2 Broke Girls, S6E11 “And the Planes, Fingers and Automobiles”: A TV Review

planesfingersautomobiles

2 Broke Girls is not exactly a show that I would call jet-setting, let alone, uh . . . taxi-setting. I mean, sure, they’ve gone off to Rhode Island and even Paris, but for the most part this is a sitcom that revolves around either The Williamsburg Diner or the recently renovated Dessert Bar. In this episode, however, the girls take a page from Sun Wukong and embark on their very own journey to the west [just look it up, it’s a great reference].

Despite Max’s sobering realization last week that things between her and Randy are officially donzo we open up, after what I believe is an unprecedented “Previously on 2 Broke Girls” segment, with her announcing that she’s off to LA to save their relationship. “And the Himmicane” marked a real low for the character, with half of the titular duo actively deluding herself that the breakup was in fact just a break. Watching “And the Planes, Fingers and Automobiles” I kept noting how much stronger Max appeared compared to the last time I saw her, but also observed that it was still in service to keeping things with Randy going. 

Caroline spins the quest to save . . . Mandy? Rax? [I like the latter’s double entendre] into a vacation, since the Dessert Bar needs to be heavily renovated anyway after the hurricane damage. Since Max strong-arming Han into letting them use his recently acquired Toyota Yaris results in him chauffeuring the two the diner is left to, Earl and Oleg, “a real murderer’s row.”

A predictable series of mishaps has them go from Yaris to 18-wheeler to single engine plane, and while that’s all fun and games one brush with death after another what’s far more compelling is the reason they’re on this trip to begin with. Regardless of the vehicle Max is constantly stalking Randy on social media, and has a miniature crisis when she sees a finger on his shoulder in the last split second of a Snapchat story.

I mentioned just a little earlier that I thought Max was stronger this episode, and that’s certainly true. She creates a goal for herself and doesn’t let anything get in her way, including the extremely high chance of dying in a plane crash. The thing is that her obsession with Randy, and the fear that he’s already moved on, are so palpable. There have been a surprisingly high number of emotionally vulnerable moments for Max this season, and it’s made her a much more compelling character. Whereas other sitcoms have boiled their characters down to their base elements by now 2 Broke Girls actually appears to be imbuing one of its leads with more depth, a laudable feat in its sixth season.

As the plane starts to nosedive, with the girls ostensibly having to make their own way to Texas from wherever it lands, it feels like a metaphor for Rax [yeah, I’m sticking with it]. Max Black is really doubling down on this working out and there doesn’t appear to be any going back.

Speaking of going back, the diner manages to not burn itself down in their absence. It’s actually pretty entertaining having the rest of the cast interact with one another, especially when Sophie, who’s taken over as a waitress, actively tries to fill the hole they left behind. When Earl asks her why she’s calling him “girl” she replies matter-of-factly that she’s just “calling [him] a woman like the girls do with Han, except he takes it!”

Oh, also the finger belonged to Randy’s mom, so no big deal.

Current Total: $5,521.62.

New Total: $3,521.62. When the plane starts to lose control pilot Sloppy Joe [currently uncredited on IMDb] tosses out Caroline’s suitcase which is holding “all my clothes, all our money, our credit cards!” She is also reported to have gotten extra money from the insurance people because she told them she and Max were pregnant. Either way, the loss of the two grand likely stems from the now-missing suitcase.

The Title Refers To: The 1987 John Hughes comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which also neglects to use the Oxford comma. The choice to insert “Fingers” in lieu of “Trains” is due to the finger Max is consumed by for much of the episode.

Stray Observations:

  • Sophie got into a fight with Barbara’s friends in the ball pit, but assuming their her peers age-wise they never should’ve been in there to begin with.
  • Oleg once ran a pretty successful jerk shack: “We sold Jamaican-style chicken [pause] as a front for full-release massages.”
  • “Can I interest anyone in a side trip to Pine Creek Gorge? If you love the Grand Canyon you’ll think Pine Creek Gorge is . . . pretty good.”
  • Caroline and Han rocking out to the 1997 Hanson hit “MMMBop” was easily the standout moment for me:
mmmbop

“What’s a road trip without a singalong?” / “I don’t know, tolerable?”

  • “Good luck phoning the police now, Table 2!”
  • “Wow, you unplugged that phone faster than we unplugged my Aunt Esther. She was a mean lady.”
  • “I can take you as far as Missouri, home to street violence and a large percentage of America’s Oxycontin epidemic.”
  • Apparently truck driver Becky “with the good hair” was part of Seal Team Six, more specifically the group that killed Osama Bin Ladin.
  • Beck and Han end up
  • “And that’s when I married my high school sweetheart. Well, she was in high school, I was 38.” Gross, Sloppy Joe.
  • This actually marks, ostensibly, the second time [the last one was two episodes back] Han has had sex this season, which I believe is an all-time high. Sure, each tryst is played up as a joke, and his fling with Becky is no exception, but it’s something.
  • Oh, I like this, too-” Caroline realizations that she enjoyed steering both an 18-wheeler and a plane were delivered with an infectious excitement.
  • Sophie and Oleg having sex in the diner? “Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. Hell, it wouldn’t be the eighth time.”

Every time I think of the relationship between correlation and causation I think of the 552nd xkcd strip:

“Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’.”

It’s one that passed through my mind again while I was watching “And the Planes, Finger and Automobiles” due to a relationship I observed between Max’s lines and her own emotional distress. This feature, repeating weekly, is dedicated to those connections which may be directly related to one another but, then again, may not be.

State of the Correlation/Causation

It’s apparent throughout this episode, as well as the ones preceding it, that Max is undergoing a lot of emotional distress. You could even argue that it reaches a peak here due to her taking drastic action to revive a relationship for what I believe is the third time.

HelpGuide.org lists the symptoms of stress as being:

  • Depression or general unhappiness.
  • Anxiety and agitation.
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Loneliness and isolation.
  • Other mental or emotional health problems.

Given the sitcom format I want to posit that another way this can be seen in Max is a noticeable downturn in her wit and snark. To start with, upon seeing the offending digit in Randy’s Snapchat Story she declares “I gotta finger this out!” Later on in the plane she says the title of the film “Silver Linings Playbook” twice in reference to the positive in what’s an increasingly grim situation. A single mention is understandable, but twice feels out of character for her.

It could even be argued that, as the core of the show, the poor writing Max receives has an effect on the other characters in her orbit. When referring to his Yaris Han initially says-

“Um, this thing is smoking more than my grandma at the bingo finals”

-then, mere minutes later, he follows that up with-

“…’cause that car is deader than the conversation at the Jolie-Pitt Thanksgiving this year.”

Again, a single analogy to describe the state of his vehicle would be more than enough, but we receive two. The question I would like to introduce, but don’t necessarily have the answer to, is whether or not Max’s precarious emotional state, which ultimately makes the show more interesting, could result in a decline in comedic writing, making the show less funny. Please consider and discuss amongst yourselves.

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2 responses to “2 Broke Girls, S6E11 “And the Planes, Fingers and Automobiles”: A TV Review

  1. Pingback: 2 Broke Girls, S6E12 “And the Riverboat Runs Through It”: A TV Review | Culture War Reporters

  2. Pingback: 2 Broke Girls, S6E14 “And the Emergency Contractor”: A TV Review | Culture War Reporters

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