22 January 2017 | horsebeaverfoxman
"Broke" is light and airy, but funny and progressive
The worst thing about this show is its poor IMDb page. One would think the producers would care enough to at least put all 11 episodes on the website!
But IMDb aside, "Broke" is a brisk, enjoyable show. Its wonderful 10-minute sitcom structure allows for brevity in its storytelling and focus on its core characters. Its all- black main cast is a breath of fresh air, and its broke-20-something angle is equally new and different. The Los Angeles location also allows for plenty of rich locations and bright backgrounds, and the amount of time these characters spend outside is a welcome departure from most network sitcoms on-air today.
Each episodes' stories are well-written and executed, with a series standout being "Passin' the Blunt." In the episode, Miloh mourns for her deceased great uncle while her two housemates get incredibly high from some strong marijuana. The writing is smart and concise, even if the three main characters aren't very well-rounded.
For a show about three college graduates trying to follow their dreams, it's never made clear why they want to follow THESE dreams. With the exception of Paul, we at least know what their dreams are (Paul is kind of an enigma, though). But why does Miloh want to be a writer? At least the finale attempts to answer why Mo wants to be an actor, but it's too little too late for the character. Even though the episodes are short, it's hard to get sucked into them when the stakes aren't very high, when we can't feel why it's important that these characters get on the right path.
Such poor motivation would work in any other show, but "Broke" is specifically ABOUT these people following their dreams, which makes it have to work harder to stray from the mold. While it stays in the typical sitcom format, it does hack out a new path for itself. For example, it's delightful to have (presumably) millennials working on the production -- when characters FaceTime one another, it's so comforting to see that the powers that be actually CARED about making it look like a realistic FaceTime call.
Production values are good all-around, save for a few bit locations, and the camera-work is mostly crisp, though with an aggressive surplus of camera shake. I know earthquakes are common in California, but it seems like all 11 episodes were shot during one long earthquake. The camera has no business being that jittery.
But all things considered, "Broke" is the sign of something really good coming from BuzzFeed Video. This show is not the best they can do, but it's a step in the right direction. And with all the garbage on YouTube Red, even above-average content like BuzzFeed Video's "Broke" has to be applauded.