what was supposed to be a promotional event turned to be an ugly clash with TV reporters. The show's creator Michael Patrick King was involved in a tense argument with critics who kept pressing him with questions surrounding racial jokes on the comedy series.
" '2 Broke Girls' is broad and brash and very current," King claimed when the issue regarding racial and ethnic humor on his show was brought to discussion. "... and it takes place in Williamsburg, New York, which... is a complete mash-up of young, irreverent hipsters, old-school people, different nationalities, different ethnic backgrounds."
Prior to the panel, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler revealed that they have talked to King about adding "dimensionality" to the supporting characters. "First of all, I think that they're an equal opportunity offender. Everybody gets digs," she admitted.
"The comment in our dialogue with Michael is, 'Yes, continue to dimensionalize, continue to get more specific, continue to build them out'," Nina added. "But again, our track record shows we do know how to build comedy hits. We've done that with all of the comedies on the air, and will continue to do that."
However, King seemingly denied there has been such request by stating, "If you talk about stereotypes, every character, when it's born, is a stereotype: A blonde and a brunette, which has certain stigmas as well, which we've tried to defuse and grow." He went on saying every character would get shading with time, but insisted that "a short character like Han (a Korean immigrant who runs the diner where Max and Caroline work at) will always be referred to as short."
When a reporter referred to the diner characters as "one-note", King defended, "I don't think the characters were one-note. I think the characters were the first note." He added, "The characters are dimensional, but they're shown in segments of 21 minutes, which limits the dimensions you can see."
Several reporters tried to bring the conversation to different direction, but it kept returning to the issue of the ethnic stereotyping. Growing agitated, King stated he did not plan to stop featuring jokes about Han's ethnicity altogether. "I like Han and the fact that he's an immigrant," the "Sex and the City" creator said.
Another critic pressed him with a question about whether or not it's appropriate for him to be writing those jokes. "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," King replied.
Asked if being a member of one traditionally disenfranchised minority gives him a license to make fun of members of other disenfranchised minorities, King argued, "Being a comedy writer gives you permission to be an outsider and poke fun at what people think about other people."
One reporter also asked if King feels the need to reduce the use of references to female genitalia and a certain sex act. To this criticism, King responded, "I consider our jokes really classy-dirty. I think they're highbrow lowbrow - funny and sophisticated and naughty, and I think everybody likes a good naughty joke."
Despite the controversy regarding the racial and raunchy jokes on "2 Broke Girls", the new CBS comedy has got a big number of devotees. The show was recently named Favorite New TV Comedy at the 38th Annual People's Choice Awards which took place on Wednesday, January 11 night.
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