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In what became one of the most acrimonious panels in Television Critics Association history, 2 Broke Girls co-creator Michael Patrick King defended the range of jokes on his breakout comedy.
The back and forth between King and a confrontational press corp. came some two hours after CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler defended what many have described as racist and otherwise offensive jokes by calling the freshman sitcom an “equal opportunity offender.” When pressed, she acknowledged that she has had conversations with King about further “dimensionalizing” the show’s secondary characters, including the Asian immigrant character Han Lee.
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King then used the winter press tour platform, which he later said he had hoped would “be fun” but wasn’t, to defend the choices he’s made as the show’s executive producer. “I consider our jokes really classy dirty. I think they’re high lowbrow,” he said, quickly moving from Girls cheerleader to Girls defender over the course of the 30 minute panel.
He continued, “I think they’re fun, sophisticated and naughty, and everybody likes a good naughty joke. I also think that if the show only existed in naughty jokes without pathos, I would not be happy. So I see no need to pull away from the brand of 2 Broke Girls, which is basically in-your-face girls.”
King, whose other credits include Murphy Brown and Sex and the City, went on to explain that his hope and plan is to have the opportunity to “shade the characters” to make them more rounded and grounded in time, but suggested that being a comedy writer gives him “permission to be an outsider and poke fun at what people think about other people.”
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In denying the overuse of stereotypes, he attempted a more personal route. “I’m gay,” he said, noting that he doesn’t get offended by the show’s gay jokes. To the contrary, King said that he finds it “comic to take everybody down,” and that the current era in broadcast television allows him to do so.
“It’s 8:30 on Monday on CBS in 2012. It’s a very different world than 8:30 on Monday on CBS in 1994,” he explained, adding: “I think that our show is a big ballsy comedy, but it has a bigger heart than it has balls.”
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