2 Broke Girls, S3E24 “And the First Degree”: A TV Review

firstdegree

The season finale to any show is, to put it bluntly, important. It’s the culmination of several episodes, hours of television, and must assure viewers that their time was ultimately well-spent. Narrative arcs being drawn to a close is a given, and many series are burdened with the added responsibility of this installment potentially being their very last. It needs to work as a cap to the season, but also possibly for the show as a whole.

Seeing as 2 Broke Girls was renewed for a 4th season two months ago, the latter issue was not one the writers had to grapple with. The problem is that even when concentrating on the bare minimum of what’s expected this finale barely passes. Kind of like Max Black and high school. Flawless Segue Achieved.

Look, I’ve laid it out pretty clearly in the review from two weeks ago, but past season finales have not had this problem-

  • Season 1 –  they meet Martha Stewart, a gigantic leap forward when it comes to them opening their cupcake store
  • Season 2 – the decision is made to open a new store in a hidden room adjacent to the rest of the diner [given their old location having a car in one wall]

-this season ends with Max finally passing a US History final and getting her GED [high school diploma]. It’s not so much that it barely meaning anything to her, it’s that it means next to nothing for Caroline as well. As an episode of 2BG there’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s actually funnier than most [as the hefty Stray Observations below would attest to]. The problem is that this needed to be more than that.

There’s certainly content there that has the possibility of going above and beyond the age-old message that Caroline supports Max and they have a generally healthy relationship. Ex-history teacher now-principal Mr. Huck doubts Max and sees that he was wrong about her. In that alone there’s an exploration of a father figure in her life that’s not Earl, or maybe even her realizing that she doesn’t need validation from others [not when she has such a great support group, more on that in two paragraphs].

What’s most upsetting is that they actually build towards something that could be extremely significant. It’s not that we find out a little more about Max via the revelation that she was raised in Rhode Island [and is not NYC born-and-bred, as I’d previously believed], but that the show teases an emotional moment and then reneges on that promise.

Mrs. Black has long been a figure in the girls’ lives, if only because she’s constantly being brought up as the reason Max had a nightmarishly awful childhood. There’s a mix of resentment and apathy towards that woman, and when Caroline forces her best friend to invite her to see Max graduate with the Northeast High Class of 2014 I got legitimately excited. This could be the kick in the pants the show needed to shake up the characters! This could give us something to look forward to this fall!

She never shows. Instead the gang from the diner enters through the gym doors as Max’s surrogate family, a barely-fleshed out [barring Caroline] group of characters who do their very best to form any semblance of a loving, cohesive unit. While viewers may believe otherwise, the truth is that Han, Sophie, Oleg, and Earl only ever come together to support exactly one of the two title characters. Without her they’re nothing, and only pop in and out and as needed.

But that’s me criticizing the show as a whole instead of solely this episode. As I said earlier, it’s not a terrible twenty-some minutes of TV, and if I were grading these I might actually give it a B+ [scaled against the show as a whole of course]. Given how things end, I have no idea what to look forward to in this upcoming season, or if I should at all.

For those of you who tune in week after week, I am going to be sticking with this. On one side of things, there’s the fact that I do not ever give up on shows, even after my love for them wanes to close to nothing. On the other this is the first show I’ve reviewed, and tracking its progress is an experience I think I need. On yet another side these pull in the views like crazy.

I’ll see all of you loyal readers, if there are any, this fall. I’m going to keep watching and writing about 2 Broke Girls, and if you want to keep seeing what I have to say I’m more than happy to have you.

Current Total: $2,814.

New Total: $2,572. I guess bus tickets are pretty expensive? Google tells me you can snag tickets from NYC to Rhode Island for as low as $25 each way. EDIT: Halane in the comments points out that they must have had to pay for staying over at the motel as well.

The Title Refers To: The first degree Max Black ever receives, seeing that she never received one from pastry school.

Stray Observations:

  • Due to Oleg’s diploma guy Caroline is now a real estate agent, a French citizen, and a licensed pilot.
  • “Water fountains? Gross. In private school we never bent down to put our mouths on something unless it had a yacht.”
  • Google Glass: for looking through and buying tapioca on Amazon.
  • You just knew that you were going to make a “Huck you” joke after hearing about the history teacher’s name.
  • “C’mon, Max. I haven’t waited this long to hear someone say ‘Yes’ since I was at school for the deaf.”
  • “Don’t look at me like that, Max. I’m a fun person, I taught myself the Dougie!”
  • Oleg’s realization that women can vote is not only true to his character, but also pretty funny.
  • “Oh my god. You know the toilet isn’t just there as a suggestion!”
  • Hector, the kid taking the history final alongside Max, is as dumb as rocks. “Ay yo, this place is filled with tiny tables, yo.”
  • “I’m going to ignore that, because if I don’t I will weep.”
  • Max’s mnemonic devices are fun.
  • Her babysitter was a prostitute named Tiny Marge who used to watch Sex and the City with her in a sketchy motel.
  • She was also 1.5 months premature.
  • “Thank you, Amy. It’s hard to imagine not hearing that voice every day for the next four years.”
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: Sorry, nothing to see here, folks!
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14 responses to “2 Broke Girls, S3E24 “And the First Degree”: A TV Review

  1. Max’s mnemonic device:

    In 1775 Paul Revere warned which two men that the British were coming to arrest them?

    “In the Beastie Boys song ‘Paul Revere’ he had a horsie and a quart of beer. Sam Adams is a beer and if you have too much you end up giving a John a Hancock! Sam Adams and John Hancock!”

  2. I am not sure I agree… I mean, I know that the degree is not a big deal plot-wise, but I think it is huge in Max’s life. Even though Caroline pushes her and helps her to study, she faced that exam alone. It is the first time that we see Max going for something and getting something tangible in return. Now she has a diploma and she also has more confidence in herself. Max never thinks much about herself without Caroline. Nothing has ever proven to her that she is worth it. Now she has a degree that reminds her that she can make it. That she is smart. That if she puts effort in something, it can pay off.

    It is also nice that Caroline pushes Max to get the diploma. Most of the time, all she encourages Max to do is for both of them. This was completely selfless and it was nice to see Caroline making that decision.

    I think that Mrs. Black not showing up was a great moment too. If she had showed up, it would have kind of contradicted what Max thought about her. It would either have been a moment of redemption or a moment of disgrace. I wouldn’t like a redemption of her character right now, when Max is still coping with coming out of her tragic childhood. And I would have hated it if she had ruined this huge moment in Max’s life. I think that the slight disappointment mixed with warm appreciation the viewer experiences when the diner family shows up instead of Max’s mum is truly moving.

    I think this was my favourite episode of the season: the humour was not very offensive, the character development was great and the plot felt solid.

    Regarding the money, maybe she had to pay something for the exam, since she is not enroled? Also the hotel room. I don’t know, I don’t even pay attention to the random money numbers anymore.

    • Eesh, of course the motel. I’m always missing something, huh. I’ll fix that up top.

      I really like the observation you made about Caroline pushing Max only when it benefits her, like the cupcake business or attending pastry school. Really interesting take on it, and one that I think holds up for the most part [she got Max to break up with her cheating boyfriend in the very first episode, which wasn’t for her own sake].

      In general, I do think that this is one of the best episodes of the season. It’s pretty funny overall, and while the plot meanders its fairly solid. My expectations were definitely high given a finale, and had this taken place anywhere else in the season I probably would’ve spoken very highly of it.

      We may just have to agree to disagree about Mrs. Black. I don’t mind the diner gang being depicted as Max’s real family, but it’s a message the show has pushed a lot already; I don’t really think we need the reminder. Even if Max’s mom didn’t show up to graduation maybe they could’ve cut away to her wanting to but not being able, something/anything to hint at what to expect next season.

      Anyway, thank you very much for your long reply, and for reading!

  3. Hey Evan! I just watched the 5 last episodes of 2BG (in Spain the show ended just one week ago) and honestly, I arrived to your blog because I search in Google “2 broke girls why max broke up with deke”. And your review was absolutely brilliant so I needed to read your thoughts about this last episode.

    Ok, so I´m here in this post now, and I totally agree with you: yes, for a regular 2BG episode, this one was really funny and I enjoyed it; but for a season finale I´m sorry but I´m dissapointed. I don´t know what to expect for next season. Of course I´ll watch it because I love the show, but I had high expectations from the previous season 1 and 2 finales. Also don´t ask me why, but I felt from the start Max´s mom was not going to show up.

    By the way, one HUGE MISTAKE I noticed in this episode: how Max doesn´t have her high school degree, but in episode 5 season 1, Caroline helps her to pay her college student loan? I searched in Wikipedia, and it´s clearly stated: Caroline resolves to clean up her roommate’s credit by repaying a student loan that Max won’t reveal in what it is majored.

    I imagine in the US is the same as here in Spain: you graduate from high school, then you can go to the university; you don´t graduate, no college for you. Am I missing something here?

    Sorry for the long post! I was so excited to find a blog with such extense reviews and details about this show I wanted to share my thoughts. And of course, I´m already following you Evan! Thanks and have a nice day!

    • Jenny, I think your name was? I deleted the repeated comment, sorry. You would be surprised by how many people find my reviews by Googling those exact same words. The fact that it’s a mystery to so many people makes it pretty clear how poorly handled the end of their relationship was.

      Seeing as how I started reviewing these halfway through the second season it’s not surprising I missed that bit about Max’s huge loan from back in Season 1. Good catch! Guess I’ll have to add it to the long list of other inconsistencies I’ve caught so far.

      Then again, the idea of Max somehow getting into college in spite of never obtaining her GED isn’t exactly unbelievable.

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I take everything I review pretty seriously, and that definitely includes so-so sitcoms like 2 Broke Girls. At the very least I believe that it can be a decent show, and I watch each episode with the hope that it’ll surprise me in a good way. So glad you enjoyed what I had to say about them.

  4. I just caught up with 2BG, and for a lot of it I’ve been following along with your reviews, which I’ve been enjoying almost as much as the show. I acknowledge all the flaws you’ve pointed out, but it’s all made worthwhile by Kat Dennings’ enormous snark.

    I forgot about Max’s student loan too! But I think it may be more likely for Max, that rather than going to college without graduating high school, that she managed to get a student loan without going to college. I don’t know how, but I think it’s safe to say that Max is more clever than she gives herself credit for, and perhaps with Caroline’s influence she’ll start using her powers for good instead of evil.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words about my reviews, Sean. I really appreciate it.

      Your idea about Max somehow getting a student loan without going to a post-secondary institute of education is actually pretty genius, and merely one example of the many great things they could do with this show if they tried. By and large there aren’t really any bad characters, just writers who aren’t coming up with a lot for them to do.

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