Season premieres are all about expectations. On one hand a show needs to be instantly recognizable, a challenge for ensembles with shifting casts [I’m looking at you, Community]. On the other hand it also needs to live up to the promise of more to come. As Max and Caroline fall to the floor in the cold open, their clothing aflame, Oleg exclaims “now scissor a little, it can’t hurt” while hosing them down. That’s the first box checked off.
As for the second, there appears to be significantly more attention paid to continuity. While 2 Broke Girls season premieres have always had to follow-up on the last episode in regards to their business, both Parts One and Two of “And the Two Openings” play out in the shadow of a character I’m pleased to see is still with us.
That’s right, while on the business side of things the two girls are part-owners of the diner and finally looking to make the Dessert Bar a reality [a lot happened, okay] what’s really been on Max’s mind is Randy [Ed Quinn]. Compared to past love interests Deke and Nashit his connection with Dennings’ character has been both strong and, surprisingly, long-lasting. Having reviewed how Season 5 came to a close I can only take his continued presence, albeit via FaceTime, as being a net positive.
Randy’s departure from NYC led to some of the best acting I’ve ever seen on 2 Broke Girls, and demonstrated that the showrunners were willing to portray emotional beats beyond those of the titular duo with one another. It even surpassed the heart-to-heart talks Max has had with Caroline when it comes to her expressing genuine emotional vulnerability. I haven’t forgotten that this show is a comedy, and as such focused on humour, but these quieter moments really allow for a more varied pacing while also reminding us that these characters are people, too. That relationship manages to stay alive, in spite of how others refer to it, in the form of X-rated video chatting, and even that feels sexy and exciting due to Max’s enthusiasm about the activity.
Continuity is also present in the reappearance of guest stars, with street performer/puppeteer J. Petto [Andy Dick] being the first. Caroline describes him as “the puppet guy who tried to sue us two years and three businesses ago by saying we injured you,” which I find fascinating. “And the Broken Hip” was the 17th episode of Season 2, meaning that those two years on the show have spanned four actual years in real time. Regardless, it appears that the writers are taking note of past events, which adds to the feeling that these are actual lives being lived onscreen.
It’s also helpful as it helps explain the bad vibes between J. Petto and Max and Caroline. While he’s turned away as a potential bartender at their soon-to-open Dessert Bar he manages to retaliate by denying them a liquor license while working his day job. Part One wraps up with our title characters realizing that since the Dessert Bar is their severely remodelled [essentially unrecognizable as the same space] cupcake shop, which is connected to the diner, which has a liquor license, they must in turn have one and thus their problems are solved. Soon after which Sophie’s water breaks, since she was pregnant for much of last season and continues to be [at least up until Part Two].
Overall the first installment of the 2 Broke Girls Season 6 premiere hits the ground running, and builds up enough momentum to warrant a double-episode. There’s actually enough going on that squeezing all of this into a half hour time slot would feel rushed and abrupt, while never feeling like they’re padding things out too heavily, either.
The Title Refers To: The first opening is obviously that of their new business, the Dessert Bar, which does not take place in these twenty-or-so minutes.
- “I’m not used to seeing you girls in clothes. [beat] Things just sound creepier when you’re old”
- There’s a really big shakeup early on where Caroline states that they’re “just gonna look better”, ie. not wear uniforms anymore, due to their upgraded roles in the diner. Those outfits are ruined by the aforementioned fire, and thus the visual status quo is maintained.
- Not content with tearaway pants, Oleg’s underwear also features the same utility.
- Han describes Max’s breakup with Randy as “more indulgent than Beyonce’s Lemonade.”
- Caroline sticking out her tongue while slowly unfolding J. Petto’s resume is simply delightful. Beth Behrs is a large part of the reason I watch this show [the hits I get on these reviews is also sizable].
- No one knows what a Dessert Bar is, and as running jokes work it’s not too bad.
- Another running joke is the many part-time jobs Han has taken to working in order to fully buy back his diner.
- Max took the batteries out of their carbon monoxide detector. “Do your eyes feel bloodier than usual?”
- “If you didn’t want to upset me then why do you chew salad so loudly?”
- In response to Sophie saying “you get it” in reference to vibrating panties:
“I do not, and I will not act that like I might.”
“You know you’re a puzzle, that I have no interest in solving”
- Earl says that Max and Caroline are “as unlucky A F,” which stands for “as Freddy”.
- Also I didn’t mention it, but Sophie’s water breaking is out of control. It’s obviously very fake, but also gross in just how much liquid is pouring out.
- Referring to Han as a “mini driver” is the cleverest short joke this show has ever done.
Whereas “And the Two Openings: Part One” was largely occupied with the logistics of their Dessert Bar opening, “Part Two” is focused on Sophie’s childbirth. It’s the culmination of a storyline that took up much of last season, with the Eastern European couple navigating the twists and turns that come with wanting to be parents.
While that journey was a fairly comprehensive one, with the couple discussing such options as adoption due to their seeming inability to have children naturally, both Sophie and Oleg continue to be relatively flat characters. Once the former gives birth [in a hospital and not a Polish forest, to her delight] she’s obviously overjoyed, but how being a mother will change her isn’t touched on, or even really hinted at.
She is concerned that Oleg will regret missing their daughter’s entry into the world and fakes the whole thing with Max and Caroline’s help. Their charade results in him passing out, but it’s not out of actual apprehension or nervousness about becoming a father. Instead Oleg hits the deck due to Max’s description of what’s going on in Sophie’s nether regions; the word “ooze” is used a lot.
Sophie and Oleg have never been particularly three-dimensional, but as the longest-lasting couple and now as parents they bear a lot of storytelling potential. The introduction of a child on any TV show is also a pretty big deal, and if 2 Broke Girls enters into its 7th, 8th, and even 9th seasons it remains to be seen how it will be able to balance its trademark raunchy humour with the presence of a toddler.
The second returning guest star is 2 Chainz, who Max and Caroline met on a plane once. My review of that episode is far from favourable, but it’s interesting to note that it takes place directly after the one in which Andy Dick’s J. Petto is first introduced. Having Season 6 premiere with two guest stars from Season 2 can’t be a common move in the sitcom game, and it makes one wonder why they were selected out of the handful available [though it’s not like Lindsay Lohan has anything else to do].
Similar to his first outing on 2 Broke Girls 2 Chainz is given very little to do this time around, largely due to J. Petto showing up to explain that liquor licenses do not in fact extend to all businesses on a shared property. As a result Max and Caroline’s Dessert Bar will be closed for the next 14 business days as they await their actual liquor license [because a Dessert Bar without alcohol is just . . . a bakery?]. Having put in his time 2 Chainz bounces, though Earl tagging along with him allows this episode the rare achievement of passing what I’m calling the Black Bechdel Test.
One particularly important aspect of Petto’s announcement, besides the Dessert Bar opening being put on hold for almost three weeks, is that he also slapped them with a $25K fine. Given that Max and Caroline already dropped 3 Gs to help get Han out of his gambling debt [again, just skim my last review] they’re not in a place to pay it. With that in mind they immediately rescind full ownership of the diner to Han, which leaves him with the responsibility of footing the bill.
In the first episode we saw the girls’ apparent escape from their hideous waitress uniforms only to be seen wearing them mere minutes later. The second firmly reestablishes the status quo, albeit with Han owing quite a bit of money [and likely resulting in him keeping his half-dozen part-time gigs]. While this swift reversal may appear frustrating to some, a reestablishment to the status quo or a “familiar situation” is a facet of prototypical story structure. Dan Harmon, of Community and now Rick and Morty fame, lays it all out in a write-up titled “Story Structure 101: Super Basic Shit“. Conflict and change are essential, but ultimately so is a return to the way things were.
In that same way the Dessert Bar is a brand new business venture for Max and Caroline, but it’s really just one of a long line of brand new business ventures. Last month I came across an article that wondered “Will the ‘2 Broke Girls’ Ever Not Be Broke?“, positing that the duo might even “make millions” one day. While it concludes with the idea that their riches lie in the emotional bonds made, an idea more sickly sweet than even their cupcakes, I have to disagree. 2 Broke Girls‘ premise lies in its name, and I personally don’t believe they’ll ever make it until their last season wraps up.
For me one of the appeals of 2 Broke Girls is watching two young women try their hardest to make it in the world, and to never let their failures become setbacks. It’s cheesy and idealistic to be sure, but it also communicates the idea that it’s hard out there for everyone, sitcom characters included. While their comedy has never really been my bag that narrative does drag me back time and time again. I, for one, am interested to see how it runs its course in Season 6.
Current Total: $1,000.
New Total: $535. I can’t think of what they could have spent money on that would have cost them hundreds of dollars. Possibly on actually acquiring their liquor license?
The Title Refers To: The second of the two openings is, in all likelihood, Sophie’s vagina, through which a child exited this episode.
- “Don’t leave me in there alone, you know I see dead people!” In case you’d forgotten that Earl is old.
- Han’s part-time jobs include: flower deliveryperson, Lyft/Uber driver, drug dealer [molly specifically], and dog walker.
- Oleg sold rare porn collection to get Sophie a fancy birthing suite, which I suppose is some kind of progress.
- Sophie’s birthing snack is Let’s Potato Chips, and you would not believe how much a bag costs.
- Welcome to 2 Broke Girls, Barbara Kachinsky Golishevsky!
- The dog Han was walking “fornicated its way across Greenpoint.” To which his friends respond “Been there,” and “Done that.”
- 2 Chainz is bummed that the Dessert Bar’s opening was cancelled. “Guess I’m gonna have to grab a bottle of rose and head over to Mrs. Fields again.”
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