Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, February 03, 2012

I'll take TV Waitresses for 200,Alex!

One of the things that I like(and others don't)about 2 Broke Girls is the diner setting of the show. While it may be an all too typical premise for working class women on TV,it's a tried and true formula for a reason,folks.

Whether it's a diner,a luncheonette or part of a casual dining franchise,placing your characters in an environment that allows for a variety of people to interact with tends to be a winning recipe for juicy jokes:

Of course,Max and Caroline have some catching up to do in order to fill the shoes of those funny food servers who went before them. A classic example from the mid 1970s is Alice,based on the movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

While some never saw that film,they did know hard working Alice ditsy,Vera and especially Flo who invited troublemakers to kiss her grits. Mel's Diner was the central hub of the series and Linda Lavin as Alice was the gravy that held this wacky stew of a crew together:

Another show from that time period that had a prominent waitress character was What's Happening!!,which also happened to be somewhat based on a theatrical feature called Cooley High . The trio of teenage leads of the series often stopped at the local soda shop for burgers and a side of snark from Shirley(played by Shirley Hemphill).

She was mostly a small supporting player at first,but as time went,Shirley became an integral member of the cast who at one point moved in with Rog and his sister Dee(due to the departure of Mabel King,who played their mother). Shirley's sass and dependability wasn't always appreciated by everyone yet doing without her was hard to even consider:

Funny how a lot of these shows seem to crop up during the mid point or end of a decade;Roseanne showcased a good number of working man blues as it's leading lady went from assembly line employee to owner of her own business. One of those stops along the way was as a waitress at the mini eatery situated in Rodbell's,the major department store in their area.

Roseanne's experiences there lead to her opening up a diner a few seasons later but when she first started out,things weren't so rosy.By keeping her usual attitude about dealing with daily annoyances and enjoying such perks as goofing with her kids in public,Roseanne made it work,as Tim Gunn would say:

True to form,the most recent TV waitress to make her mark comes from The Big Bang Theory,which debuted in 2007.

Penny(Kaley Cuoco)not only has the dubious pleasure of living across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard but the daunting delight of taking their orders at The Cheesecake Factory as well.

While her real goal is to be an actress,Penny seems to have more staying power at her waitress job,which occasionally gives her bartending duties at times. In one way,that's actually good since that position gives Penny more room to expand her irritation levels with Sheldon and friends:

How well 2 Broke Girls will keep up with their sitcom predecessors is yet to be seen but even if the show only goes so far,the need for waitresses on TV will never truly go out of style. Eating establishments are a main course on the menu of beloved TV series memories and no matter what,they're always open for business with a side order of laughs for lunch:

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