by Katie Monigan
Let’s just say it was a “building week” for “2 Broke Girls” in the second episode, “And the Break Up Scene,” which indicated the show still has to work out a few kinks on its way to becoming a great comedy.
As a good sign, the episode started off with the same witty and sarcastic tone as last week, and was certainly no less funny, as Max is forced to wait on four particularly pretentious female customers. Most of the individual jokes lived up to the promise of the pilot, most notably the exchange between the cashier Earl (Garret Morris) and Max, which resulted in Earl casually responding to a statement of Max’s with “That’s the exact same sentence that got me hooked on cocaine in the eighties.” While it’s becoming clear that Earl won’t likely make any significant plot contributions, he will be a source of at least one spectacular line per episode, which is always a useful character type to employ in more traditional sitcoms.
As for Han (Matthew Moy), the diner owner, and Oleg (Jonathan Kite), the cook, these characters are looking less promising. Anything that has come from Han thus far has been nothing less than Asian stereotyping, and everything Oleg says continues to be disturbingly sexual without evoking much humor. Han and Oleg are already incredibly predictable archetypes, and without being that funny this is a bad sign in only the second episode. It’s not looking good for those two side characters, but if the writers can discover a more varied use for them, the rest of the diner cast could become more interesting. Otherwise it might be best to leave them out altogether.
An even stranger secondary character, however, is Max’s returning boyfriend. I had assumed that Max’s half-episode relationship in the pilot was completely over, but the ex reappeared, literally, in the middle of the night. Caroline ensured that Max would “never have to deal with him again” by scheduling a time for him the following day to pick up his belongings from what has become the two girls’ house. I hope he is gone for good, as he’s not particularly compelling – dumb jock jokes can only be carried so far – but we won’t know until next week. In the show’s defense, he did add a bit of drama to the girls’ home situation, which was surprisingly funny, but this is the exception and not the rule.
The episode as a whole, though, failed to live up to the pilot. The girls have settled into living together, and something more interesting will have to happen story-wise in upcoming episodes as they have already progressed beyond that plot point. They are still establishing the groundwork of the series, and in the process manage to be funny, so I can cut them some slack. I hope, however, that the slow pace in the content department is not a staple of the series going forward.
On the bright side, it appears that the quick wit between the girls is a permanent and welcome feature of “2 Broke Girls.” When talking about how the yard where the horse is currently residing smells bad, Max blames it on the horse, to which Caroline rapidly retorts that the smell is merely Brooklyn. As Max explains that the horse is taking a nice big Brooklyn right in front of her, “Brooklyn” becomes an ongoing replacement for all things despicable. This sort of clever humor is unexpected from poor, supposedly unintelligent characters, and the element of surprise works in the dialogue’s favor.
The other characters may need some work, and the general plot needs to be more fully realized and explored (is this a show about a pair of waitresses or about opening a cupcake shop? Or both?). If the girls keep up their intelligent sarcasm, however, with requisite toilet and sexual humor interspersed throughout, future episodes of “2 Broke Girls” could easily be no less amusing and likely outshine the pilot.
Katie Monigan is a contributing writer. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.