by Katie Monigan
If there was any doubt that “2 Broke Girls” would turn into a vulgar joke machine, fears can be cast aside after this week’s episode. The show, now in its fourth week, is gradually filling in the main characters’ backgrounds, while managing to stay as funny as ever. The influx of narratives from the past add substance to what has so far been an otherwise vacant, but nonetheless amusing show.
In this particular episode, “And the Rich People Problems,” more is revealed about Caroline, as certain aspects of her former, and much wealthier, life are showcased. Not only does she speak to her father on the phone from prison, but also allowed a look at her swanky apartment. This former residence provides plenty of tidbits about sides of Caroline not previously explored, from her tooth issues to her relationship with her incarcerated father.
The impetus for her return to the apartment is when the seemingly perfect Caroline divulges that she has advanced bruxism, a disfiguring tooth disorder that requires her to wear a bite guard, which she left in her apartment when her father was arrested. This situation is mined for many amusing gags, including a short-lived visit to a subway dentist’s office with an interesting set of characters. It, more importantly, also showed the audience that Caroline has flaws, and is not the pristine heiress she seems to be.
In addition to seeing how rich Caroline once was, which the apartment trip allowed, discussions of her luxurious former lifestyle led to a conversation about her family. Caroline discusses, in a strong character-building moment, how her mother abandoned her when she was very young, leaving her to be raised by a sequence of nannies and causing her to become very close to her father.
All of these character moments result from the call to Caroline’s father in prison. He asks to speak with Max to thank her for helping his daughter, and mentions that Caroline needs to continue to wear her bite guard. This reference to Caroline’s strange tooth disorder is originally simply amusing because of the absurdity of Caroline’s serious dental issues, but transforms into something more endearing, as it represents her father’s obvious love for his daughter, despite the many mistake he has made.
While “Problems” was revealing for Caroline, little is still known about Max. The girls’ dynamic is maturing and becoming increasingly complicated, which keeps things interesting. This is hopefully an indication that the writers will soon, in some substantive way, explore Max’s past.
For now, however, the overall idea of the show is working well: quick one-liners from Earl, Han, and Oleg, more intricate comedy between Caroline and Max, and deeper character development of Caroline appear to be leading the show in the right direction. By revealing more complex character traits as the season progresses, the writers are forging an emotional connection to what once seemed to be simply comedic characters, and it might be the show’s recipe for success.