Before we get right into the review, I want to spotlight a fact you may not be aware of: there’s a chance 2 Broke Girls may be cancelled. According to the aforelinkedto TV By The Numbers the CBS sitcom has recently received ratings below Mike & Molly, another three camera show from the same network that was axed in 2015.
On the flip side of things, it’s been reported that over in mainland China the show is actually doing quite well. 2 Broke Girls is actually the number one most-searched American TV show on Baidu, the search engine of choice for people living there. Following behind it are such programs that you would expect to top the list, like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. Unfortunately a Chinese audience is not going to convince CBS to keep the show around, which is why I’m going to start approaching these reviews from a particular angle, specifically: what can 2 Broke Girls do to save itself?
Snag plotlines straight from reddit?
For additional context, and as you’ll see far below in my “The Title Refers To” section, this episode focuses primarily on a dude who has two dicks, or to put it more technically a condition called diphallia. The context of the above paragraph/sentence is that the 8th highest post ever on /r/IAmA, the subreddit where people as high profile as POTUS Barack Obama field questions from internet strangers, is, well-
-a guy with two penises.
Considering that reddit is the 9th most trafficked sited in the States there’s some small chance that someone in the writer’s room saw this thread when it was posted two years ago. But so what? What if 2 Broke Girls based the premise of this episode from something they found on the internet? In general everything is acceptable so long as it’s done well, so the real question should be if they pulled it off or not-
Unfortunately the answer is a resounding “no”. Things start out very promising, with new guy Owen declining the chance to do the horizontal tango with Max due to having to work early in the morning. This is fairly devastating, given that normally she gets what she wants, sex-wise, and things are further complicated when he says he wants them to get to know each other better first. The kicker, though, is his admission that this is due to him being “not regular down there”.
On the big night, and after some mild flirting, Max shares a few choice tidbits about her rough upbringing. Instead of jumping ship, as she expects him to, instead Owen kisses her, says they should skip dinner, and admits that he is a big fan of fire safety. They have sex and she sees his two penises.
The real issue comes about when Max tells Caroline the next day, which in turn leads to everyone else finding out as well. They react predictably, up until Caroline actually responds with “Max, you can’t be serious” after hearing that her friend really likes Owen. Is his condition honestly supposed to be some kind of dealbreaker? It comes so far out of left field that [continue baseball analogy here]. Then there’s Owen’s understandable, though never plainly stated, betrayal at having his secret made public. Following that up is Max being relatively sad, which feels awkward due to the little we’ve seen of him and their relationship.
That chain of events in general isn’t bad, and is in fact a sitcom staple, but the actual execution is botched because the stakes are so low. We don’t actually care about Owen or his relationship with Max enough to want it to stick around. On that same note, we’re not disgusted enough by Owen and his diphallia to side with Caroline and get why she doesn’t want them together. There were some pretty choice puns dropped about having two dicks, but those puns need to be able to coexist with a strong narrative.
I actually went into this thinking that Sophie and Oleg would receive more of a focus this episode, especially since [and again, I mention this below] I assumed the title was in reference to her ovaries and such. Unfortunately their arc feels tacked on, with Sophie being afraid of the gynaecologist, or more accurately the potential reveal that their problems with childbirth stem from her womb and not Oleg’s testicles. This is another go-to for sitcoms [see: Scrubs‘ “My Own Personal Hell”], with a strong foundation of anxieties built on respective virility/fertility issues, but it’s never given quite enough time to really develop into anything significant. Come the end of the episode we find out that pregnancy is a in fact a possibility for the couple, any small present conflict immediately solved.
I certainly don’t have any issue with 2 Broke Girls trawling reddit, tumblr, or even 4chan for material, but if their comedic mechanics are so poor that they can’t adequately handle a simple shared-secret-ends-relationship storyline then things are looking grim. To offset that, however, is the fact that the cast continues to excel at physical comedy, and somehow manage to act better as an ensemble with each and every passing episode. There are bright spots for sure, but the problem spots needs to be addressed if the show doesn’t want to go the way of one of CBS’ last three camera sitcoms.
Current Total: $174.35
New Total: $140.00. Where hast thou gone, $34.35? Was Max’s pay docked due to her smuggling out bologna? We’ll never know.
The Title Refers To: Owen’s diphallia and not, as the promo pictures let on, Sophie’s reproductive organs.
- As evidence of the cast’s strength when it comes to physical comedy, the cold open had two great moments with: Han attempting to give Max a pat down-
- -and Oleg catching the bologna from Han and just flinging it back into the kitchen.
- Caroline gives birth to a roll of toilet paper. At least it wasn’t another fish this time.
- She’s also caught by Max and Owen uncontrollably spraying white cream everywhere while frantically closing a laptop and no one says anything about it. This is the most restraint the show has ever shown in its entire runtime and it shocked me to my core.
- “Geez, one guy doesn’t wanna sleep with you and you’re sweatin’ to the oldies?”
- I was really impressed by Max drawing pictures of penises on camera, but angling the paper just enough so that censors couldn’t bust them for it.
- “Could be anything, in Moscow I saw this amazing penis freak show, ‘Ripleyovich Belive it or Nyet.'”
- Caroline’s options as to what Owen’s “down there” could look like: gnarly, wonky, truly haunting.
- “What if it’s not Oleg’s swimmers . . . what if it’s my pool?”
- “I wish I could afford Scruples, this is ‘Scrumples.'” My favourite joke of the entire night.
- “You too- I mean one!“
- “The only case in which two dongs make a right.”
- “Well Max, I guess he’s not the one, ‘cause he’s the two“
- Pop Culture Put-Downs: Not much here, either. Time to find a new feature?