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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Broke is a sitcom about a wealthy couple who are forced to move in with a financially struggling relative when their money evaporates. Though there is some infrequent off-color language ("crap," "ass," "balls") and a bit of goofy violence (like when a pair of sisters pelt each other with paper towels and water during an argument), the overall vibe is very sweet, with family members who love, support, and hang out with one another. One character, Javier, is openly appreciative of his wife, his assistant/friend Luis, and his young nephew, passing out praise and hugs at every opportunity. Sisters Jackie and Elizabeth sometimes argue and have had a contentious relationship in the past, but now see an opportunity to grow close again. Jackie works at a bar, so there are scenes with characters drinking and references to the effects of alcohol (though no one acts drunk). Elizabeth and Javier frequently kiss passionately, and Jackie is a single woman who sometimes feels lonely, so romance is part of her storyline. Jokes often revolve around how carelessly Javier and Elizabeth once spent money (for instance, they bought a Mayan pyramid), but Jackie's household is pretty threadbare, with broken appliances and inexpensive meals. Luis is a proud gay man who's accepted and respected by the other characters.
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What's the Story?
Divorced mom Jackie (Pauley Perrette) is BROKE, but doing her best to provide a solid and loving home for her young son, Sammy (Antonio Raul Corbo). Then her sister Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero) crashes in, with her wealthy husband, Javier (Jaime Camil), and his efficient and loyal assistant, Luis (Izzy Diaz). It seems that Javier's father has temporarily taken away his son's formerly limitless trust fund, and now the clueless rich couple is forced to move in with Jackie and Sammy until they can get back on their feet. Can a family that's allowed money to come between them find a way to love each other again and live together harmoniously?
Is It Any Good?
With its big broad jokes laced with sweetly sincere family love, this sitcom is built along classic network TV comedy lines, but its appealing cast makes it better than the sum of its parts. Pauley Perrette hasn't had a high-profile role since leaving NCIS, where her ponytailed goth Abby was both a STEM role model for young girls and a fan favorite. Jackie has a jet-black hairstyle and punkish vibe that will put Abby immediately in the mind of NCIS fans, though her single mom character is a little more grounded and a bit less fun than her breakout role. Jane the Virgin viewers will also recognize Camil's flamboyant yet clueless shtick as a riff on Jane's fan-favorite Rogelio. Izzy Diaz is also doing heavy emotional lifting as Javier's valet, who laces his loyal servitude with a hefty hunk of love for his employer who, he says, looks at everyone as if they're already the best version of themselves.
It's that sweet vibe that gives Broke its quirky charm. Particularly in trying economic times, a story about the newly poor crashing with a family already struggling could come off as sour and a big bummer (see: Indebted). But Javier's optimistic outlook brings a touch of lightness to the proceedings. Despite his financial fall, he says he's still married to the love of his life, and now that he's moved in with his sister-in-law, he's thrilled for the chance to get to know his nephew better. For his part, young Sammy is just delighted that his family has expanded, and loves that his formerly too-quiet home is now loud, chaotic, and humming with hijinks. It's all sitcom-fake, of course, but darned if it doesn't come off as tender and sincere. You've seen shows like Broke before and know where every plotline and joke is headed -- but somehow the actors make you care more about these paper-thin characters than you'd expect.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether the relationships on Broke seem realistic. Do they talk like real people? Do they act like them? Can you think of any shows that depict family relationships in a way that rings authentic to you?
Media critics often divide TV shows into "multi-camera" (usually filmed in front of a live studio audience on a set as if the show were a play) and "single-camera" (filmed more like a feature film, with scenes taking place outside of a set). Think about some of your favorite shows: Are they single- or multi-camera? Which do you prefer? Broke is a multi-camera show -- does it look and feel like one? What do you like, or dislike, about the format?
Have you seen any of the actors in Broke in other shows or movies? Does that affect how you view them in this series? Explain.
- Premiere date: April 2, 2020
- Cast: Jaime Camil, Izzy Diaz, Antonio Raul Corbo
- Network: CBS
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: October 13, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
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Jane the Virgin
Quirky telenovela-style dramedy gets steamy.
For kids who love sitcoms
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