2 Broke Girls, S4E13 “And the Great Unwashed”: A TV Review

greatunwashed

Between the two titular characters [pun never intended] it should be plainly apparent to you all by now that Caroline is my favourite. Even if Max wasn’t as unfunny and abrasive as I personally find her the former heiress to the Channing fortune is still brimming with just the right amount of optimism and grim awareness about the reality of life to charm anyone. That being said she’s hasn’t received a lot of character work this season and I actually believe the show has been poorer for it.

“And the Great Unwashed” is all about Caroline trying to figure out who she is, or rather, who she wants to be. That sounds deep, I realize, especially for an episode of 2 Broke Girls, but stay with me. Is she a waitress? If she is, what does that mean for the one-time rich girl?

The episode begins with her receiving the Williamsburg Diner Award for “Best Waitress” and bemoaning the title. After the cold open she’s revelling in having one of their customers refer to her by name hair colour. All of a sudden her life has newfound meaning, she’s been recognized for her work. Then she sees herself captured in a photograph, immortalized in her polyester uniform in stark black and white. What’s more, the smile she wears with said uniform is openly mocked, said to be “a study of tragic, foolish optimism in a hopeless, dead end life.” That, and no one is bidding on the portrait. We’re back to square one, her occupation [and the identity it affords her] are an inescapable nightmare].

We’ve come such a long way since those that first season when Caroline actively struggled to grow accustomed to living a life of squalor and frugality. Since then we’ve gotten quite a bit of her acknowledging that this is where she is in life now, and that’s that. Ce n’est pas grave. What’s done is done. It’s easy to coast along through life and forgetting about past aspirations only to be stopped dead in your tracks by a grim reminder of where you are.

Ms. Channing is lifted out of her funk [sorry if that last paragraph put you into one] by Nola, photographer and diner regular, telling her that “a good photograph captures the truth”. No one buys that Caroline could ever be a waitress, so no one plans to buy the image. While this is a great way to leave the cast at their established status quo it does beg the question of what she is supposed to be.

If Caroline isn’t meant to be a waitress then what alternative is there? Is it independent cupcake shop owner? Office administrator at a pastry school? Trendy apparel vendor? If she’s not meant to don the polyester uniform that she’s wearing in all of the 2 Broke Girls promo imagery then what is in her future? And where is Max in all of this?

I’m bringing up a lot of questions that I obviously can’t answer, and that I honestly doubt the writers’ room has come up with at this point. It was nice seeing Caroline relive, however briefly, that struggle with her identity as a formerly wealthy socialite and her present position in the service industry, but if we’re meant to take it seriously then we need to see where that conflict leads her. If it’s to the realization that she’s happy where she is for now that’s fine, but we’re going to need to know sooner or later when she decides enough is enough.

Elsewhere, Sophie accuses Oleg of using a “boner/burner phone” to cheat on her. It turns out that he was using it to speak to his mother, which we all more or less assumed. At this point no one really believes that he will do anything but stay faithfully committed to their gross relationship, but it is still an effort to give the two characters something to do, which I will commend them for.

Current Total: $3,675.

New Total: $2,675. This makes no sense to me, as I was led to believe that Nola gave them her photograph of Caroline for free [and not for $1,000].

The Title Refers To: A term coined by Victorian novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton for the lower classes. Also the name of Nola Anderz’s photography exhibit.

Stray Observations:

  • The Williamsburg Diner Awards are no Dundies, I’ll tell you that.
  • I thought that Beth Behrs had gotten a haircut in the cold open, but realized later that she just straightened her hair. Also she got it cut in the first episode of the season.
  • Oleg got the Foreign Film Award for always being covered in a foreign film.
  • I wish I had a gif of the face Han makes whenever Max says something snarky to him.
  • “Don’t buy batteries from that guy unless you want your heart to stop on the bus.”
  • Watch a better show about an Asian restaurant owner being stingy about croutons! Catch Fresh Off The Boat on Wednesday night on ABC!
  • “No man. Just me in here with my vagina and my photographs.”
  • Nola just wants to eat her croutons “without the vaudeville stylings of Shecky and Nosy.”
  • For all the jokes they make, Han is really not all that much shorter than Earl.
  • “Maybe you should hang yourself in the bathroom like I thought you would three years ago.”
  • Eesh. That last joke was made so much darker when Earl said he lost $20 on that bet.
  • Maybe It’s Maxoline: Maybe I should retire this feature?
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: And this one?
  • Dated References Galore: Not really anything here, either…
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