Well, I feel like a sucker. After giving 2 Broke Girls a break last week and giving into the idea that there was a chance for the show to improve, we get an episode that demonstrates more of the show’s worst qualities. Shockingly, “And the Disappearing Bed” was bad, even without Matthew Moy’s walking stereotype.
Caroline (Beth Behrs) wants to install a murphy bed in the apartment. She’s gone as far as to include wanting a bed on her vision board. The vision board is fast becoming a go to sitcom joke. Last week, Penny on ABC’s Happy Endings had one and before that, the crew on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gave disturbing life to their dreams on a vision board.
Now, Caroline on 2 Broke Girls has a vision board and it includes all of her hopes and dreams on the front and her vision for a potential sex partner on the back; it wouldn’t be 2 Broke Girls if it didn’t bring everything back to sex, even Caroline’s hopes and dreams.
Max (Kat Dennings) is freaked out after she had an awkward moment with her friend/crush Johnny the bartender (Nick Zano). Johnny made a drawing on a napkin and gave it to her as an ironic, flirtatious gift. Max reacted by eating a piece of celery. I would attempt to give this more context but the whole scene was so inept that I can’t properly describe it.
I have mentioned legendary sitcom writer Ken Levine in the context of 2 Broke Girls before. Levine is a comedy genius who has seemingly written or heard every possible sitcom joke. Recently, he offered a few notes to modern comedy writers, a list of dos and don’ts; simple things to avoid in order to keep your show fresh and funny.
The writers of 2 Broke Girls could stand to give Ken a call. The scene between Max and Johnny features a stale sitcom joke that Levine diagrammed beautifully on his blog: The ‘No’ joke. Here’s the exchange:
Max “Let me see what you’re drawing Johnny. A rat with a civil war hat; is that your comment on how politicians view soldiers?”
Johnny “No, it’s an actual rat I saw wearing a hat.”
You can almost hear the thud of that punch line crashing to the ground. The “No” joke is the lazy sitcom writer at work. This writer has likely written dozens of “No” jokes because that is what writers on bad sitcoms do, recycle jokes on the theory that if it worked once, it can work a thousand times.
Anyways, Caroline’s vision board includes getting Max and Caroline’s cupcake business off the ground. Their big chance arrives after Caroline makes business cards for the as yet non-existent business and Max fumblingly gives one to her boss at her other job, as a babysitter to the worst mother on the planet.
We haven’t yet talked about Peach (Brooke Lyons), the Park Avenue Princess and mother of twin babies Brad and Angelina who employs Max as a part time nanny. Peach commits all sorts of horrors against her babies from calling them fat, to getting them massages and spray tans and, arguably worst of all, referring to them as Brangelina.
The character is intended as a send up of Real Housewives style women who treat their children as social accessories. The jokes at her expense however, are as cheap and unfunny as anything else on 2 Broke Girls. There may be a rich comic target here somewhere but the writers seem to believe that the Brangelina joke is funny enough and have pretty well stopped right there.
Peach is a potential client for Max and Caroline’s cupcake business but Max cannot bring herself to ask for a favor. Leaving the card that Caroline made is as close as she can come. The payoff on this subplot is inexplicable really; Peach doesn’t hire them but Caroline somehow counts the fact that Peach called as a victory.
Back to Max and Johnny; after Caroline orders her murphy bed she invites Johnny over to help install it, unaware of Max’s awkward moment with the celery stick. Given another chance, Max and Johnny have a sweet romantic moment outside with the horse. As with the Peach subplot, the Max and Johnny subplot ends on a strange note with Johnny and Max sitting on that stupid horse and Johnny accidentally or intentionally(?) groping Max.
Johnny is a romantic possibility for Max and the banter between Kat Dennings and Nick Zano, before the writers made them get on that stupid horse, was cute and rather authentic to who these characters are supposed to be. Sadly, these characters are trapped in a bad sitcom and are forced to go through the paces of what bad sitcom writers believe is building tension. In reality, they are merely running in place toward a predictable ‘will they or won’t they’ conclusion.
I tried to give 2 Broke Girls the benefit of the doubt. I believed last week that the show was salvageable with a few tweaks. “And the Disappearing Bed” unfortunately, demonstrates that the few tweaks are really an overhaul that requires an entirely new writing staff.
The show is just plain bad, populated by lazy sitcom tropes and offensive sex jokes. Poor Kat Dennings is punching her way through the awkwardness as best she can but the show is consuming her charm. Newcomer Beth Behrs is floundering amidst the sleaze that the writers continue to shovel and her above it all act is beginning to falter.
Is 2 Broke Girls doomed? I’m not sure. It has however, after six episodes, settled into a lazy, offensive pattern that sadly may be what the writers intend; a very typical sitcom that trades in offensive stereotypes and supremely low-brow sex jokes.
- In case you were wondering, yes, Caroline did get her bed. I know you were eagerly anticipating the culmination of the Caroline wants a bed plot.
- No Matthew Moy in this episode; sadly Jonathan Kite’s Oleg was not absent.
- Yet another rape joke. This is at least the third, possibly the fourth time, that Kat Dennings’ Max has cracked wise about rape. This time it was a joke so convoluted that its inclusion can only be attributed to the idea that the writers really think that joking about rape is ‘edgy.’
- Finally, get rid of the stupid horse.