Tag Archives: kat dennings

2 Broke Girls Cancelled – Is this the End of Politically Incorrect Comedy?

Sigh.

Dry my tears, 3.5 readers.  Another one of my faves has been slapped onto the chopping block.

For the past six years, Max and Caroline (Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs) have been living a modern day Cinderella story, full of epic crudeness, disgusting-ness, all around raunchiness and epic debauchery.

The show was so bad that it was good.  I think the writers and cast even realized it.  The jokes weren’t just crowbarred in.  They were shoved down your throat with a plumber’s helper.

It was insensitive and super politically incorrect in a time when political correctness matters more than ever.

Gay people on the show weren’t just portrayed as gay but super flamboyant “Hey girl” lisping gay.

The girls’ boss, Asian diner owner Han Lee (Matthew Moy) was ridiculed about his height  (or lack thereof) by the girls to no end.

Hipsters were routinely dumped on.  Shameless trend followers were pooped on with reckless abandon.

In short, the show dove head first into every stereotype imaginable and yet, they managed to pull it off with a, “We’re sorry for doing this, but we really do love everyone and think everyone should get an equal shot at success in this crazy world” kind of vibe.

Comedy, and sitcoms especially,  unfortunately have a habit of reducing people to stereotypes.  It’s not always fair or even right but what else can you expect when there’s only twenty minutes (figuring for commercials) to tell a tale?

Max was born poor.  Caroline was born rich only to lose everything and for six years, Max served as Caroline’s friend and life coach, teaching her how to get by on nothing – literally nothing.

It’s a story young adults could jive with, especially in the post 2008 economy.  You thought you were going to get a big shot job and make a million dollars?  So did Caroline.  Sorry.  Those jobs don’t exist anymore.  Go grab an apron.  You’re a waitress now and no one cares if you have a fancy college degree.  It will look nice on your wall as you struggle to pay back the loan for it until the end of time.

And sure, all the characters on the show were stereotypical cookie cutter cartoon characters.  Oleg the cook was an unapologetic pervert.  Sophie the next door neighbor was built like a linebacker yet told the whole world she was hot and you were not.  Earl the cashier would occasionally pipe in with sassy jokes.

But the girls were cartoon characters too.  Max was a big boobed hustler who reviled in her ability to get men to do her bidding with the power of her boobs.  Caroline would walk around in her pearls as if this whole poverty thing was a setback and she’d be back to living the high life in no time.

I guess the point I’m making is that the girls lived in Brooklyn, a melting pot if there ever was one.  On there quest to become cupcake baking tycoons, they suffered all manner of mistreatment and setbacks but along the way, they made friends with people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds and walks of life.

Yes, everyone was reduced to being a cartoon character because that’s all the sitcom style allows for, but Max and Caroline, for all of their faults, stuck up for people.  Yes they made fun of people, but the people they made fun of would often turn the tables on them.

The moral of the story was that these girls were two wide-eyed dreamers who thought the world should go their way…and sometimes they’d crap on people in their way…and sometimes it would be fun to watch as the crapped on people crapped back on them…these were often people who had suffered more than they had and were willing to let them know that the world isn’t designed to go their way.

Yes, they ridiculed Han without mercy…but yes, they’d also bitch slap you if YOU made fun of him.  Han was like their brother.  They teased them out of love.

Although yeah, at times, I suppose it did come across as just two super hot, stuck up bitches dumping all over an Asian immigrant who was just trying to make a living.

At any rate, when the girls would get out of line, they would be reigned in.  Han used his wits to give them their comeuppance many, many times, often with hilarious results.

To be honest, I have no idea why this show was cancelled.  Maybe it was ratings.  Maybe it was business.

All I know is I invested six years into this show, wondering if the girls would ever become un-broke.  The show would always end with a running tally of how much the girls had saved on their quest to not be broke anymore.  They need to come up with some sort of resolution, as I deserve to know whether or not they become un-broke.

Recently, I also lamented the cancellation of Last Man Standing, another show that, while much, much, much more reserved than 2 Broke Girls, did not fit the PC mold.

Political correctness and comedy.  Comedy and political correctness.  They go together like oil and water.

No one wants to hurt another’s feelings but at the same time, if we all continue to walk around on pins and needles, we may never laugh again.  

2 Broke Girls offered a different approach.  If the stuck up former rich girl makes fun of you, make fun of her back!  Sometimes the most satisfying part of the show came when Caroline thought she’d gotten away with a diss on Han only for Han to turn around and say something in a completely cool, collected manner that would totally wreck her day.

Yes, we should always be nice to each other and not assume the worst of people based on whatever group they are in.  But at the same time, laughter is important and if we keep taking the bite out of laughter, then comedy is going to quickly go out of style.

I’m convinced that by 2050, the world will have become so politically correct that SNL will be nothing but an improv troupe coming out on the stage every week to recite the “Why did the chicken cross the road?” joke a hundred times, followed by a half-hour apology to chickens everywhere and people who are offended by chicken jokes.

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TV Review – 2 Broke Girls (2011 – Present)

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.

 

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