Context is always important. As far as the television landscape in the past two decades we have an expectation as viewers that the midseason finale, which typically airs right before the holidays, marks a significant moment ideally meant to draw the audience back in the new year. The problem with 2 Broke Girls, at least recently, is that being pushed around in the fall TV schedule has resulted in that episode not landing with the weight that it should.
Take Season 5 where the episode at the halfway mark, “And the Storytelling Show”, ends with the two girls heading out to Hollywood to sell the film rights to Caroline’s life story. That would have been a phenomenal way to wrap things up in late November or early December, but instead aired mid-February.
While likewise plagued with scheduling issues, Season 6’s 12th episode actually opens up with another “Previously on 2 Broke Girls“, establishing that the titular duo is in the middle of their quest to get Max and Randy back together. To be fair the last episode of 2015 did end with them plummeting towards the ground in a single engine aircraft, but it’s not like we ever thought they wouldn’t survive the experience. It’s difficult to blame the showrunners for just trying to roll with the punches, but decent pacing is a good way to keep people watching and hopefully buoy flagging ratings.
As for the actual episode itself, it really is just another step in their trip across America. After surviving their flight with Sloppy Joe the girls sneak onto a riverboat to the Big Easy. That’s a fun nickname for New Orleans, Lousiana, by the way.
What follows is the most luck I’ve ever seen when it comes to televised gambling, fictional or otherwise. And I’ve probably watched a below average amount of poker tournaments. Max approaches a roulette table and bets the entirety of her 43 boob dollars on red and wins consecutive times, later doing the same on 18. A little while later Caroline bets a little and also has the white ball land on her number of choice. I feel like anyone who has actually been in a casino knows that that’s not how roulette works, so it was just bizarre how easy they made the whole thing look.
Anyway, one thing leads to another [everything lost due to the vessel causing their chips to slide to the wrong number, being hired as waitresses and then quickly fired] and they end up getting kicked off the riverboat. They then end up meeting who else but RuPaul Andre Charles of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame who agrees to take them to Texas, which is where they’re already headed.
I’ll never understand how 2 Broke Girls lands their celebrity guest stars. As far as I can tell RuPaul has never had any significant relationship with CBS, the network that airs the sitcom. I also wouldn’t say that the show is particularly LGBT-friendly, in spite of Michael Patrick King [who is openly gay] being largely responsible for its continued presence on TV. You know what, now that I mention it he may actually be the reason.
As for what the “diner people”, as Caroline so fondly refers to them throughout this episode, are up to they actually end up having a lot of fun. Sophie and Oleg are walking Chestnut, which is a horse that the two “broke” girls own for some reason, and begin making bank when a woman offers to pay them to let her children take a picture with the animal; Han and Earl also get a cut when they discover what’s going on. They appear to have a lot of fun with it, which is actually what makes it so fun to watch. It’s the closest 2 Broke Girls has gotten to feeling like a “hang-out sitcom” in a while [note that the article that defines the term has a so-so opinion of them].
But what about the actual driving force of the episode? After all, watching people enjoy each other’s company is entertaining, but only to a point. When it comes to her ex-boyfriend Max is somehow convinced that “he’s genuinely upset” [cue Snapchat of him saying “I’m just genuinely happy right now”]. Randy is still the end goal here, and no amount of near-death experiences is going to dissuade her from reaching him. At least she has Caroline’s help. And I guess that of world famous drag queen RuPaul.
Current Total: $3,521.62.
New Total: $500.00. Caroline’s purse is empty when they find it amid the remnants of their luggage, and with it all their money in credit cards. They also find out at the nearby convenience store that someone maxed out said cards on phone cards and cigarettes, which accounts for $1,500 of what’s missing.
The Title Refers To: A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, which is a semi-autobiographical collection of three stories by Norman Maclean that was published in 1976. More popularly known is the 1992 film adaptation that was directed by Robert Redford and notably starred Brad Pitt. Much of this episode takes place on one such watercraft.
- There’s some pretty egregious Popchips product placement from Max, but really Popchips and all Popchip-type snacks are delicious so I’ll let it slide.
- Caroline calls the diner asking them to send money, but the connection is choppy and all they hear is words like “private plane” and “money”. It’s a solid bit.
- “She hung up. Or maybe her butler snatched her phone from her!”
- Max finds out that New Orleans is close to Texas because of her McDonald’s placemat.
- Caroline’s southern accent is predictably bad, but also kinda funny.
- Black kid whose arm she grabs to sneak onto the boat: “I have a girlfriend.”
- “Executive decision: horses can eat a bunch of pudding!”
- Oleg says “I don’t think the ewww was necessary,” in response to a woman not wanting to take a naked photo with him. It’s the genuine hurt that sells it.
- “Is there anywhere in the world where I don’t have to be a waitress?” / “Hooters?”
- Riverboat employees are not allowed to gamble, “or as of last week sexually harass each other. Thanks a lot, Craig.”
- Horse pic money spent on: Sophie, spinny wheels for Barbara’s baby carriage; Earl, wireless headphones; Han, lifts.
- In lieu of tucking tape RuPaul opts for some Slim Jims and a Ho Ho, he doesn’t “have to fit into couture today.”
For many 90s kids the childrens’ network Nickelodeon holds a soft spot in their hearts. While it’s been nice to see alumni from the channel do well [Ariana Grande] and less nice to see them crash and burn [Amanda Bynes], what’s particularly refreshing is seeing a performance that feels like it harkens back to that simpler time. That said, a new feature this week that I hope to repeat for the rest of Season 6 is:
2 Broke Girls Character Who Had “All That”
If you don’t get the reference All That was a live action, sketchy comedy-variety show, similar to SNL, that run on Nickelodeon for over a decade. This year the feature is dedicated to Lucas Hazlett AKA James AKA the guy behind the register at the convenience store who tells Max and Caroline about this riverboat headed to New Orleans AKA an actor who 2paragraphs didn’t help me out with this week.
Hazlett’s performance has a very strong Kel Mitchell, of Kenan & Kel, vibe, and it helps that we first see him working in the service industry [like the actor did in 1997’s Good Burger]. He masterfully portrays a delightful cluelessness, most evident when he tells the Max and Caroline that the person who bought up all the phone cards and cigarettes was named Caroline Channing.
“That’s my name!”
“Aw, you got a dude’s name!”
He then leaves them to lock up so that he can confront Tim, who placed a voodoo curse on him. Before the girls are escorted off of the riverboat James makes one last appearance: