by Katie Monigan
If there was a time when “2 Broke Girls” needed to deliver both serious comedic punch and significant plot advancement, “And Hoarder Culture” was it. With last week’s disappointing episode and the midseason break closing in, “Culture” had a lot riding on its shoulders. It didn’t blow me away, but it didn’t disappoint either, and that’s what matters most.
Last week’s major issues were that the meandering plot suffered in order to manufacture jokes, and the jokes they made weren’t terribly funny. This week, the two plot threads – Caroline taking a job as a “personal organizer” for a hoarder, and an advancement in Johnny and Max’s romance – ensured there was plenty to discuss. Granted, the hoarder idea is only for “Culture,” so it’s not really advancing the plot of the series overall. Yet Max’s enthusiasm for hoarders and her proclamation that the only thing better than a hoarder is “people who are so fat they can’t fit through doors” created a much better sub-plot than the cupcake decorating class last week.
In addition to the more well-constructed comedy that came along with the plot, like the banter between Johnny and Max, the quick jokes were much better this week. It didn’t hurt that within the first few minutes the girls nicknamed all of their customers, including gems like “lesbian Justin Beiber.” When Johnny came into the restaurant to get coffee and cupcakes, he and Han do some kind of handshake ending with the very short Han having to jump hilariously high to high-five the comparatively gigantic Johnny also bolstered these diner scenes. While some of these rapid-fire jokes were complete duds, including almost everything Caroline said after the first break, the overall impression was a total and much needed reversal of “And the Pretty Problem.”
The romance between Johnny and Max is becoming surprisingly intricate, and in my opinion, could actually be more straightforward. The surface attraction between two beautiful people, complicated by their mutual awkwardness, cynicism, and refusal to acknowledge what occurs between them is genius. This week, Caroline and the hoarders convince Max that Johnny asked her on a date, and when Johnny doesn’t kiss her, she gets uncharacteristically upset. She then spontaneously kisses him on the street, which backfires so horribly that Johnny and Max have a serious conversation to resolve it. While some of this painfully awkward encounter is punctuated by comedy, like Max kissing Johnny’s girlfriend on the mouth so that she can say “that’s how I greet people, I’m really friendly,” most of the Johnny-Max debacle is just dramatic, which is dull and almost difficult to watch.
The show ended on a positive note in the drama department, however, with Johnny admitting that he doesn’t want to be a cheater and doesn’t know how to handle himself. Then Max ties things up nicely by relating his comment to Caroline’s proclamations that she is great at organizing because she puts things in files in her head labeled “open when you’re stronger” and “never open this.” Although there were slow moments involving Johnny, and a lot of time was spent on unnecessary drama, the episode was, for the most part, quite funny most of the time.
Katie Monigan is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.