A complete archive of The Medium is Not Enough’s reviews of TV programmes since 2005
In the US: Thursdays, 9.30/8.30c, CBS
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When it comes to sitcoms, it’s surprisingly easy and time-saving to judge a book by its cover – which is what I did with CBS’s new sitcom, Broke. Multi-camera show shot in front of an audience (or canned laughter)? Check. CBS? Check. Two disparate social groups set against one another? Check. Vehicle for a previous star of another show from the same network? Check.
Here, we have the 15-year veteran of CBS’s NCIS, Pauley Perrette, starring and producing in a show that sees her playing a single mum trying to raise her kid in her family home by working two jobs. The father, a member of a Van Halen cover band, is long gone and his child support cheques bounce.
Then, without warning, her sister (Another Period‘s Natasha Leggero) turns up on her doorstep with her über-rich Mexican-American husband (Jane the Virgin‘s Jaime Camil) and his personal assistant (Telenovela‘s Izzy Diaz), who want to stay with her for a while. While hating her sister, her fake accent and her newly acquired nouveau riche ways, Perrette is happy to see her – if only because of her money.
However, the title of the show gives the game away here – Camil’s broke.
The Good, the Broke and the Ugly
It’s certainly possible to read all of that, look at the publicity shots I’ve just used and come to the conclusion that you might prefer to blowtorch your own genitals than watch even one second of the sitcom you’ve already imagined in your mind.
Certainly, the first few minutes pre-title sequence are inauspicious. It doesn’t seem like either the cast or the director have read the script, judging by the way they deliver the lines, which often has no real relationship to how they’re written.
One moment we’re being told Leggero grew up in this family house and knows it intimately, the next she’s asking where the guest quarters are. Again, maybe if Leggero had delivered it differently, that might have worked as a putdown, but said deliberately, it just seems like the writers haven’t read their own scripts either.
Acres of mild class warfare later and you’d think that was all the show had to offer. But there are surprises to be had.Continue reading “Review: Broke 1×1 (US: CBS)”