I feel like I have more to write about than usual this week [unfortunate, since I’m a little late to this review due to my having a job now], so let’s get right into it. To summarize this episode in a sentence, Max and Caroline have not been paying their rent and are being forced to sell their property to a real estate corporation; not wanting to do so the two go to Caroline’s makeup mogul Aunt Charity to ask for some . . . financial help.
The first topic I wanted to delve into a little bit was the show’s humour, not in how it chooses the easy route on almost every joke but how it seeks to push the bar in its content. For example: a semen joke eight seconds into the episode. Co-creator and executive producer Michael Patrick King said that he “[considers] our jokes really classy dirty [ . . . ] they’re high lowbrow.” While the show has largely steered away from the rampant rape jokes which cropped up multiple times per episode int he first season, they certainly haven’t stopped walking, and often crossing, the line between “classy dirty” and dirty.
Take Max’s joke about how bubblegum flavoured lip gloss [which was wearing when she had her first kiss] helped to get her an A in class. It’s no secret that her character has slept around a lot, for little to no reason, but hinting at a minor [I’m sure her first kiss was before the age of 18] locking lips with a teacher is uncomfortable at best. A few minutes later she likes a tube of lipstick to a dog penis.
“How much is too much?” is a question that Gordon and I discussed once in regards to stand-up comedy, and we came to the conclusion that edgy humour is only as good as what its meant to accomplish. In the case of 2 Broke Girls that’s apparently to elicit cheap laughter. As far as I can tell, I mean. This has never been a laugh-out-loud show, but it’s Max’s snarkiness [as overbearing as it is at times] and not her disregard in screening her sexual partners that drew me to her to begin with. 2 Broke Girls may be trying to brand itself as an edgy comedy à la Family Guy, but needs to ask itself if they can continue to counterbalance that with the heartfelt moments they’ve been trying to inject into the show.
As a final note on the show’s humour, Aunt Charity had the upper two layers of her skin removed to look two years younger, which actually made me queasy just looking at her. Physical gross-out humour may be something 2 Broke Girls is thinking about adding more regularly in stretching the limits, which is a decision I’m currently unsure about. After all, one of my favourite episodes was the eighth one of this season, where Caroline yanks a needle out of her arm and proceeds to spurt blood all over the walls of an egg donation clinic.
Finally on to what was the biggest moment for me. So I’ve been writing about what the point of the “Current Total” and it’s accompanying ka-ching at the end of each episode for a while, so imagine my surprise when I saw it change so drastically in this episode.
Caroline coerces her aunt into signing over $25,000 to cover what the real estate corporation says they’ll need to keep the property, but finds out later that the cheque doesn’t clear because taking advantage of drug-addled relatives [Charity was on morphine lollipops to dull the pain of not having a face] isn’t exactly an ethical business practice. Then her and Max sign over the store.
All of the first season was leading up to “Max’s Homemade Cupcakes,” and suddenly we realize that the girls are starting over from scratch, especially since Max declares that they have just enough money to pay back everyone they’ve borrowed from. Soon after a little bit of curious greenscreen work in the windows behind Caroline’s head is explained when a car crashes through one of their walls. It looked pretty realistic, too.
The “New Total” leaves the girls with a single dollar to their names and us as an audienec wondering what exactly is next for them. This is a hard reboot of the status quo, though there are hints by both Charity and the real estate woman [who was deaf, by the way] that maybe starting out smaller is the way to go.
Whatever happens with the rest of this season, I have to give 2 Broke Girls my grudging respect for reigniting my interest and curiosity in the show.
- The audience was going bonkers over Sophie today, and she wasn’t even really doing anything. Maybe an exec decided to re-send the memo that she’s supposed to be this generation’s Kramer.
- Han has been very into memes lately. “Ermahgerd!”
- “It’s obvious! She’s obsessed with her brother and she saw your being born as his love being taken away from her.” Morphine lollipops make Max smarter.
- The greenscreening was particularly suspicious in that is showed an actual street outside their window, and was actually filmed against a wall I don’t think they ever showed prior to this episode. Which leads me to wonder if they’d planned a car crashing into it from the beginning, which I hesitate to believe if only because I don’t think they have that much foresight.
- 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: I feel like CBS is forcing me to eat my words when I assumed that they were having the two girls show more skin to draw in viewers. Not much to report here, once again.
More Writing On Sexual Standards
The dearth of creativity that went into titling this post aside, I thought I’d tackle yet another double standard that appears to exist in our culture. To begin with, let me refer you all to my primary example, Season 4 Episode 5 of Top Chef: Masters, “Holly Madison’s Pool Party.”
In this case, the background behind the show itself is pretty inconsequential: 12 award-winnings chefs compete against each other to raise money for charity, et cetera. On this season the chefs spent the vast majority of their time in Sin City [Las Vegas, aka where Gordon resides] and rubbed shoulders with quite a few celebrities. The superstar for this episode was Holly Madison, of Playboy’s “The Girls Next Door” fame, and their task was to cater her pool party.
Enter James Oseland, editor of Saveur and one of the show’s judges. At the party musclebound hunks abound, and after one is encouraged to sit next to the critic he somehow manages to ask “how are you guys gonna like, keep the, this thing [abs], going with, wha- all this food.” As he refers to the man’s midsection he gives it a few pats, prompting responses like the following [which I found on The A.V. Club, of course]:
And Larrybaby’s points are all incredibly valid. Thankfully the guys and girls who peruse the TV Club reviews weren’t the only ones to notice this, and celebrity chef website [yes, it is a real thing] The Braiser did a short bit on the episode. Oseland’s antics are described there as follows:
Of course, the article then goes on to describe how they’d love Oseland to be their celebrity BFF, but we won’t go into that. The point I’m trying to make is that this man, who, yes, is a homosexual, acted in a way that was inappropriate. More than that, he wasn’t stopped but was actually encouraged by those around him with cheers.
I’m not saying that I dislike watching homosexual characters on television, or that they make me uncomfortable; far from it. Max is easily my favourite part of the sitcom Happy Endings, and his adventures in romance are both engaging and hilarious. I’m still waiting [and I know I’m not the only one] for Raj on The Big Bang Theory to come out of the closet, and more and more I’m realizing that it really is just art imitating life. Living in Toronto I’m very aware that there’s a gay population out there, and it just so happens that TV has finally gotten around to representing them.
What I don’t want to see is gay people, men or women, being handsy when they shouldn’t be. I don’t really appreciate it in heterosexuals, and the same extends to all other orientations. If James Oseland thinks a pool boy is cute that is fine. If he wants to touch him, that is also fine. If he touches him in front of others and without the permission of said pool boy, to flirt openly in a physical way, that is not fine. It’s kind of gross.
There’s not much more I can add to what larrybaby said, because he [or she, I don’t know] sums it all up really well. I’m not a homophobe by any means, but I’d like the world as a whole to keep people to the same standards. Let’s not cheer someone on when they paw at another person they’re attracted to. If we’re going to acknowledge homosexual urges and relationships as on par with heterosexual ones let’s treat them the same way.
I end with another comment highlighting the actions of both Oseland and his fellow critics [context: the hunks were asked about sit-ups, and one actually did push-ups for the critics’ benefit a little later]:
Posted in bizarreness, lgbt, media, sex, television
Tagged abs, comments section, double standards, flirting, gay, Holly Madison, Holly Madison's Pool Party, homosexuality, hypocrisy, J Mann, James Oseland, larrybaby, physicality, pool boy, push-ups, S4E5, Saveur, sexual standards, television, the A.V. Club, Top Chef: Masters, touching, TV Club