Broken review: Pauley Perrette’s new comedy on CBS couldn’t have had a worse timing

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How is it going? Probably not great, if you are like most of us. Things are pretty awful for just about everyone around the world, and not just because we are all hiding from an invisible microscopic terror that has claimed the lives of thousands of people and disrupted our lifestyles, but because the global economy is in tatters brute force of the pandemic that hangs the “indefinitely closed” signs from coast to coast. It’s been an unfortunate moment for CBS to release a comedy about the breakup. Worse it’s called Broken.

Broken Thursday, which for many people is the day after the day rents or mortgages are due despite the layoffs of their jobs or the collapse of their businesses because the global economic downturn has put money stable out of their control. This has left many of us with more time to watch TV (if we haven’t yet pledged our TV, let alone have a roof over our heads), but is this a comedy about people who have money problems we really want to see? Broken is anti-escape television when we need mental vacations the most; despite its multi-camera sitcom configuration too real ... then he adds a laugh track.

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This installation involves a hardworking bartender and a single mother Jackie (Pauley Perrette, in his first regular role since his departure NCIS) who is struggling to get by – his sealed laundry basket can’t even hold a load of laundry without opening, for heaven’s sake – when his excessively wealthy sister, Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), her husband, Javier (Jaime Camil), and his driver / assistant / maybe more, Luis (Izzy Diaz), unexpectedly drop by after Javier has lost all their money.

The cast is great. Perrette shows why she is so loved even if the role is a step forward NCISAb s Abby, an inspiration for girls to pursue STEM. Camil, who broke out in the United States on Jane the Virgin, continues his Rogelio masquerade with Latin flamboyance but perhaps even dumber this time. Leggero, a master roaster with a sharp tongue who has toured many television projects and who was perfect in Another period, plays the rich say to the extreme, launching a British affect and probably saying a lot “Dahhhhhling”. Diaz plays the straight man, who, ironically, is also incredibly gay. Inevitably and predictably, Javier’s last chance to get the money fails, so they implore Jackie to let them move in. Voila, you have a sitcom.

Pauley Perrette, Antonio Corbo, Natasha Leggero, Jaime Camil and Izzy Diaz, BrokePauley Perrette, Antonio Corbo, Natasha Leggero, Jaime Camil and Izzy Diaz, BrokeThis is reminiscent of the recent plague of the poor at NBC Indebted or countless other sitcoms in which the wealthy become the destitute, relying on financially thin family members to show them the ropes of being common and getting used to a life of wiping their own butts. To his credit, Broken at least recognizes in his pilot what Indebted no; that the serious consequences of losing a livable income are nil. Elizabeth de Leggero is sometimes struck by the reality of her situation and even sobs in a bathtub over her new financial ruin, while IndebtedThe bankrupt parents went to a Drake concert with scalped tickets as if nothing had really changed.

Then yes, Broken is better than Indebted, but it always puts the blinders to reality, even if it’s not necessarily his fault. Network comedies seeking public approval should always ignore the real issues and end the episodes with the message that family is more important than money because BrokenThe pilot does, but right now it has the unintended effect of being dishonest or like a rich person – say a toilet paper tycoon or a hand sanitizer heir – putting his hand on our lap and saying they know what we are getting through. The polite fairytale depiction of poverty that these sitcoms show doesn’t exist outside of the 42-inch screen we’re watching it on. Turn your head too far to the left or right and the real world despair is there in a pile of Top Ramen packaging and overdue bills.

“We are good people. Good people shouldn’t go bankrupt! Said Elizabeth at one point. It may have been a hopeful rallying cry when BrokenThe driver was originally written, but now it’s like that, and it doesn’t seem so funny anymore.

TV guide rating: 2/5

Broken aired Thursday at 9:30 a.m. / 8:30 a.m. on CBS.

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