They’re broke. They’re girls. They’re 2 broke girls.
BQB here with a…wait for it…review of two broke girls.
2011 was an up and down year for comedian Whitney Cummings. The show she starred in, Whitney, premiered and it was ultra awful. Even so, NBC kept it going long after they should have pulled the blog.
I don’t even know how to explain it. The best I can do is that it was a show that was supposed to be funny and yet, everyone on the show was beautiful, they all made a lot of money doing jobs like “blogger” and they all complained about their problems. Ultimately, characters with Manhattan problems just don’t play in Poughkeepsie. Jerry Seinfeld was the last comic to make that schtick work.
Yet, that year, the show Whitney created, 2 Broke Girls, premiered and it’s been going on strong on CBS ever since. As the show’s title suggests, Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) are two broke girls, struggling as poorly paid waitresses and living as roommates in a run down apartment.
They toil away at a diner, where they endlessly harass their diminutive boss Han (Matthew Moy) with one stereotypically Asian joke after another, mostly revolving around Han’s height, or lack thereof.
Max and Caroline are the female version of The Odd Couple. Max has been poor and boorish her whole life, whereas Caroline was raised in wealth and luxury, only to fall to the bottom of the heap when her father is arrested and sent to prison for running a Bernie Madoff type scam. Thus, Max teaches Caroline how to slum it, and Caroline makes an effort to give Max some class, though those efforts are rarely successful.
Overall, no one ever speaks normally but rather, the dialogue has jokes crowbarred in from every last angle. Most of those jokes never land but rather, are of the so bad they’re good variety.
Surprisingly, the show revolves around a lot of stereotype humor. In addition to endless jokes about Han’s Asian heritage, the girls are also friends with a duo of Polish immigrants, Oleg and Sofie (Jonathan Kite and Jennifer Coolidge aka Stiffler’s Mom from American Pie). Oleg and Sofie are portrayed as as being exceptionally dumb (i.e. the worst of all Polish stereotypes) and yet in many ways they often ending up providing the girls with sage like advice, often on accident.
Garret Morris, an alum from SNL’s golden age, rounds out the cast as Earl, the plucky diner cashier who shouts out a joke or a dig at random from time to time.
You know, I’m no prude when it comes to humor. In fact, I’ve often opined on this fine site that people need to lighten up and chill out if we’re all going to ever get along in this great big melting pot that is America. Even so, I avoid ethnic/stereotypical humor like the plague because I don’t want to offend people and/or have a picket line outside BQB HQ, so I’m surprised Whitney doesn’t have a similar picket line outside Whitney HQ.
I mean, it’s a funny show and I don’t see any intent on the part of the writers to emotionally wound anyone, but literally every episode there’s someone being made fun of their ethnicity, or there are gay dudes talking with a flamboyant lisp or something. Whitney has somehow unbolted the magic formula to allow her to make these jokes and not get run out of Hollywood on a rail. (FYI I’m not saying that I’m some sort of evil person that wants that formula).
Ultimately, I enjoy the show, but I tend to take it or leave it. Its the one show that I watch if I need something mindless to preoccupy my time, but I never watched it from the beginning and I often can go like ten episodes before checking back in and jump right back in without feeling like I need to go back and watch those ten episodes. You can jump right in too, it’s not like you’re going to miss any great plot points. Just Max making jokes about her boobs.
STATUS: Moderately shelf-worthy, though to the show’s credit, it may never “Jump the Shark” because the show has had a “We’re funny because we jump the shark every episode” kind of a feel.