After the smashing first season of 2 Broke Girls, the new rule for rival shows might just become: If it ain’t Broke, fix it. As in, make the characters as funny and real as Max and Caroline, the financially challenged duo played so expertly by Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs. Make the humor as hard and heartfelt as in co-creator Michael Patrick King’s Sex and the City, with dialogue that dirty-dances right up to the line and often crosses it. And most of all, make it really, really successful—say, prime time’s No. 1 new comedy. Fresh off all of the above, Kat and Beth grabbed their favorite plus-ones, hopped a plane to Milan and sat down with Watch! at Four Seasons Hotel Milano to talk about the Broke Girls’ big break.
Viva Italia. Has either of you been here before?
Beth Behrs: Never! Neither of us has ever been to Europe. We’re going to Paris tomorrow and then I’m going to Madrid and she’s staying in Paris longer. We’re superexcited.
Kat Dennings: This is European Vacation.
How about a quick highlight reel so far?
Kat: I’m telling you, that osso bucco last night ruined my life.
Beth: It was sooo rich.
Kat: I told my boyfriend, “I’m actually going to die, I think. I should go to the hospital.” My heart was racing, I could feel the fat cells being born. I was like, “This is the end.”
Beth: It was very decadent, but it was worth it!
Kat: Veal. Risotto. Butter. Cheese. Bone marrow. I ate so much. It took five years off my life.
Today’s photo shoot—was it different from other ones you’ve done?
Kat: It was very high fashion.
Kat: A lot of looks. Probably the most looks I’ve ever done. They tamed the shrew that is my hair.
Beth: I love that you have more of everything. Boobs, hair …
Kat: Nose …
Beth: And I just have less. You’ve got the boobs and the hair that I want, and I just have the less of it all.
Kat: I have more skin. I would trade bodies in a second.
Beth: But we have boyfriends who like our less and more. We’re doing fine in the boyfriend department.
Kat: We’re doing great. They love us.
Other than eating, what else have you all been doing in Milan?
Kat: I realized last night that when I’m drunk I become the Anchorman. Why do I do that?
Beth: I don’t know, but I quite enjoy when you become the Anchorman. Who do I become?
Kat: You were so adorable! You were you.
Beth: Oh, man. Do I become Julie Andrews but, like, intoxicated? “Allo there!”
Kat: Were you drunk?
Beth: A little bit.
Kat: I just started drinking recently.
Drinking for the first time in your life?
Kat: I’ve been drunk before, but like twice a year maybe. I like wine and beer—no liquor ever.
Beth: I like wine or scotch.
Kat: I didn’t drink for so long that it takes no time to get me wasted. Shwasted.
Why didn’t you drink?
Kat: I just never wanted to. I was very against it. I still don’t think it’s a good idea to get superwasted on anything.
Beth: If you were drunk last night, you held it well because I wouldn’t have been able to tell.
Kat: I was red! I was like, flushed!
2 Broke Girls can get pretty risqué.
Kat: Sometimes I can’t believe it.
Beth: The little Jewish boys episode! When the little Hasidic boy said, “How are you going to say anything with your mouth full,” we did a bunch of alternate takes that were cleaner, and that’s the joke that made it in! There was also a joke I had at the beginning of the season: “It’ll be nice to have my wad in his face for a change.”
Kat: They changed “mouth” to “face.” Remember? Face is actually more aggressive!
Beth: And dirty!
And they let you say that?
Beth: That’s what’s exciting to me. Kat and I get to do something that girls have never gotten to do on TV. That’s so cool, Kat! That’s something we get to tell our grandkids, like, “Dude, we were different and changed what we could say on television.” That’s crazy. Kat, what’s the dirtiest thing you’ve ever said on the show?
Kat: It was when we were trying to out-Oleg Oleg and we had to say the most dirty things. I don’t say dirty stuff. I swear all the time, but … not in a sexual way.
Beth: She’s not Max in real life. She’s very demure, poised.
Kat: Jewish nunlike! I don’t do sexual stuff, jokes-wise. I’m straight-laced and you’re more of a wild child.
Beth: We’re the opposite from the show in terms of jokes. I’m dirtier with jokes. But in real life we’re both pretty nun-ish. A hot night is drinking a bottle of wine and watching a movie at our boyfriends’.
Kat, do people ever come up and start talking to you like a sailor?
Kat: I would be like, “Please step away, sir!”
Beth: “We’re calling security, sir. Don’t say vagina in my presence.”
Does the humor ever offend your parents?
Kat: Knowing your kids are making money at our age and working hard is rewarding for them. [Laughs.] And, you know, at least we’re not prostitutes.
Beth: It is Hollywood, though. Did you know back in the day that actors were on the same level of prostitutes?
Who’s the best person to confess their 2 Broke Girls fandom so far?
Beth: We had Amy Poehler tell us that she liked the show, and that was pretty crazy. Someone said Hasidic Jews loved that episode. Their friends were Hasidic Jews and thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.
Kat: They were very respectful of the religion.
Beth: The thing about our show is, when we are pushing the boundaries, it’s always coming from a real character place. The writers are so good; they never do it just merely for shock value because that wouldn’t be interesting. And I think sometimes people aren’t watching it well enough or just don’t recognize that.
Agreed. The criticism about stereotyping is pretty silly.
Kat: A racist show would have only white characters. That’s what a racist show is: pretending others don’t exist. We’re doing the complete opposite of that.
Beth: Also, it’s a half-hour, and it’s called 2 Broke Girls! So, with a half-hour show you can’t flesh out everyone in the first season.
Kat: Friends went forever and you know those characters in and out, but it took a long time.
Beth: On Will & Grace, Megan Mullally’s voice, like [high-pitched] “Hi, honey” didn’t even come until the end of the first season. You have to grow as a show, you know? Haters be hatin’.
Kat: Haters gonna hate.
Boom, well played. In the show’s pilot, Kat’s boyfriend makes moves on Beth. Would that ever happen in real life?
Kat: We’re both in committed, loving relationships, but we have completely opposite types anyway. I mean, I don’t really have a type. But you like a certain type, Beth, and it’s not a type I would like.
Beth: I’ve always liked men who are over 6 feet tall, burly, and could engulf you in a bear hug.
Kat: She likes bears.
Beth: Beth Behrs likes bears. There’s your headline! [Laughs.] In college, I dated not-bears. It’s a recent tradition.
Where do you see the show going from here?
Kat: I hope the girls get their cupcake business.
Beth: I’d like to see them start the business. It’d be cool if in a couple seasons we actually started our own bakery. Or bought the diner and made that the bakery.
Kat: I think the no-expectations rule is what to apply. I always kind of expect the worst of everything and then I’m like, “Heeeeeeey.”
Truth time. When are you going to get it over with and just make out?
Kat: We’ve already done it! They cut it out.
Beth: We kissed! The hoarder episode.
Kat: We run into Johnny [played by co-star Nick Zano] and his girlfriend on the street and I kiss him, I kiss her, and then I turn around and I kiss Caroline. But they cut it out! They said, “We’re going to save the kiss for something special and not just do it offhand like that.” And we’re like, “Oh, great.” So I wouldn’t rule anything out. [Laughs.] Maybe, at the end, we’ll get married.
Originally published in Watch! magazine, August 2012