2 Broke Girls is a car crash in slow motion. You don’t want to watch Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, you want to come to their rescue. The most recent episode found these two talented actresses forced to play out a story about tampons in the ladies room of the cruddy diner where they’ve been seemingly sentenced to work.
This week was almost as degrading as Dennings and Behrs were forced to take part in the hackiest of sitcom clichés, the comic misunderstanding. Remember when Mr. Furley would walk in just as Jack had tripped and fallen on top of one of his female roommates or when Lucy was convinced that Ricky was cheating on her and he was really just talking to a woman about a gift for Lucy or that classic cave drawing of the cavemen mistaking a cavewoman for a prostitute?
That last example is merely meant to demonstrate that the ‘comic misunderstanding’ plot is one that dates back quite a ways. It’s so basic that most sitcoms left it behind years ago. 2 Broke Girls sadly is just so bereft of invention and imagination that we can’t really be surprised that they would blow the dust off this terrible plot.
When their upstairs neighbor keels over and dies Caroline discovers a sudden desire to get to know the neighbors, an idea that is loathsome to Max. The neighbors across the hall turn out to be very nice, save for their fetish for dog collars. The new upstairs neighbor is a bigger problem; she likes a hardwood floor instead of carpet, heavy shoes and playing the Bee Gees loud at all hours.
The new neighbor is played by the very talented Jennifer Coolidge who’s shown in the American Pie movies, in working with Christopher Guest and in Legally Blonde that she is a gifted comic talent. Sucked into the comic void of 2 Broke Girls however, Coolidge’s talent is sapped by a horrific accent and the hack plot I’ve been complaining about.
Max and Caroline believe that Sophie (Coolidge) is a prostitute; how else do you explain her odd hours and her strange notion to have a large group of scantily clad women in her apartment in the middle of the night. The level of bizarre in this scene is something we must discuss in more detail later.
Being trained in sitcom 101 we know that Sophie is not a prostitute but the plot requires Max and Caroline to slog through the foolishness before the embarrassing revelation and boring resolution arrive. Sophie is trying to offer Max and Caroline a job but since they believe she is a madam to a group of hookers they decline emphatically. In reality, Sophie runs a cleaning service.
Naturally, we get a scene in which one of Sophie’s customers uses misleading language to praise the work of one of Sophie’s ‘girls’ and Max and Caroline are forced to go through ridiculous reactions of horror believing that the man is talking about hookers and not cleaning ladies.
After the misunderstanding is cleared up the girls have made a new friend of their upstairs neighbor and we end on the strange, inexplicable sight of the three friends watching a movie on a 3D TV, wearing 3D glasses while telling us that the movie they’re watching isn’t actually in 3D.
This bizarre closing scene indicates the level of boredom among the cast. Clearly, Kat Dennings and company were looking for a bit of business to play while they exchanged some exceptionally boring filler dialogue and that’s where the 3D glasses for a non-3D movie came into play; it gave them something to do. It’s good that they are thinking of these things; it certainly seems that the writers aren’t thinking of anything for them to do.
Lastly, I cannot explain the scene in Sophie’s apartment with the girls in negligees. I understand that the scene is the lynch-pin for explaining why Max and Caroline suspect that Sophie is a prostitute but the way the scene is played is so strange that it fails as part of the set up and becomes part of a secondary plot that has run in the background of 2 Broke Girls all season long.
Yes, I am referring to the lesbian plot that so many of us who critique this show have speculated about since the series began. The idea, for the uninitiated, is that Max and Caroline are a ‘will they or won’t they’ sitcom romance in the making. New York Magazine was the first to speculate on the idea and the show has embraced this notion with random jokes from Max about the chance of girl on girl action.
The scene in Sophie’s apartment is played so oddly that it seems like Max and Caroline are turned on by what they see rather than surprised or appalled. The direction of the scene makes it seem that they are drooling over this strange sight before them instead of being dumbstruck by the oddity of it all. It literally plays like the beginning of amateur slash fiction rather than a plot point in an actual sitcom.
With this scene carrying the burden of the rest of the plot it was a bad time for the show to get distracted. The scene falls flat, aside from Max and Caroline’s strange reaction shots, and then the scene is forgotten, explained away dismissively by Sophie as a typical sleepover that she enjoys with the employees of her cleaning service.
When it comes down to it, this is just this kind of sloppy ridiculousness that makes 2 Broke Girls such a chore to watch and write about.
If you have a good explanation for the way the scene I’ve described played I would love to read it.