2 Broke Girls, S3E4 “And the Group Head”: A TV Review

grouphead

This week’s episode offers up something a little new, and that takes the form of Luis [pictured above], the replacement for the day waiter we never got to meet. Portrayed by Federico Dordei he is flamboyantly gay, a waiting “lifer” of 27 years who doesn’t get attached, and someone I found to be painfully funny.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of crude stereotypes, but Luis was particularly endearing to me because of the raw energy the character had, some of which he directed into asserting his refusal to be a part of the girls’ drama. He also made the observation that “Max is funny, look at her. Aww, funny to mask the pain,” and this really made me think about all the references she’s constantly making to her horrific childhood and life up to this point.

I say “life up to this point” because in spite of Max recounting that her mother was an absent uncaring drunk or that she once gave a handjob for a Klondike Bar we can only take her word for it. It could be said that any emotional scarring is hidden by her quips [so, so many quips], but the show hasn’t done much to legitimately show that she has any issues. At least not since her trust issues with Johnny back in Season 1. Add to that the fact that her sexual escapades all appear to have taken place in the past, since she certainly isn’t getting it on presently.

Oh, and Luis’ ringtone is the theme from Sex and the City and he salsa dances whenever he gets a call. I honestly found it hilarious every single time.

There are other characters, too, but they don’t do much.

The cast could definitely use the expansion as well, seeing as how it really is a show primarily about its title characters. Sophie and Oleg get back into a little bit of will they/won’t they this episode, but it’s really just more of the same. Han is there to be the butt of every joke, and Earl likes to think back on when he used to do drugs. He still does them, but he used to, too.

Anyway, in this episode Oleg steals the girls an espresso machine that they can’t manipulate Han into buying for the diner, which I thought was great. Not the girls disrespecting their boss, which is tiresome, but Oleg getting into shenanigans. Him yelling at them to “shut up!” as he walks into their cupcake shop with the machine is really good stuff, even if he could have delivered the lines with just a touch more panic.

The girls have no idea how to operate the machine, and Luis won’t help them because he will not get involved, so they get jobs at Starbucks and wow, I’m going to have to talk about Max again. I’ve never personally found Max’s sass to be all that endearing, but this time around she meows when repeating drink orders [it’s hard for me to put into words how infuriating I found this] and then draws a penis wearing a hat on a cup instead of the guy’s name [it was Gregg, with three G’s].

Taking her out of the diner and putting her into a setting that actually requires her to work and not just snark at customers really exposes her actions for how needlessly irritating she can be. Her and Caroline are fired, of course, but what she did is never really addressed. The episode ends with them taming their espresso machine [which burned Caroline’s vagina earlier, an instance in which both showing and telling were apparently required] and making a decent cappuccino. Hooray.

It’s strange that what began with my praising a new character kind of devolved into my ranting about Max, but that’s more or less how the episode progressed. We were tantalized with this wonderfully over the top character who ultimately didn’t end up doing anything. He has a crush on Oleg, but even that wasn’t carried out to its full comedic potential.

I enjoyed last week’s episode, and my review reflected this. 2 Broke Girls doesn’t need to rely on its premise to keep people watching, and it hasn’t. What it does need to do is tell better stories. It needs to introduce characters and then do something with them. It needs to hint at problems beneath the surface and then actually reveal them. I’m totally fine with Caroline singeing her genitals with steam, but it all has to be headed somewhere.

Current Total: $1,310.

New Total: $1,512.

The Title Refers To: Part of an espresso machine called a “group head.” I could probably tell you more about it if a) I had ever worked as a barista or b) had any interest in coffee whatsoever. No innuendo whatsoever here.

Stray Observations:

  • Oleg didn’t steal the espresso machine. He knowingly bought it from a man who stole it and is selling it at a profit.
  • Luis’ mom has Lou Gehrig’s disease. That’s not funny, that is a debilitating muscle condition.
  • Following up with last week’s take on Polish superstition [an aspect of the show that a commenter took offence to] we have another ethnic joke seemingly portrayed as fact:

“In Korea your heads would be on sticks outside the Samsung factory, and you would still have to work!”

  • Max responds to Caroline saying that talking is in her wheelhouse with “You have a wheelhouse and we’re living in this dump?” I don’t think Max understands what a wheelhouse is.
  • Caroline is referring to Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Max thinks she’s talking about The Real World, and I thought she was namedropping former Alpha Flight member and current X-Forcer.
  • When Max tells her Starbucks supervisor Devon that they just got an HMO at their other job I’m pretty sure they’re making a pun off of the word “homo.”
  • Devon went to Harvard.
  • Max’s meowing literally made me frown at the screen.
  • Sophie’s joke that made me feel legitimately uncomfortable: “I’d rather accidentally have sex again with my cousin.”
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: Caroline in her pajamas again. Judging by the set it looked like it was in the middle of the day, though, so who knows what’s up with that.
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7 responses to “2 Broke Girls, S3E4 “And the Group Head”: A TV Review

  1. Alright Evan. As I have just confessed to you I do now watch this show with my wife. When it came to this episode I had a bone to pick with something you said.

    I generally agree with you that Max just gets irritating at times. It often comes across as forced and tiresome. That being said, I thought that Max as a barista was the funniest part of the entire episode. The whole meowing things and “nipple-slap-something-or-ever” was actually, in my mind, a pretty solid bit of comedy. You seemed to think that putting Max is a situation where real work was required only pointed out how needlessly irritating she is. I felt the opposite. In the diner her sass often just falls flat because that’s the norm for that environment in this show. In the diner the sass is just part of it so it can almost blend into the background and become bland. But put Max and her sass in a situation where it is neither appropriate or acceptable and it stands out a lot better. The reactions of Devon and Gregg added to the comedy of the situation.

    Also, why is the penis wearing a hat? Because it’s bald and self-conscious. Hilarious.

    • I thought the hat-wearing penis was pretty good, but I think a large part of my severe dislike for it was hate-flashbacks of when Max got her and Caroline fired from their temp job. I’m going to admit that television has its fair share of man-children, and that I’d likely forgive a lot of them for the same sort of thing, but it’s just ridiculous the stuff she can get away with sometimes. And I guess I would find almost anyone meowing responses infuriating. Except for maybe a certain housemate you and I both know.

  2. I can’t believe you made no reference to the show making fun of Starbucks endlessly long names for coffee creations as Chris pointed out. To me this is one of the highlights of the entire series!

    • I won’t lie to you, David, I don’t personally drink caffeine, so coffee-related humour doesn’t quite hit the mark as much with me. Glad you enjoyed it, though.

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