2 Broke Girls looks to get clear of a few things in its latest effort “And the Spring Break” from its first season, which sees Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) apartment-sitting for a wealthy couple, while looking for a new boon to their business. “And the Spring Break” makes some noble effort to confront 2 Broke Girls on its laziness, but for a vacation episode certainly doesn’t get very far.
I’m beginning to notice an odd sort of phenomenon that takes place whenever I watch 2 Broke Girls, and I can’t quite put my finger on its source. Aside from the obvious interpretation that my interest wanes and I fail to invest in the story, I find myself repeatedly snapping into awareness over the course of the half hour, as if I seem to have lost awareness of how points A and B progressed to C within the context of a single episode. More with 2 Broke Girls than any other series, I feel like ‘things happen,’and then its over. And I don’t mean that to be as literal as it sounds, or criticize a smart writer’s ability to tell a story, but increasingly so I wind up more disoriented by this show than most.
Tonight, we went from the usual crudity of the diner’s staff’s interaction, to a point where we saw Max and Caroline living out certain Spring Break fantasies in the gay couple’s apartment, to pretending to be posh socialites at a party, back to the apartment with boys in tow, briefly told Caroline met a Greek man to take them on a real vacation, before ending up back in the diner again. And in spite of that relatively cyclical progression, I found no foothold for any point ‘And the Spring Break’was trying to make. Was it Max’s judgement of stereotypes that needed to be explored, Caroline’s longing to experience another real vacation, either of the two men encountered in the process, or a potential upswing for the business that needed to be explored? I give the writers of 2 Broke Girls some credit in their willingness to juggle such a variety of ideas, but there’s a tremendous difference between juggling, and throwing balls into the air all at once to see which ones you catch.
To that end, there’s also an odd sort of meta-awareness being presented through ‘And the Spring Break” that I couldn’t quite grasp either. It’s no secret that the show has come under an inordinate amount of fire for its broad, crude, even lazily offensive humor, to the point where even in promotional interviews critics often beset the series with accusations. ‘And the Spring Break’was written recently enough to be aware of said criticisms, though not quite in time to be aware of its own renewal for a second season, but it still interested me to see Caroline draw attention to Max, and by association the show’s uncomfortable reliance on stereotypes.
It wasn’t quite to point out anything profound about the flaws and criticisms of 2 Broke Girls, and I find myself at something of a loss to justify its inclusion within the narrative. On the one hand, I’d think it beneficial for the series to maintain a certain amount of self-awareness about its lazier jokes, but why bother calling attention to them if you’re only going to supply more, rather than deliver any kind of meaningful comedy about it? It seemed as if to say ‘we know you hate this, but f$%k you*, we can put laugh tracks wherever we like,’especially considering the point never really got past a few casual mentions toward the end.
(*) Because I would have taken any excused to include this in today’s piece, THIS video is now my all-time favorite summation of 2 Broke Girls, and may forever color how I write about it.
What I did like about ‘And the Spring Break’were some of the other meta statements, namely about getting the characters away from the diner itself, which seems to be a black hole of the show’s lazier, contrived humor. And of course they ended up back in the end, but perhaps (we can hope) a little more confident in being able to tell stories less rooted in one-liners and stereotyping. What works most is what’s always worked, telling jokes that don’t rely on uncomfortable stereotypes, or bad puns, allowing the characters to have fun rather than complain, and even bond a bit more by the end.
2 Broke Girls is miles away from being a decent follow-up to even weaker half hours of How I Met Your Mother, but amidst the banality I appreciate what little effort they put into smarter humor.
And Another Thing…
- Kat Dennings splashes batter on her chest, and you go with a ‘battered woman’joke? Not where my mind went, and I don’t know who should feel worse about that.
- ‘I’ll stop when they stop.’Yeah, not a great attitude to have about making fun of stereotypes.
- Beth Behrs in a bikini. Now that‘s the kind of pandering I can passively enjoy.
- In closing, I present you with one last thought. My final note written of tonight’s episode was ‘The anal gland was a joke.’That is all.
What did YOU think?