As soon as I saw the promo pictures on the CBS website I began dreading this week’s episode of 2 Broke Girls. “And the Inside Out Situation” centres entirely around LGBT discrimination and political correctness, and let’s just say that the writers on this show have not exactly shown the tact of John Oliver and co. at Last Week Tonight or the biting satire of the South Park people.
From the very beginning things look rough, as the LGBT character they chose to put front and centre, I, introduces themselves:
“To be clear, I am neither he nor she, mister nor misses, male nor female. And the only part of me that is transitioning are my heels from day to evening. I am simply ‘I’. And I cannot be labelled. I am gender fluid.”
The issue with this is when the audience chooses [and/or is prompted] to laugh. After the first joke, the reference to heels, is a given. The second, on the other hand, comes right after I tells the two girls that they are gender fluid. Now this is a word that has garnered a good amount of negative connotations in the past few years, but that is problematic to say the least.
All of this of course falls in line with co-creator and showrunner Michael Patrick King who believes that there is ultimately nothing that can’t be poked fun at. While it’s true that humour is a great way of exposing the inherent ridiculousness of bigotry, among other things, the main issue is that so many of the jokes on 2 Broke Girls start out with asking the audience to laugh at racial minorities, members of the LGBT community, etc. and do a very poor job in transitioning that into laughing with them.
While Max embodies King’s theory that no one is free from being roasted her comments towards I go far beyond simply being microaggressions. As a follow-up to one of Caroline’s comments about pieces she quips to I, “Yeah, we’re still not even sure you have one.” The audience laughs along, and the idea is introduced and strengthened that, hey, gender fluid people are weird and we can laugh about it.
After I is turned away because Caroline doesn’t want their cupcakes used in performance art a large number of LGBT people begin protesting their business [“No cake equals hate!”]. The difficulty with Max and Caroline having to prove that they’re not bigots is that so much of the way Max interacted with them actually did border on hate speech. Okay, I realize that sounds strong, but the fact is that for both transgender and gender fluid people having a complete stranger comment on what’s in your pants is a literal nightmare. Caroline also doesn’t help much with her aside that “the gays will hate us forever, and when I get an interior I want it decorated.”
Both the girls and the show’s writers try to offset all of this by having them be approached by the Family Foremost Foundation, a thinly veiled Westboro Baptist Church analogue. When the two girls are provided with a cheque for $10,000 they decide to stay and collect it before being informed that “right now millions of people are watching as we stream live around the world.” Ultimately they decide to, well-
– lock lips for the first time since the finale of the second season. While it’s ostensibly a brave move on both of their parts it ignores the fact that mere seconds before they were more than okay with taking this money from what’s pretty clearly a hate group.
Back at the diner I apologies to both Max and Caroline for being “a little overly sensitive” and all is well. Their last line is equally troubling as well, though, with Max elaborating on her approach to life by stating that “At the end of the day we are all just trying to get by” and I replying with “Bi. Now those people I don’t trust.” The fact that bisexual people very commonly face erasure from both sides of the hypothetical fence is, of course, entirely overlooked.
Overall the entire episode is pretty troubling, beginning with a the mockery of a gender fluid person and ending with said character doing all of the apologizing. The show’s referral to “the gay community” overall is simplistic at the best of times, and is protected from scrutiny by King [or at least he would like to think so], himself a gay man.
Current Total: $215.
New Total: $110. There’s a large cupcake order for I that presumably goes to waste, and then another 500 cupcakes that they baked for the FFF without payment. While that’s a huge loss, the Cher impersonator said that the former protesters took up a collection for the girls. Either way it’s a lot of downs, one up, and no actual cash amounts explained onscreen.
The Title Refers To: A bad transgender joke that was ultimately written out, probably.
- I gave up on the 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu with Season 4, and here we are with a cold open that focuses on Caroline
forgetting to wear pants.accidentally tucking her skirt into her underwear. Thanks to Jen, in the comments below, for the correction!
- They remind Han of when he saw his mom’s sideboob, for whatever reason.
- I’s performance art involves asking audience members to eat a pretty pink femme cupcake, only to find a cocktail wiener hidden inside.
- “Well, I don’t have to stand here to tell you how upset I am. That’s what Yelp is for.”
- Caroline tries singing some Les Misérables to calm the protesters and does a passable “I Dreamed A Dream”.
- Not mentioned above, but important, the drag queens among the protesters. The Cher impersonator is Chad Michaels, who starred on RuPaul’s Drag Race and received a fair number of lines this episode.
- Terry, the first member of the FFF that the girls meet, is played by Travis Schuldt, who I will perpetually recognize as Keith Dudemeister from Scrubs. Also as Subway and Honda, respectively, a corporate entity in human form.
- Brother Dan, the head of the FFF, cites Max and Caroline as “the girls who are standing up against the deviants, the divorcers, the scientists, the hiphop lovers, and [pause] the doobie smokers!”
- A funny short joke this week! “I can’t keep up with all these drinks. I’m running out of tiny umbrellas!” / “How will you get home if it rains?”
- Pop Culture Put-Downs: President POTUS Barack Obama and Presidential “hopeful” Donald Trump are on the receiving end of the writers’ jabs this week.