Looking for something else to watch other than the other million shows I already watch caused me to scroll through “trending shows” on my Series Guide App. I’ve always been curious about 2 Broke Girls – I’ve heard some good things about it, but not so much that I thought it was too commercial. So I downloaded the first season, and thus began my confusion of the show – why I watch it, yet find it repulsive at the same time.
First off, let me say that I thought we were “totes” over stilted acting, jokes and sets purely onstage and in front of an audience. I thought the days of watching “fake breeze” play over someone’s hair and bad lighting were over when Friends finished. It’s the setting that puts me off 2 Broke Girls. The props are too contrived, too “stage-like,” and scenes that do not take place either at the café or in the apartment look like they have been put together far too quickly. A bar that doesn’t play music? A street that doesn’t have traffic sounds? (Which also looks like it’s been directly lifted from the Manhattan “streets” of Friends). There’s no real ambiance to the show, and maybe it’s because I’m watching other stuff which actually includes on-location settings, or maybe it’s because it’s that type of canned-laughter show that hits a certain niche of the entertainment market – whatever, but I’m over it.
It’s not just the setting that makes my gut go a bit “urnggh” when I watch it. It’s far too stereotypical. Extra’s who are so bad at acting that they hardly get any lines and just make stupid smiley faces, or extra’s who have lines and completely waste words by pretending to act “tough” or “typical” – it kills the show. The secondary characters are also pretty off-putting. A Latino sexist creepy chef? Check. A Tiny Asian man with funny accent? Check. Old black guy who gets away with being racist and people therefore think it’s okay to laugh at his out-of-date jokes? Checkity check. These kind of stereotypical characters aren’t funny. Or maybe they are to some, but what are you living in the 90s? It’s been done a thousand times over, it’s not original and it’s not funny in the slightest.
2 Broke Girls has a lot of things wrong with it, which I suppose is also the bread and butter of the show. And how many episodes I can watch without it grating on me is roughly 1.2. I watch one episode, then I go to watch a second episode and watch about five minutes of it before Max’s overly-kooky drug references make me want to douse my eyeballs in acid.
Caroline is probably the only character I haven’t really found a fault with. She supposed to be the “annoying” one I guess but she doesn’t try too hard, her jokes aren’t too in-your-face and her personality isn’t too brash. Max has some charm to her character, and it’s her relationship with Caroline that makes the show kind of bearable, but while she was absolutely flawless in the first episode of Season 1, her jokes fall flat, and her manner comes off as a little try-hard. Some things she says just don’t sit right alongside the rest of the programme. And some jokes are either not funny, so they make Max come across as being rude or arrogant, or they are kind of funny, but they sound embarrassing or strange when it comes out of Max’s mouth.
For example, S01E03: And Strokes of Goodwill: Max and Caroline are at a Goodwill store, and Max tells Caroline to look in pockets of things because you might find pills in there. “I found a purple pill once, I took it and it made me sleep for eight hours. That was my vacation that year.” Mmm, where’s the joke in that? I’ll tell you why this joke doesn’t work. 1. It implies that Max is spontaneous. 2. It implies that she will try anything once. 3. It implies she’s not new to taking drugs. The joke doesn’t work because I don’t see Max as being any of these things. For one, we know she works all the time, she has two jobs and the way she mothers Caroline sometimes implies that she’s responsible. For another, Max seems to not have any friends other than Caroline, and she often makes note that anyone she doesn’t like or know she is hostile towards (albeit in a “funny” way). Plus, because the show isn’t that way inclined, they would never show her taking drugs and I’m always aware of the irony of jokes that don’t follow through. It would have been funnier or more relevant if we knew for sure Max took drugs, but it’s a show that will never show that happening, so the joke becomes redundant.
There are other jokes similar to this one that just fall flat. And I’m only on episode 4 of the first season. The redeeming thing about the show is the premise, it’s sort of entertaining to see how they’ll manage to come up with $250, 000 in just over a year (oh, and I’ve done the calculation, what is minimum wage $20 in New York or something?).
If the chef catches some kind of syphilis, the Asian manager gets taken over, and the old black guy stops being so conceited, maybe the show would have more charm, but its secondary characters are so out-dated and its main characters come across so regularly as try-hard hipster wannabees, it makes the show really hard to watch.
Someone please tell me it gets better, because I’ve sort of committed my time to it now, and I don’t really want to have to give it up, despite its flaws. It’s ironic really, it’s a show that takes the piss out of hipsters, yet it’s a show hipsters probably faun over while sipping their Lattes from Starbucks and saying things like “oh, once I’ve watched this, it’ll be time to watch The Big Bang Theory. I’m SO fucking cultured.”