Whitney and Michael are real forces in the industry, have any of you worked together previously?
KAT DENNINGS: Yes. I actually was on an episode of "Sex and the City" when I was maybe just 14. And...
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: Tell them who you played.
KAT DENNINGS: I played Jenny Brier in the episode called...
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: The blow job bar mitzvah girl. Classic!
KAT DENNINGS: In the episode called "Hot Child in the City." It changed my life. I was a homeschooled kid living in the forest, and I didn't even have cable. I'm serious. So all my little homeschool friends and their mums saw Kyle MacLachlan's backside. It was pretty incredible.
BETH BEHRS: I was also a huge fan of "Sex and the City." My parents wouldn't let me watch it, but I had a friend who had HBO, so I would go watch it at her house. And I also loved Whitney on "Chelsea Lately" and "Punk'd." So I was totally excited to be working with both of them.
Kat, it seems as a child you didn't watch much TV. What made you become an actress?
KAT DENNINGS: Part of the reason why I relate to this show so much is because we didn't have any money when I was growing up, and I used to get all my films from the library. My mum would get me classic movies and stuff. And I actually wasn't allowed to watch TV as a kid except for, like, PBS, "Sesame Street"
WHITNEY CUMMINGS: But you were allowed to give blow jobs on "Sex and the City."
KAT DENNINGS: I didn't
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: She said it changed her life.
KAT DENNINGS: You want to hear something amazing?
WHITNEY CUMMINGS: It's got to be inconsistent.
KAT DENNINGS: Do you remember when I asked Kim Cattrall what that meant.
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: And then she asked me what it meant.
WHITNEY CUMMINGS: No, she showed you what it meant.
Where was it that you grew up Kat? And given that kind of background, why did you become an actress?
KAT DENNINGS: I grew up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. My dad's a scientist, and my mum's a speech therapist. I would watch these films and I just took that "little kid wanting to be a movie star" thing way too far and actually ended up...
WHITNEY CUMMINGS: Doing it?
KAT DENNINGS: Doing it, yes. My brother's friend, from karate was on "Pete & Pete" sometimes. And I met his manager, she sent me to auditions in Philadelphia and then in New York. From there I started getting commercials, and then when I got "Sex and the City," it just changed the things I was able to secure. And then I eventually moved out here and somehow wound up on "2 Broke Girls."
Michael and Whitney, can you tell us a little bit about the creative process and how it's been working together?
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: Whitney created the show with me. She's not just an executive consultant, which sounds like she's going to tell me what time the plane is landing.
When I thought of doing a show called "2 Broke Girls", I wanted it to be as contemporary and as edgy as I believe two broke girls would be today if they were living in Williamsburg. So the first person I was looking for was a really smart, funny writer with a really hard comedy edge. And so I did my, quote/unquote, Scarlett O'Hara search for the female writer that had what I needed. A lot of great writers were there, but really no one had everything that Whitney has, which is she's smart, she's incredibly ambitious, has great discipline, thinks like a writer and writes really hard jokes like a standup. Also, because the aim was to film it in front of a live audience, it was really important to both Whitney and I that we had jokes that made an audience laugh.
What we're trying to do is give a contemporary audience, and people who have a contemporary thought even if they're not in their 20s, something fun to watch with a little bit of a heart.
Michael and Whitney, when creating the series, just how much did the ‘Bernie Madoff Ponzi' scheme influence the concept?
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: You know, when you're thinking of ideas, as a writer you're affected by what's going on in the world. And I thought the captivating thing about somebody with a lot of money and losing all their money was interesting. And somebody whose life was supposed to go a certain way and then suddenly implodes in also interesting. So that financial scandal in New York, whilst it wasn't specifically the only financial scandal at the time, was one that certainly made a dent in everybody's minds. From there, we just came up with the idea of two opposites. Then we just looked to life to let us figure out who these opposites could really be.
WHITNEY CUMMINGS: I think in general it was something that interested me, and interests a lot of people. I feel often television doesn't represent reality in a lot of ways. I think the economy taking a hit, even if you haven't lost hundreds of millions of dollars within the past five or so years, a lot of people have lost some. So I think that's something that's really relatable about Caroline, because we've all sort of been going through that.
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: And we also really liked the scary dynamic of actually talking about money on TV because there's rarely any sitcoms where they actually say how much something costs, including their rent. We wanted to actually try to do a show where people deal with rent and numbers and see the numbers.
WHITNEY CUMMINGS: You never see that. In most sitcoms it's like someone works at a coffee shop and they live in a huge, gorgeous New York brownstone and are wearing Versace clothes. How they've achieved this is never acknowledged.
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: The two girls in "2 Broke Girls" come together with the irreverent sort of spicy, outrageous, contemporary edge that girls who are 23 living in Williamsburg have. Max, who has never had the moment of luxury to dream anything except going to work the next day, and Caroline, who has had only the luxury of all her dreams coming true.
Michael, was this in any way a response to the many, many people who kept asking how Carrie Bradshaw could afford that place, writing one column a week?
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: Well, you know, Carrie Bradshaw was a very unique character in that Sex in the City show and this show has a completely different DNA. Everybody is saying right now that there are so many girl shows, like they're all the same show. Whenever there's a character in a book who is female, they call it ‘chick lit'. I was like, "Well, '2 Broke Girls' is like the evil twin of ‘chick lit'."
I mean, that was a show that had a romantic comedy edge. We played with reality, fantasy because it was about emotions and style and girls in their thirties. And I know a lot of girls in their thirties in New York who are very clever, who have no money and are suddenly always someplace, dressed nice. So that was the little bit of a cheat on that show. Carrie Bradshaw and her closet were Narnia, the "Sex and the City" girls had relationship checklists. These girls barely have checks. It's like a completely different DNA.
Whitney, what's it like to be writing with Michael Patrick King?
WHITNEY CUMMINGS: It's still surreal to be working with him every day. When "Sex and the City" went off air, I felt like there was such a void left for women because "Sex and the City" was, like, a religious experience for me. So I wanted to, with my standup, pick up where "Sex and the City" left off. I always thought ‘what would Michael Patrick King be talking about now?' So I remember getting a call that Michael was meeting with some people, and the first thing I thought wasn't "Maybe I should prepare some ideas for this." It was "What am I going to wear?" So I went and bought $800 Christian Louboutin shoes, which I was planning on returning the next day, but I sweated through them so I couldn't. I was so nervous and made a complete idiot of myself.
Kat, with your movie career really taking off, why did you decide to undertake a weekly series now?
KAT DENNINGS: Things were actually picking up, and I was getting really exciting things, "Thor" was just coming out, and I was doing really interesting projects. It got to a point where I have done so many small films, have worked really, really hard, and some just disappear. Four months of your life never get seen, and you start to feel kind of tired. I had just finished the most intense shoot of my life when this fell into my lap, literally, right at the moment I was feeling, "What I do now? I can't do another one of these for a really long time." I want to do something where people will definitely see it, because I'm a hard worker.
I hadn't thought about doing TV. It wasn't something I had intended to do, but when this came up and Whitney and Michael were involved and given that Michael gave me my first sort of big job, it almost seemed like a gift. I'm just really lucky that this came along.
MICHAEL PATRICK KING: We're so thrilled to have Kat because she represents something that was very important to us. She has an authenticity that speaks to a certain generation. She is their outsider girl, there's nothing false in Kat Dennings as an actress, so it makes all the comedy seem more real.