2 Broke Girls, S5E9 “And the Sax Problem”: A TV Review

saxproblem

Let me start by saying that it’s about time. I’m not sure how many 2 Broke Girls viewers realize this, but Garrett Morris was an original SNL cast member. With that in mind it’s almost shocking how little the show has decided to do with Earl. On a typical episode I can count all of his lines on one hand, and by the time the twenty-something minutes are up I still have a few fingers left over.

“The Sax Problem” that’s of concern this week is strictly Earl’s, and in much the same way Sophie and Oleg got the most character development in “And the Basketball Jones” last Wednesday he takes centre stage [no pun intended]. Given how often Morris has been relegated to the sidelines I was actually apprehensive about how he would do being given so much heavy lifting, but I never should have doubted him.

There are a few cracks made here and there about Earl’s age, which is pretty par for the course, but for once he’s not just an extremely old father figure of Max’s. It’s revealed that he used to be a part of a jazz band, The Early Birds, and that they’re going to be playing an anniversary show at a bar called Ruby’s. The first conflict and complication is the titular owner of said establishment, who didn’t invite him due to his having cheated on her with her sister.

Max and Caroline are able to talk Ruby down pretty effortlessly, and also solve the next problem: his not owning a saxophone. It’s the third issue that they appear to handle, but that is in fact 100% Earl.

Somewhat understandable for a man who hasn’t played a show in decades, he gets stage fright. Mores specifically, his performance anxiety stems from the fact that he used to perform high, and he hasn’t hit the hard stuff [heroin, in this case] in 30 years. Soon after this harsh realization dawns on him he escapes to the bathroom where he camps out for, as far as the show tells us, an uncomfortable amount of time.

While it’s Caroline stalling that inevitably brings him up on stage, what the show glosses over [apart from an offhand remark] is that the decision not to shoot up smack is entirely his own. Sure, the girls do their best to check up on him, but they never tell him to stay away from the junk. He returns from his conspicuous absence completely sober. Ultimately this episode nestles the story of one man’s commitment to staying clean within the confines of a TV show that leans pretty heavily on the comedy of a White girl scatting. Considering the material that he’s given Morris gives his performance 110%, and hopefully this is a sign of much more to come.

The tale of Sophie and Oleg’s struggle to conceive chugs steadily along, with fertility drugs being their latest effort to get a bun in her oven. A syringe of the stuff appears to be the show’s motivation for showcasing that route, with the prop obviously being mistaken for heroin. I should probably take the time to mention that this is some pretty dark subject matter, all things considering. Weed jokes get thrown around a lot, by Earl in particular, but actually quipping about heroin with a syringe on screen can get uncomfortable.

Lastly, and possibly leastly, near the end of the episode Caroline tells Max that she’s beginning to feel like she’ll never get the chance to do what she’s best at. While it’s always good to be reminded of their dream deferred, it’s also a reminder that we haven’t seen them work on that in weeks. They can talk about what they hope for all they want, but it would be nice to see them actually do something about it.

Current Total: $280.

New Total: $80. I’m actually pretty thrilled that there’s an obvious reason for the subtraction this time around. The $200 obviously went towards the “cheap sax” that Max found for Earl.

The Title Refers To: Earl’s problems regarding playing his saxophone sober in front of an audience.

Stray Observations:

  • To start on an extremely high note, this is one of the best cold opens they’ve ever done. Caroline delivers a very special dessert [to the wrong couple] and Beth Behrs plays it extremely well-
    caroline excited about pie and engagements“It’s an engagement ring! He hid it in the pie!”
  • -that being said, these Stray Observations are like 80% pretty decent lines.
  • “Yes! Yes, I’ll marry you. I know I said I was cool with waiting but I wasn’t cool with it!
  • Max and Earl’s joint suicide pact: they smoke a joint and then kill themselves
  • “Look out PTA meetings! I’ll bring the ‘P’, she’ll bring the ‘T&A.'”
  • “Ah, this is a little awkward. But Sophie, I was unaware I’d be injecting your badonkadonk.”
  • “Now there’s a heartwarming tableau that Norman Rockwell somehow missed.”
  • “You always go straight to dead, Max. But thanks for sending the paramedic, I needed help finding my Apple TV remote.”
  • “I just have to ask, you do think we’re going to get out of here one day?” / “Oh sure. In body bags.”
  • Particularly notable: Jackée Harry’s Ruby is the only character besides Sophie to receive “whoos” upon entering a scene.
  • “There’s only one old woman who scares me and his name is Steven Tyler.”
  • “Hold my hoops!”
  • “Earl, you played with Ella Fitzgerald?” / “It’s possible. Or else I talked to that picture. I did a lot of drugs.”
  • “You know when someone else says something stupid but you’re embarrassed?” Too meta for me, Oleg.
  • “Dammit, have I been living on the subway a-gain?”
  • Beth Behrs does a pretty good rendition of “God Bless the Child”, but Garrett Morris doesn’t fake playing the saxophone very well for someone who studied at Juilliard.

 

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