2 Broke Girls, S5E22 “And the Big Gamble”: A TV Review


An obvious part of my excitement for tonight’s season finale was the fact that it affords me a break from reviewing this show weekly, which is much appreciated given how busy my life has been lately. As far as the actual content of the episode there was finally finding out if Max and Randy have a future, with getting to see more Asian characters appear on the show [which I only realized when putting together the header image above] trailing far behind.

Let’s just say that I’m glad I wasn’t particularly excited about the latter. To get that out of the way before really digging into the plot points 2 Broke Girls continues to be so bad at dealing with racial minorities, particularly when it comes to Asians. This is particularly surprising when taking into account how many have been featured lately, at least in comparison to other groups. In this season alone we had a flamboyantly gay hotel manager in LA [Alec Mapa] and an anal-obsessed realtor [Camille Chen], both of whom had a decent amount of lines and screentime as side characters go.

While it is very fair to say that the majority of bit parts on 2 Broke Girls don’t allow for much more than a few quick, cheap laughs, regardless of race, the problem becomes noticeable when focusing on the main cast. Han Lee is the only Asian character among them, and can be summed up in a single word: pathetic. He exists to be the butt of every joke, and when every other Asian face can be boiled down to “dramatic” and “really likes anal sex” the optics don’t look too great.

Joining those two is Hwang Hwang, a Korean gangster played by Jimmie Saito. He’s meant to be a threat to Han’s well-being but never actually feels dangerous, and after watching his demo reel sounds like the director told him to play it up, and then just kept repeating that over and over and over again. Anyway. This show not doing well with race. Not exactly news.

As far as the episode itself we have the girls well on their way to finishing their Dessert Bar with enough money left over for what Caroline calls a “cash cush” [which Max is disappointed to find out is not for buying kush]. Ultimately the vast majority of this is spent bailing Han out from a crushing gambling debt owed to the aforementioned Hwang. I could go into this more, but they really double down on Han being a pitiful excuse for a human being, arguably past what most people would consider funny. The end result is that Max and Caroline are joint owners of the diner, with their latest business venture still on its way to becoming a reality. Their dreams haven’t actually been diverted at all, it’s just that their rainy day savings are gone.

Speaking of buying part ownership of the diner, this episode was one of the realest installments of 2 Broke Girls I’ve ever seen. Given his impending return to LA Randy has been trying to talk to Max about what future they have together. Upon finding out that she’s willing to invest thousands at such a short moment’s notice but can’t commit to very much at all with him he decides to head back early, buying her a ticket to visit him whenever she likes.

They part ways right outside the diner, and it’s here that Kat Dennings absolutely murders every line written for her. When Max says “We’ll figure it out, we’ll make a plan” you feel it; it’s a raw vulnerability I haven’t seen on 2 Broke Girls before now. Randy tells her that “the real distance between us is where we are in our lives” and when she responds [“What distance? I’m 3 inches away from you.”] it elicits subdued laughter from the studio audience, muted due to the sheer emotion being portrayed.

Dennings’ delivery of “Okay, that felt really good-bye-y”, right before Randy walks down the street and hails a taxi, is allowed to stand on its own. There’s no audience reaction, no quick cuts, or even any musical accompaniment. She simply stands there for a moment before walking back inside.

As a sitcom 2 Broke Girls needs to deliver a certain number of jokes every minute, but it also needs us to care about its characters. This may be the most I have ever truly cared about Max Black, and it’s masterful work on the part of everyone involved, even Michael Patrick King, who directed the episode.

It’s a fitting end to their relationship, with Max’s inability to commit torpedoing a good thing. Season 6, whenever it rolls around, should begin with the Dessert Bar up and running. I’m not sure what kinds of stories the two girls co-owning the Williamsburg Diner are going to open up, but provided that every now and then the raunchy jokes and lowbrow humour can make ways for honest emotional beats like tonight consider me fully on board for this fall. Until then, everyone!

Current Total: $31,000.

New Total: $1,000. Yeah, Han owed that guy 30 big.

The Title Refers To: How Han lost all that money: through gambling. You could say that them bailing him out was also a big risk, but it’s definitely never framed that way. It’s obviously a huge favour, just not one that appears to be particularly dangerous for Max and Caroline.

Stray Observations:

  • There’s a really excellent joke somewhere in the cold open, which is about a diner with crayons and an adult colouring book. The show hits it just a little too hard to be really effective.
  • “Who says that a pregnant woman can’t have sex on the kitchen floor of a diner?”
  • The money spent prior to having $31K left over was spent on: a painter, an electrician, a plumber, and on bribes for the inspector.
  • As small/short jokes go, this is one of the best they’ve ever done:

“Girls, I’m in a bit of hot water.”

“What happened, you fell into a teacup again?”

  • The sport Han was gambling on? Women’s tennis. If only he knew which Williams sister was the good one.
  • “Enigma, please.” A line that Earl, a Black man, says for laughs.
  • It’s difficult for me not to compare Hwang singing Carly Rae Jepsens’ “Call Me Maybe” in a karaoke lounge to a minstrel show.
  • Continuing that same show is Han singing “Last Dance” by Donna Summer in a truly craven performance. To be fair, he has until the song is over before he loses a toe due to not having the dough.
  • Max had four jobs in 6th Grade and still had time to follow Smashmouth around the country [not the band, a meth head her mom really liked].
  • “Hey, Bossladies.” Another line that Earl, a Black man, says to two White women, this time not for laughs.

2 responses to “2 Broke Girls, S5E22 “And the Big Gamble”: A TV Review

  1. Pingback: 2 Broke Girls, S6E1-2 “And the Two Openings: Parts One & Two”: A TV Review | Culture War Reporters

  2. Pingback: 2 Broke Girls, S6E22 “And 2 Broke Girls: The Movie”: A TV Review | Culture War Reporters

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