by Katie Monigan
One might think that a show can only make jokes about horse excrement for one episode of television before the well runs dry. That person would be wrong. They might also think that a very predictable episode structure would make a show boring – they’d be wrong about that too.
Last week on “2 Broke Girls,” more than one comment was made about the smell from the yard where Caroline’s horse Chestnut lives, and his droppings came to be known as “Brooklyn.” In “And Strokes of Goodwill,” Max takes Chestnut for a walk, and the “pooper scooper” she takes along is an enormous shovel. As if that wasn’t enough of a hint as to Chestnut’s bowel issues, Max points out, when encouraging Chestnut to do his “business” in his usual spot, that “I have a lot of crap to do today…and apparently so do you!”
In addition to the abundance of amusing but base poop jokes, the writers have decided to rigidly structure portions of each episode. In the opening scene, Max always delivers food to a group of quirky customers, and single-handedly creates a quick-witted scene. This time, in “Goodwill,” a group of three receives their food, and starts reminding her of their earlier requests. When the first tells Max that he asked for salt and pepper, she whips them out of her apron. When reminded by another guest that he asked for mayonnaise and mustard, she pulls them out of her cleavage. Finally, when the third customer says that Max forgot her diet soda, she replies “I’m sorry, I’ll be right back with your WHOA,” and miraculously presents her with a cup from behind her back, adding, “never doubt me” before walking away.
This pattern of opening scenes starring Max is somewhat repetitive, but until they stop being funny, they work as well as ending tags of a show often do.
A similar pattern emerges for the scene immediately following the first commercial break – the time for Earl, the cashier, to spit out his spectacular one-liner, with this week’s being, “Look here Max, that lady just slipped me her number! Like I need another menopausal white woman scratchin’ at my window like a cat in heat.” It’s the only thing he says for the entire episode, but even with one line, he’s still worth having in the scripts.
As for the other prevailing trends of Han the Asian stereotype diner owner and Oleg the creepy cook, they’re slowly softening on the offensive front and builing in the entertainment department, although they still lag behind the amusement level of the rest of the characters. Han’s big moment this week came when he discussed with the girls the fact that he had sent both of them Facebook friend requests. The combination of the clash between two young American girls and a middle-aged Asian man has been somewhat humorous thus far, but his attempt to communicate with them as more than just a boss takes the dynamic to an entirely new, especially uncomfortable level. Hopefully Han will continue to pursue this friendship as the season continues.
Concerning Oleg, his approach hasn’t changed, but his persistent sexual advances are at least becoming funnier. Either the jokes have improved or he is just wearing us down, but his offering the girls “air conditioning,” which consists of him breathing air that smells of salami directly into their faces, then making a comment about another “salami,” is just as creepy as ever, but somehow funnier.
Whatever the reasoning, the improvement this week of the Oleg character, as well as Han, was a welcome addition to a show that is discovering a comfortably crude yet working groove.
Kate Monigan is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org