Parents' Guide to

Broke

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Sweet vibe and great actors elevate predictable sitcom.

TV CBS Comedy 2020
Broke Poster Image

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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.

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