Press Tour: Is CBS' '2 Broke Girls' racist?
Whitney Cummings, who not only stars in her own NBC show "Whitney" but is also co-creator of "2 Broke Girls" with "Sex and the City" mastermind Michael Patrick King, has plenty on her plate. The latest, though, may not be her favorite dish. During TCA press tour, Cummings and King were asked about racial stereotypes in their new show.
"The regulars on our show -- Jonathan Kite, Matthew Moy and Garrett Morris -- as in every pilot that is 20 minutes long, you get just the beginning of the chocolate sampler of that candy that they will be," said King. "We love our regulars, Brooke Lyons and Noah Mills. We love everybody that's on the show."
When it was suggested that the diner in which Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) work was populated by "ethnic characters," King countered, "By ethnic characters, I'd say the hipsters... And Max is sort of the lord and ruler of that diner, so she's going to take everybody down, the hipsters, the immigrants, the girls, and most importantly, herself."
King pointed out that the show, which takes place in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, is simply representative of the real-life neighborhood. "It's a very mixed melting pot environment, Williamsburg, and we're interested in showing the difference between the cool hipsters [and the rest of the neighborhood]."
But when another journalist suggested that Han Lee (played by Matthew Moy) was at best stereotypical and had been called by others "words that start with R," King countered, "I would put that exactly in the same ballpark that I would put probably hipsters who are offended by it."
Cummings added, "Stuff that we've heard about this is not rooted in it reality. Again, we're not really -- we can't explore characters as much as we would like to in 20 minutes. The character is not dumb. He just moved to the country six months ago. He literally doesn't know the language. That doesn't mean he's dumb. In the subsequent episodes, we're going to see how smart he truly is.
"There's a comic sweetness to him that's an innocence, and the fact he's an immigrant from Korea is part of his character," King said. " But as I said, he will be as rounded as we can continually make him within a comedy vein.
Keeping on the subject of offensiveness, another reporter asked if a joke about Stephen Hawking (who suffers from the motor neuron disease ALS) would stay in the show.
"Yeah. I think it's funny," King shrugged "I'm sorry."