2 Broke Girls, S4E12 “And the Knock-Off Knockout”: A TV Review

knockoff

I swear, “And the Move-In Meltdown” really spoiled me. Feel free to read the review of last-last week’s episode yourself, obviously, but let met just reiterate here that it felt like 2 Broke Girls was really mixing things up. Oleg and Sophie were carrying the narrative and creating and experiencing their own emotional beats, ones that Max and Caroline actually had no real part in. If you rewatch that episode you’ll see that they just happen to be around when the finale takes place. They exist in that scene simply to justify the show’s title.

What accompanied that momentary change of pace and plotting for me was actually the pilot episode, which I caught a few minutes of while at my granddad’s. With both of these in mind I was forced to put a lot of thought towards what I wanted from the show moving forward. If the reality is that I’m going to be reviewing every episode until its eventual cancellation [I predict a minimum of three more seasons] I should at the very least be tempering my expectations. Ideally I should keep them reasonable, while still considering how the show could improve.

Han, in particular, has come a very long way. Granted, he’s come to Max and Caroline’s rescue more than once at this point, but he’s given an unprecedented amount of dialogue this week in an anti-bullying speech he delivers to a cafeteria full of prep school girls. Here it is, with its very noticeable overuse of the word “little”:

“You see girls, the bad thing about being bullied is that every time it happens it steals a little piece of who you are. And then, if it happens enough, little by little, you become just a little less of who you were meant to be. And that’s not cool.

And these two girls up here without knowing it, i’m sure, stole a little piece of max and caroline when they stole their little idea. And that’s so not cool.”

It’s the fact that it’s not played up for laughs that makes it a big step for the character, and having a student take the mic right afterwards keeps Max from snarkily interjecting and killing the moment. Put in the context of that pilot, it also presents a character who no longer speaks heavily accented English. Seriously check it out, it’s cringe-worthy stuff-

-what’s more, we even have the sassy waitress promising to pull back on the sass a little bit. It’s not much, but it’s progress!

Right before we get into the episode itself, I also want to comment briefly on Max’s character progression from that pilot to the present day. What struck me more than anything else was how, well, normal she was. Yes, she’s introduced by trash-talking two customers wearing woolen hats [touques, as we call them up here], but it’s because they’re rude to her to begin with. What’s more her voice doesn’t bear that affectation it currently does. It’s hard to pin down, but I can really only liken it to the difference between Marshall Mather’s speaking voice and Eminem’s rapping voice. In focusing on this alone it’s a pretty great example of how the character has been “flanderized”, or essentially turned into a caricature of their original self. The following comic illustrates that very effectively [and is also the image used on the TV Tropes page I just linked to]:

Click the image above for the full “Evolution of Fictional Characters by Medium” on Cracked.com

It all comes back around to “And the Move-In Meltdown”, because whereas Max has been reduced [in part, not as a whole] to a quippy snark machine the exact opposite has happened to the supporting characters. Oleg was the perverted fry cook who is now moving towards a [presumably] lifelong relationship with Sophie, a heavily accented Polish woman who . . . okay, so she hasn’t progressed as much. Still, it’s an interesting observation, and generally optimistic as not every character is being boiled down to their very essence.

As for the episode itself, we’re still chugging right along with this whole t-shirt arc. Max and Caroline sell a fair amount of them [accounting for all their profits, as you can see below], so it hurts that much more when they realize that someone out there has copped their design. Add insult to injury when it turns out that the thieves are children. Rich children.

Now unfortunately this doesn’t lead to all that much material for Caroline to work with, which is strange given that they share the same sort of upbringing. Sure, she gets a few choice lines in here and there, but it’s not what you might expect.

They’re difficult, which is to be expected, leading them to coercing Han into pretending to be their lawyer [see his nifty getup above] to combat the C&D suit leveled at them. Their conflict with the high schoolers culminates in the speech that I already typed out, word for word, up above. Really the only reason I got this far is because 2 Broke Girls did something amazing. Now let me be upfront and say I only saw this episode once, but I think 2 Broke Girls was subtle!!!

SUBTLETY

See those two girls down at the bottom? They have those bandages on their faces because they got nosejobs. Because they’re rich. That’s the joke. That’s the visual gag and [as far as I can remember] neither Max or Caroline say anything about it. That is incredible. And it’s a nice downplayed piece of humour as well.

Now that I’ve written almost 900 words [that were more or less] about this episode it’s time to wrap things up. While Sophie and Oleg do continue their own arc with wedding planning taking place they don’t arrive at any form of narrative conclusion. Sophie is searching for a wedding planner and the show actually ends without her finding one. It’s not even really emphasized that her search was for naught. Yes, it’s nice that they haven’t been completely forgotten, but having a such a half-hearted attempt at a B-plot seems equally bad.

Oh, also Han ends the episode by saying “Back to normal!” and wow I hope that isn’t true.

Current Total: $3,395.

New Total: $3,675. Seeing as Caroline talks about doing decent business with their shirts, I’m guessing they sold 14 for $20 a pop.

The Title Refers To: Knockoff shirts that were potentially cutting into their profits, and the “knockout” of Han’s speech, I think?

Stray Observations:

  • According to the cold open women do not like beards.
  • The woman working at the store selling the knockoff tees is doing a PhD in Social Ecodynamics in Western Civilization.
  • One of the girls’ names is Kemberly, “with an ‘E'”.
  • I sure am glad they didn’t make fun of that one girl’s weight/size.
  • “It’s like a bad eighties movie. I don’t know whether to date James Spader or teach this town how to dance.”
  • Wow, they were really whooping for Sophie this episode. I say that a lot, but really though-
  • “Caroline” is Sophie and Oleg’s safeword. It’s the one word they would never say during sex.
  • Max thinks the lawyer in the subway “only does accidentes.”
  • Han dressed up as Sprout from the Jolly Green Giant commercial. You laugh, but he won $500.
  • “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a better actor than Max!”
  • “Their charity is bullying. That’s like Kanye West trying to raise money for laying low.”
  • “First, your lawyer looks like the teacher on a Disney show.”

    Here’s Matthew Moy on iCarly. Best I could do.

  • If you want to thank Han just send him an edible arrangement, how often does he have to drop that hint?
  • Maybe It’s Maxoline: Nada.
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: Zilch.
  • Dated References Galore [brought it back]: “Wow, you’re carrying more issues than Amanda Bynes.”
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