Can the problems with the freshman series 2 Broke Girls be summed up in one botched joke? Not necessarily, but it is instructive. In a scene early in “And the Rich People Problems” Caroline (Beth Behrs) is having trouble with her teeth.
The scene is set in the kitchen of the diner where Caroline and Max (Kat Dennings) work. Caroline sticks her finger in her mouth to check the alignment of her of teeth. Ever quick witted, Max tells Caroline “You really shouldn’t do that in here” and the scene flash cuts to the creepy cook Oleg (Jonathan Kite) leering at Caroline.
Sure, it’s not a very original gag, but I still chuckled. In classic Costanza fashion the show needed to simply leave it at that; get the laugh and get out. Sadly, in an example of the immaturity of this young series, Dennings underlined the joke by telling Caroline that she was now in Oleg’s ‘spank bank.’
Suddenly, what was funny when it was implied was less funny and much creepier when spelled out. That extra, far less funny joke is a good example of the problems that keep 2 Broke Girls from developing into a funnier, more effective comedy.
It’s notable that this failed joke happened in the diner setting. The diner where the 2 Broke Girls work is the show’s greatest downfall. Nothing that happens in the diner is funny. The horrible stereotypes, Garrett Morris’ sex jokes, Max’s quippy interactions with customers, none of it works.
On the other hand, in “And the Rich People Problems” Caroline and Max break into Caroline’s former apartment to steal some of her stuff back and the scenes and their aftermath are funnier than any of the diner stuff, and they further the friendly vibe that Dennings and Behr are cultivating when they aren’t weighted down by the diner set.
There are issues with 2 Broke Girls in and out of the diner but the diner set is definitely a drag on the show. The fact is, the show could lose the diner set entirely, set the whole show at Max’s apartment, kick in a few wacky neighbors, and they would likely improve the show. All you need are a few shots of the girls arriving home from work or leaving for work and the premise still fits.
On another note, because I know many others are still writing about it: Max and Caroline as a potential couple. “And the Rich People Problems” did little to dispel the vibe between the two as Max took a bath at Caroline’s apartment and nearly achieved orgasm. Then the girls danced closely before reaching an awkward moment when the song ended.
Again, it could just be pervy wishful thinking amongst a handful of fanboys but the show plays into the notion not merely textually, with the scene I described, but sub-textually by failing to introduce one male character that could be a remotely viable match for Max or Caroline.
A few other quick thoughts on “And the Rich People Problems:”
Have the writers worked a rape joke into all four episodes thus far? It seems that way, I know there was one last week and again this week. Of course, the rape joke happened in the diner.
The scene between Max and Caroline in the restaurant was honestly sweet with Max finally recognizing all that Caroline has lost and the strength it must take for her to bounce back so strongly. Wrapping this scene with a call from Caroline’s dad who thanks Max for looking out for his daughter was another nice touch.
Asians and karaoke? Really? Really? This joke was passé in the 1986 Michael Keaton comedy Gung Ho. What’s next, is Matthew Moy’s character going to start giving driving lessons or become a math tutor?
I am going to say this every week as long as the show is on the air: Lose the damn horse.