2 Broke Girls – Season One
Given the wearily hip title and the somewhat too-cool-for-school network promotion of the show on TV, you would assume that this idea would not have any originality about it. A poor girl living and working in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and a rich-girl-turned-poor-girl from the Upper East Side of Manhattan working together (and at the end of the pilot, living together) sounds like a plot that’s been done multiple times before. However, something about this is intriguing enough to tune in to figure out if it truly would be a simple reheat or if it would deliver something different.
We are first introduced to Kat Dennings (who you might recognize as the teen daughter of Steve Carrell’s love interest in The 40-Year-Old Virgin) as her character Max, a waitress at a diner in Williamsburg. Her first dialogue is with the perverted chef Oleg (Jonathan Kite) in an effort to get him to stop looking at her breasts makes viewers fall in love with Max’s sharp, sarcastic, and, at times, cynical personality. After having to work with another waitress who constantly has sex in the stock room of the diner, Max comes home to her boyfriend as he and his band listen to music on the radio as their “band practice.” It becomes apparent when he removes his shirt that he uses his body on sharp-witted Max to get his quick fix and makes her forget her night job of making cupcakes for the diner.
We later find her that she also has a sweet side in her next scene in the diner, helping her manager (Matthew Moy) with his grammar to pass an immigration test and giving the diner’s cashier (Garrett Morris) a cupcake for his birthday. Morris’s character, Earl, and Max share a rather interesting relationship that plays on not-so-serious flirtation which I found to be rather endearing. Her relationship with the manager Han (who had Americanized his name to “Bryce” as he discusses in his first appearance on screen) seems like one of a mutual understanding, but with him never letting her forget that he’s her boss.
Soon after, we are introduced to Beth Behrs (who hasn’t really appeared in anything well-known aside from a straight-to-video American Pie sequel) as her character Caroline takes the place of the sex-driven waitress that Han fires. Caroline seems like any other girl who lived a life of luxury. Interestingly enough, she actually has a business degree from UPenn (which provides some foreshadowing at the end of the episode) and isn’t as stuck up as she puts up initially. She has a down-to-earth personality, extremely friendly, and is also sharp witted. Viewers will find that Caroline isn’t above doing anything she can to survive after her family loses their money when Max finds her sleeping on a subway amongst graffiti, the homeless, and even the lower and middle class citizens of New York City after being unable to find a place to stay.
We later find out from the Manhattan socialite whose kids Max babysits for as her second job that her friends pretended they weren’t home and shunned her completely. Despite these moments of humility, even Caroline has her moments of diva-like behavior, such as her disgust in wearing the “tacky” (and unclean) uniform from the previous waitress and revealing that she found the diner by searching online for a place that no one in the Upper East Side would be caught dead near (which is pretty believable, in actuality).
From there, the two connect through Caroline turning a bigger profit on the cupcakes that Max makes for the diner, though Caroline only finds out after Max tells her who makes them. Their connection strengthens after Caroline gets hit on by Max’s boyfriend and Caroline informs Max about it. Max doesn’t believe her, leaves Caroline to fend for herself at the diner, and finds out as she walks into her apartment while her boyfriend is having sex with another woman. She kicks him out without a second thought, as expected for a character like Max, introduced as someone with low tolerance for bull.
This then creates a friendship between her and Caroline. From there, the two become roommates and Caroline proposes a plan on a horse she and Max were able to get from Caroline’s estate (through unexplained means and while drinking Starbucks): opening a cupcake store. As Caroline has the business background and Max can bake, it seems like a very ingenious idea. The problem? They have to make $250,000 in order to achieve this goal. The episode ends with the amount they made on the profit from the cupcakes ($387.25).
While some may find this kind of idea rather unoriginal, the interesting character dynamics between Caroline and Max is what may make this show an interesting watch. Max’s sarcastic sense of humor is one that people will find quite amusing. Not only that, but she is able to acknowledge her lack of better judgment in her constantly-shirtless (now former) boyfriend, which she says “makes a smart girl become stupid,” and was able to see that Caroline wasn’t as bad as she had thought. On the other hand, we have Caroline, who seems to be more than a ditsy blonde coming from money. She actually has intellect, wit, and a drive to be something more, which was also something unexpected. One would assume Caroline to be a girl who is unable to live without her father’s cash flow, but she displays a lot of independent behavior which is rather relieving to see.
The dynamics between these two could be something that makes the show something more than what it is. While there are moments that some would feel are a bit tasteless (like the chef’s over the top come-ons towards Max and the boyfriend’s need to remove his shirt any chance he gets, which Caroline calls him out on by referring to him as “Jersey Shore”), this show might be going somewhere with Max’s blunt personality and Caroline’s open acceptance of her reality but not completely losing the rich girl persona expected of her. Hopefully, it stays on the air long enough for us to see where it goes from here.