Earlier this year, I eagerly anticipated the premiere of a new CBS sitcom, Broke. I was a Pauley Perrette fan, having enjoyed her character, Abby Sciuto, on NCIS over the years, and I looked forward to watching her play an entirely new character in a different television genre.
I loved Broke upon watching its premiere; I surprised myself with how quickly I became attached to it. It was the characters’ personalities and dynamics that I was attracted to most. When I heard the series was to be cancelled, I was deeply saddened by the news. I had hoped Broke would be on TV for several more seasons, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
The Things I’ll Miss
Javier (Jaime Camil) was my favorite character. He was silly, happy, and always upbeat. He always seemed to know what to do and say to ease a situation. He kept up his optimism even when things were bleak. He especially used this quality to help his wife Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero) feel better about their situation: they had lost their money and sought a home with Elizabeth’s estranged sister Jackie (Pauley Perrette) and her son Sammy (Antonio Raul Corbo) in Reseda.
Javier’s disposition and outlook on life, even when everything he knew was stripped away from him by his father (who wanted to teach his son a lesson), is impressive. I imagine most people in his position would be freaking out, begging for their money back, or completely knocked down and unwilling to get up—it depends on their circumstances. Instead, Javier decides to prove to his father that he is learning his lesson (often he thinks he is, but in reality, not so much). Javier embraces his new life as though it is an adventure and not a misfortune, and that’s something I truly admire about him. Nothing can knock him down—he just wears a bigger smile.
Javier genuinely wants to learn the lesson his father is teaching, but he also wants his money returned to him and his wife. He wants to provide for his wife, and he wants to be able to do good things for his sister-in-law Jackie and his nephew Sammy, with whom he’s developed something akin to a father-son bond. He goes the distance to do the right thing, regardless of convenience or his own feelings about whatever the subject may be. He’s truly an inspiration—he may not be the hardest of workers, but he’s a genuine and kind-hearted human being with a beautiful perspective on life, whether that life is triumphant, difficult, or in-between. As Luis once remarked, Javier “sees you the way you wish you saw yourself. He sees the best version of you.” This, along with his ability to always see the bright side of everything, are both remarkable qualities.
I also love Javier and Elizabeth’s relationship; they really are soulmates. Elizabeth dearly loves him, whether he has money or not. Instead of drifting apart or splitting up, losing their money only unites the couple, making them stronger as they lean on one another and come up with ways to adapt to their new lifestyle as one. As long as they have each other, they’re good—which Elizabeth herself stated in the Broke series finale.
Other than Javier, I’ll miss watching the dynamic taking place between the two sisters, Jackie and Elizabeth. The differences between siblings never cease to amaze me. Though raised in the same household, sometimes I come across siblings that couldn’t be more opposite—myself and my sibling included.
It’s not a bad thing; in fact, I find it quite interesting to see the dynamic between polar-opposite siblings and how it plays out. It makes for funny moments, especially in the sitcom setting as is the case with Jackie and Elizabeth.
Their tastes in men, lifestyles, and clothing are wildly different, but though they are dissimilar and estranged, it doesn’t take long for the two to connect again. For example, they uncover an affair of their mother’s from years before, and Jackie tries to help Elizabeth reconnect with their father, who is currently in prison. They even have a nostalgic “tub talk” in the pilot episode, like they used to when they were younger. Where it counts, the two are there for one another. In the series finale, Jackie appears angry when she learns Elizabeth and Javier will be moving out, but it’s a mask: she’s saddened by the news, surprising herself by having enjoyed their company for the past six months and already missing them before they’ve even left.
It’s easy to see that Elizabeth and Javier’s presence, alongside their assistant Luis (Izzy Diaz), has bettered Sammy and Jackie’s lives, and vice versa. Though they lost their money and wealthy lifestyle, Elizabeth and Javier found wealth in having their family around again, finally forming a connection with Sammy (Javier more so), and Elizabeth getting the chance to reconnect with her sister. In turn, Jackie is no longer alone in raising Sammy, and Sammy gets to know his relatives better, plus he received a father figure in Javier.
The sisters’ dynamic is just the tip of the iceberg in this sitcom, as there are so many to choose from. However, considering their separate personalities, their clashes and misunderstandings were that much funnier, and therefore, my favorite.
It kills me that Broke was cut off so soon, and this is one of the reasons why: the series finale left audiences with several cliffhangers—cliffhangers with answers that will never see the light of day.
A helicopter landed in the backyard of the characters’ home, and not long after it lands, the episode ends. It’s confirmed that it was Javier’s father, though he’s not shown. I have to know: what did his father come for? Why that moment? And who would have played Javier’s father? Was he prepared to give Javier and Elizabeth their money back, or did he come to commend them on their progress thus far? Was it possible he was there to critique them? Did he just come for a visit, or did he plan to stay and assess them and their progress in person? Would he never have returned their money, thinking they hadn’t learned their lesson? Would he see that they were doing fine without their funds? How would that have affected their new life, and Sammy and Jackie by extension?
That’s the cliffhanger that bugs me the most. Yet, this one runs a close second: Jackie was making out with her ex-husband, Barry (Kyle Bornheimer), who is Sammy’s father. When their cover was blown, Jackie claimed that it wasn’t what it looked like…but it totally was. How did that come to fruition? Jackie and Barry shared a nostalgic moment earlier in the series finale where they reminisced on the day Sammy was born—did they get caught up in memories and, by extension, old feelings? Were they truly reconnecting, or was it a heat-of-the-moment type thing? Sammy witnessed it, so how would he have felt about his parents after that? It certainly would’ve posed problems if he began to wonder if his parents were getting back together and then potentially didn’t. How would Jackie and Barry have explained themselves? All these things we’ll never know.
Last but not least, I wanted to know how Sammy’s party turned out. Jackie had planned a special birthday bash, wanting his birthday to be perfect, but it’s ruined when a criminal smashes through the establishment the party was to be held at and Jackie has to quickly come up with an alternative. Everyone pitches in to save the day and have the party in the backyard of their home, which was interrupted by Javier’s father’s helicopter landing. Did Sammy get a good birthday party after everything?
I can only guess as to why Broke was cancelled too soon. I thought it had the potential for more than just 13 episodes, so all I can do is enjoy the episodes that exist and hope something like it (or even a revival in the next decade or so) follows.
Sitcoms are one of my favorite things in the world to watch. They’re perfect after a long day, or when I need to decompress. They’re fun, they’re easy, they usually contain corny jokes, and whatever disagreement or obstacle may befall the characters is usually solved by the episode’s end. That’s what I like about them. You don’t have to keep a notebook on your nightstand to keep track of what happened in episodes previous; you can pick up from anywhere and know immediately who’s who and what they’re up to. On a day when I need to relax, the last thing I want to do is unravel something complicated on TV.
I watch a lot of sitcoms; some blend into one another, and others stand out—and to me, Broke stands out. Though Jackie gives them a hard time for mooching off of her, Elizabeth and Javier really weren’t there to take advantage of Jackie’s hospitality. They just needed a moment to recoup and get their bearings together; they never expected Jackie to take care of them, and they did help where they could. Elizabeth and Javier both went job hunting, they helped with Sammy, and they helped Jackie whenever they could. Broke is kind of an ironic title; yes, Elizabeth and Javier lost their fortune, but nothing is really broken in the show. In fact, it’s about a family reconnecting and helping one another, making their lives better forevermore.