2 Broke Girls, S3E9 “And the Pastry Porn”: A TV Review

pastryporn

You know how I’m always whining about how this show has no momentum as far as its story and how all I really want is for the characters to head in basically any direction? It’s like this entire episode was written to make me shut up already.

We start things out with this week’s zaaaaany character of the week, a one-armed maid named Paulina. I expressed some pretty heavy disdain with the fact that Max and Caroline would ever hire a cleaning lady, but the idea that Sophie cut them a good deal by assigning them an amputee was actually pretty funny.

Okay, okay, I feel like I need to fast forward ahead because I am actually excited about what goes down in this episode. Basically while cleaning they find Max’s porn stash [which features plenty of ‘stache] and Caroline discovers, hidden among the 80s centrefold models, a pastry school brochure which promises to be only $3,000/year. Okay, for real, though, that is like a tenth of what I paid.

Standing in the school’s admissions office Max, unlike her friend, appears to be entirely immune to Chef Nicolas’ sexy French accent [and face]. What really gets her, however, is Nicolas calling her “chef” before he departs. I’m telling you all right now, Kat Dennings really acts in this episode.

She’s glum and moody after her pastry chef dream has been unearthed, feigning anger over invasion of privacy when what she’s really upset about is Caroline finding out what she really wants. She’s ecstatic after realizing through a simple word from Nicolas that she might one day be more than what she ever thought she could be, and then she’s angry, frustrated, and on the brink of giving up when she’s trying her best and failing to create the tart that will be her entrance exam to the school. It seems out of character, later, when she tells her diner friends to crowd around her as she reads what she thinks is her acceptance letter, but it’s really just indicative of how important the moment is for her, that her confidence is strong enough to trump her cynicism for once. Then, of course, there’s the crushing realization on her face when she doesn’t get in.

Now that’s a lot to take in, I know, but it’s indicative of how much great stuff happens. It’s all fantastic character-driven stuff, but it’s the last few scenes that strike the most sincere, effective emotional beats. When Max returns to confront Nicolas she’s pissed, because she knows she deserves to get in. When he claims it’s her attitude, not her ability, that factored into his decision-making we get this shockingly heartfelt response-

-which is enough to convince him to admit her to the school. It’s a scene that contrasts really well with her trying to close herself off to Caroline, taking a page from Ke$ha’s book by hiding in their cupcake shop closet with the bare necessities: a bottle of whiskey and a toothbrush.

Then the show does something it hasn’t done in a very long time, which is make things more, not less, difficult for the girls. It turns out that it’s not, in fact, $3,000/year, but $3,000/course. There are eight a year, meaning that a year’s tuition is really $24,000; still less than mine, but far from an amount the two of them can afford. This is the second time that Max has felt she’s won, and it’s devastating that she’s once again come so close only to have her dream snatched away from her.

Which brings us to the next scene, which is going to be my new go-to when it comes to proving just how strong the girls’ friendship is. Knowing what Max has gone through Caroline does everything short of getting down on her knees and begging Nicholas to let her friend attend the school. She goes so far as saying that she’ll wash the floors, though she “would really prefer to do anything but that.” In retrospect it’s pretty apparent that from the very beginning of this show all Caroline has ever wanted was to fulfill Max’s dreams. She’s an optimistic person by nature, and a big motivation for her character has been trying to show that life really can be good, that sometimes things work out. As a Wharton grad Caroline’s no fool, either, and she’s well aware that sometimes things working out requires sacrifice.

When she returns to their apartment she sees Max crumpling up her porn and tossing it into a hobo fire she set up in their kitchen. As she watches her friend’s extremely symbolic gesture she reveals that she set up a “work-study arrangement” for the two of them. She’ll be working in the school’s office, and Max will be studying.

Not only is it really sweet, because it is very much so, but this heralds a brand new story arc for Max and Caroline and one I am legitimately looking forward to. It also reaffirms the show’s conceit, as the totals below fully explain, and that’s not something I can ever be against.

Current Total: $2,420.

New Total: $2.50 [It turns out that Chef Nicolas decided that $2,417.50 was an acceptable first payment, which is more than fair all things considering].

The Title Refers To: This line that Max delivers:

“Pastry school is the same as porn, it’s just a dumb fantasy”

Stray Observations:

  • Either Oleg has sex with his maid, or his prostitute also cleans his house for him. It could go either way.
  • Earl’s grandmother was a slave.
  • Porn: “It’s the body in its natural form: spread-eagled on a motorcycle”

  • Knowing what Max’s homepage is compels me to share one of my favourite tumblrs with all of you: Pornhub Comments on Stock Photos.
  • “Your face is the Manhattan School of Pastry.” “You know it isn’t!”
  • “I’m not sure we’re in the right place.” “Are any of us, really?”
  • Special mention of Bebe, played my Mary Lynn Rajskub, who works in the office and appears to suffer from anxiety or some other form of mental illness. I’m mildly concerned with how we’ll be dealing with her moving forward, as thus far her problems appear to be present only to be made fun of.
  • I also thought that Nicolas’ French accent sounded super fake, but it turns out that Gilles Marini is actually from France. Shows you how much I know.
  • Max’s joke that made me feel legitimately uncomfortable: “I perform best when there’s a gun to my head ask any of my ex-boyfriends.”
  • Her definition of a tart sounds amazing: “just a cookie with some pudding on it.”
  • Obligatory Han-dishin’-it-back quote: “I didn’t know she could take b-tch to the next level!”
  • “We’re roommates, both single. Quelle surprise.” Caroline you’re the best.
  • Max’s chef name: Cuchita Bonfire.
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4 responses to “2 Broke Girls, S3E9 “And the Pastry Porn”: A TV Review

  1. I realize how out of control the Stray Observations got this week, but this was a legitimately solid twenty-something minutes of television that coupled good writing and direction with solid acting and great delivery. There was so much to write about I didn’t have room to praise Caroline for once again being comedic MVP.

    Oh, and no Cheesecake Menu this week, everyone. Nothing worth making the feature this time around.

  2. Pingback: 2 Broke Girls, S3E10 “And the First Day of School”: A TV Review | Culture War Reporters

  3. I don’t think I need to tell you that I also enjoyed this episode. I’ve only been watching since the beginning of season 3 and I definitely feel that this episode had an entirely different feel than anything I’ve seen so far. The legitimate emotion and character progression was surprising and surpassed the expectations I had for this show.

    I think it’s interesting that you started out your review by saying “It’s like this entire episode was written to make me shut up already” because the first thing my wife said after watching this episode was “what if the writers of the show are reading Evan’s reviews?” This episode really addressed a lot of the complaints you’ve voiced and I’ve felt.

    I thought the string of “your face” jokes was delightful. As you said, Kat Dennings really turns up the acting in the episode and I thought the jokes were not just funny but also showed just how flustered Max was.

    Also, the fact that she hides the pamphlet with her porn is super funny. As is that Tumblr you linked. I am dying looking at that.

  4. Pingback: 2 Broke Girls, S3E12 “And the French Kiss”: A TV Review | Culture War Reporters

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