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2 Broke Girls, S2E18 “And Not-So-Sweet Charity”: A TV Review

This is late because I work now, so sorry about that.

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.

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Stray Observations:

  • 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.
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2 Broke Girls, S2E16 “And Just Plane Magic”: A TV Review

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Now I normally don’t grade my reviews, but after watching this episode I wish I had started back with Episode 13. Without ratings there’s no way of indicating how huge the drop of quality is which occurred between last week and this week. What I am saying is that this was not a good 21 minutes of television. With that being said, this review will take place in the form of a bullet pointed list.

  • Caroline and Max are in the diner and Max snarks at Han.
  • Depressed by the fact that they’re spending their Friday night replacing ketchup bottles, they decide to go to a Ravonettes’ show.
  • [They don’t have tickets, but they feel like breasts should suffice]
  • They get in because Max jokes with a British guy about how a trash can is her boyfriend.
  • After sleeping with him she manages to snag a fancy high-class plane trip to the Grammys for both Caroline and herself.
  • On that plane is Grammy-nominated rapper 2 Chainz [as seen in the picture above].
  • Something about the plane they’re on being the Channings’ [Caroline’s family] old private jet. Also: Max has never been on a plane before.
  • Max somehow breaks the plane when visiting the cockpit and after a quick cut from the two strapping in their seatbelts we see them in a cheap motel.
  • They watch the Grammys while wearing pretty dresses though, so it’s okay. Also they’re taking an economy class flight back to NYC the next day.

And that’s it. That’s what happens. I mean, sure I could mention the fact that the captain of the plane [an old friend of Caroline’s] asks her out on a date which she accepts [at 2 Chainz’s insistence] to ensure their safety in the air. I could also mention that Caroline loves 2 Chainz’s track “Birthday Song” so much that she raps the chorus at least twice in this episode. That ultimately wouldn’t help, though.

I can’t tell, for the life of me, what this episode was supposed to be doing. Caroline mentions that she recently broke up with Andy [see previous reviews] and that Max is easy, so why not spend a night out on the town, and that makes perfect sense. At the end of the episode, however, we’re led to believe that Max’s boyfriend is the British guy [are we really supposed to believe she’s tying herself down?] and that Caroline’s is “Captain Facelift” [he got plastic surgery, ha ha ha]. Are we expected to take that seriously, or not?

Celebrity cameos aren’t a big deal [as it turns out, this week’s HIMYM also featured one by another famous African-American {hello, Black History Month}]; they can be pivotal to the plot of an episode or simply just there for audiences to get a kick out of. In this instance, I feel like CBS asked 2 Chainz if he wanted to be on their show and didn’t know what to do with him when he accepted. Apparently [and “Birthday Song” attests to this] he likes “big booty hos” and sleeping while flying, and that’s about all he really contributes.

Probably the biggest problem I had with this episode [and I echo the sentiments of past 2 Broke Girls reviewer Todd Van Der Werff] is that there was so much potential. Growing up as a poor girl Max never had the opportunity to even sit in a plane, and it’s an understandably foreign experience. Instead of feeling the discomfort of squeezing past your seatmate to visit the bathroom [which has a line outside] or choking down gross airplane food like the rest of us mere mortals she’s instead given hot towels by a French stewardess and eats prosciutto off of a reasonably sized refreshment table. This isn’t something that the show’s audience as a whole can relate with.

What I want now, more than ever, is for Max and Caroline to return to their wacky hijinks of finding ways to make/save money. I miss their adventures of signing up for drug trials and “extreme couponing” and donating their eggs. Most people don’t have great jobs or that much money, and while not [ever] being a great show it was at least relatable on some level. Now we have the two girls travelling on a private jet to the Grammys. 

Maybe this is just an indicator that an EVAN YEONG MADNESS WATCH would have been a good thing to institute after all. I’ve been willing to acknowledge this show’s failing from the start, but this week managed to find even my low expectations disappointed. From what I can tell next week Max and Caroline will break a street performer’s hip. I’m not sure what to expect, but I think doing worse would be a challenge; this was like the Aliens: Colonial Marines of 2 Broke Girls  episodes.

Stray Observations:

  • Outside the Ravonettes’ concert a scalper in a cow costume offers them free tickets if “the blonde one milks [him].” He was waiting all night to say that to someone.
  • On a positive note, Han keeps up the recent trend of having other characters snark back at Max. He nails the delivery, too.

Max: “But be careful, Han female-to-male [sex changes] can be tricky.”
Han: “Welllllllll. You would know.”

  • This was 2 Chainz’s acting debut, poor guy.
  • Caroline’s French accent is atrocious.
  • Much to my disdain, the whoops at Sophie’s entrance are back in full force. Guess CBS noticed how lacklustre they’ve been lately.
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: While posing next to a sleeping 2 Chainz for a picture Max cups her breasts and pulls out a duckface. Later Caroline poses with her booty next to his head, but the two instances really aren’t comparable.

2 Broke Girls, S2E15 “And the Psychic Shakedown”: A TV Review

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Turns out 2 Broke Girls [and the other, better CBS sitcom] took some time off for some reason or another, so last week was a nice break for me. And now we’re back.

SURPRISE: Max and Caroline are in the diner! The latter complains about only getting $2 for her last tip, because it means that they don’t have enough money to buy supplies for their store. Before we move on, I’d like to point out that tips  and surviving on them to bolster a waiter’s/waitress’ meagre salary is great material for an entire episode [see the Ryan Reynolds film Waiting…]; it’s bizarre that this hasn’t come up sooner. Anyway, the girls steal their ingredients from the diner.

There’s also an exchange that occurs between the two that prompts a particular response from me [see gif on the right]:

Caroline: And we have to sneak all this stuff out. Han’s staying late to do inventory.

Max: Dammit, why does he always have to be so Asian?

Cue laugh track. Cue me wishing everyone involved in this show’s writing would die a slow, painful death. Then everyone conspires to help the girls steal from their employer and that’s the cold open for you.

Back in the shop Caroline has found a site where the two can apply for a small business grant. Why they need the money, I don’t know; the last episode ended with them at $4900. Since they’re technically minorities [“according to the last presidential election”] all they need is a letter of recommendation from another start-up business.  Enter Candy Andy, Caroline’s dreaded ex.

Exit Candy Andy, Caroline’s dreaded ex. Apparently he just up and left, unbeknownst to either of the girls. Middle Eastern guy Amir [played by Amir Talai] braves Max’s onslaught of racism to tell them that he helped Andy move out in the middle of the night. He also dishes out just about as much as he takes, which is nice but still not ideal.

Seven minutes in and the premise of our episode shows up in the form of a pushy psychic who talks Caroline into spending $50 on a reading [that she will die alone] and crystal “you can’t snort.” One midnight talk between the girls later and they’ve come to get their money back. Max’s snark causes the psychic to point a fork at them and say “psst”; this means they are now cursed.

As sitcom law would dictate, Max doesn’t believe in the curse while Caroline insists they pay the woman another $50 to nix their bad juju. Then a man jumps out of a window and smacks the pavement near where they’re standing.

Earlier on in the episode Han refuses to sign Caroline’s pre-written note of recommendation due to having morals, a decision Earl negates by just forging his signature as part of a vast conspiracy by all to work for the man but not respect him in the least. Han writes his own letter since he is a decent guy, which reads as saying that Caroline will die alone because she loves business.

After Jennifer Coolidge [Sophie] hams it up like crazy after hearing they’re cursed and Max breaks the glass shelf with all the booze, the girls are back at the psychic’s place. Two “pssts” and the curse is lifted. She does decide to give Max a free reading, though, and it is as follows: a happy life, over $10,000 in her near future [the grant!], and great love and children. Caroline will still die alone, but “with nothing but her great success.”

She’s pretty thrilled about this until they see a mailbox being unbolted from the sidewalk. The mailbox in which Caroline put their grant application. Oh well. It snows like the psychic predicted, though, so Caroline isn’t sure what’s up. The two agree that their readings are two parts of a whole [success + love] and that maybe things aren’t so bad after all. The end.

Since this is supposed to be a review and not just a play-by-play of the episode, let share a few thoughts. Thought #1: this episode was horrible. I do believe that much of the blame for this lies on the writing credit given to co-creator Michael Patrick King. This is probably also the reason for the excessive amount of racist and rape-related jokes this episode. Please remember that this is a man who is sort of a horrible person. For him edginess equates comedy, and it explains a lot of the terrible dialogue that was present.

Lastly, I mentioned in my last review that I’m not sure what the final tally is supposed to indicate anymore. Wikipedia dubs it “Final tally for cupcake business venture,” but shouldn’t it now read “Final tally from cupcake business venture”? The episode ends with them having been shysted out of $100 by the psychic, leaving them at $4800.

Stray Observations:

  • I would actually like to see a lot more of Amir in the future. He had great chemistry with both of the girls, and it takes a talented actor to rise above the material given [and targeted at] him.
  • The audience members cheering at Sophie’s entrance were barely audible, it’s like their hearts just aren’t into it anymore.
  • Max’s essentials: food and the penguin statue at the dollar store that says “Chill Out!”
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: Pretty weak this time around. Caroline stuffs eggs into the front of her shirt. Sophie is dressed pretty provocatively as usual, but I feel that shouldn’t count anymore.

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:

So, naturally, the daytime cocktails start flowing, the croque madames sizzle on the griddle, and James Oseland starts giddily stripping pool boys. Wait, what?! Yes, Saveur editor-slash-very esteemed and shmancy Top Chef: Masters judge James Oseland gets a little on the trashed side of tipsy at brunch and takes matters into his own hands when a cluster of bikini-clad women fail to get a pool boy to take his shirt off.

James marches right on over to the ripped hunk of manflesh (née “Warren”) and strips his shirt right off. And then he grabs another equally buff guy and steals his shirt, too! James Oseland is shameless, you guys.

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]:

jmann

2 Broke Girls, S2E14 “And Too Little Sleep”: A TV Review

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This episode begins with Caroline reminding Max [and the rest of us] that “this isn’t the diner where everything comes with attitude and E. coli.” The fact that the cold open takes place in the cupcake shop doesn’t stop her from snarking at a drumming customer in overalls, though. Insert comment from me about how the show’s centre seems to be moving further away from the diner.

Soon enough Andy shows up, forcing Caroline into hiding [they broke up, remember?]. It also kicks off a fairly decent running joke about how Max doesn’t recall having slept with the guy at the record store. Kat Denning’s delivery of the following line actually made me chuckle out loud:

Andy:  Oh, by the way, the guy at the record store says hi.

Max: Well, you tell him I said . . Who are you?

This conversation also reveals one of the big concepts in the episode: your friends keeping in contact with your ex. Max and Andy have bonded over texting each other pictures of unlikely animal couples, and you can rest assured that it’s going to cause some sort of trouble later on in the episode.

Ah, sorry, I forgot to mention that in this episode Max and Caroline are tired. Tired enough for Max to pull down her pants in the middle of the cupcake shop and for Caroline to doze off while taking orders. This creates complications, of course, when her sleep deprivation causes Caroline to remember that they have an order for 1000 cupcakes due the next day at 10 a.m.

So the girls race out, leaving Han hanging, only for Caroline to kick the shim out from under their oven, rendering it unusable. Fun fact: a shim is “a thin and often tapered or wedged piece of material,” and not a pronoun for transexuals like Caroline posits. Seconds later and the girls race back to the diner they abandoned to use the oven/kitchen there. Instead of being understandably upset, Han and the others are actually really cool about it, offering to stay up late and help finish their order. They’ve really tried to push the idea of them being a more-or-less happy, dysfunctional family, and this approach is more heavy-handed than most.

Also allow me to say that Matthew Moy, who plays Han, kills it this week with the material given to him. Max reaches around his body to show him how to properly ice cupcakes only to have him squirt the sugary glaze all over the place [haha, premature ejaculation joke, we get it]. Moy’s distressed cries of “Oh, oh, I’m humiliated!” really lands here. Check the “Stray Observations” below to check out the other one.

The girls are alone, and just about done with the order when it turns out that Max has lost an earring, presumably in the batter. This forces the two to start destroying the cupcakes to find them, and soon, with bits of baked goods underneath every fingernail, the two are throwing down over Max still talking to Andy and “girl code.”

The scene really stands out due to their argument, which holds a lot more emotional sincerity than most of the feel-good moments on the show. There’s screaming and cupcake throwing and on some level, in spite of the audience laughing and cheering, it feels strangely real, like the two actresses are actually upset at one another.

Anyway, Andy shows up to help and defuses the situation. Him and Caroline end up in the kitchen and talk about how they “glove” each other [why can’t we all use kitchen safety to properly express our feelings?] and while they don’t get back together they ultimately end up in a pretty good place. Another breakup takes place when Max and Andy talk, realizing that they should probably stop texting for Caroline’s sake.

Back at the apartment the girls realize that they had switched aprons, and that Max’s earring was in her apron [on Caroline] the entire time. This is really weird, because this discovery is caused by Max finding Caroline’s phone, which doesn’t jive with her texting with her own phone earlier. Anyway, it’s not really worth picking apart, just generally kind of clumsy on the writers’ parts.

The show ends with the usual ka-ching of the money counter, which I suppose now tallies up the profits from the cupcake shop, shooting up from $900 to $4900 due to their huge order. I’m not sure what they’re aiming for, or what their overheads are, but right now it doesn’t seem all that important to the show as a whole.

As a parting note, did anyone else feel like this episode had a lot of dated references? Sure, hipsters were also a topic sort of addressed in CBS’s other Monday sitcom, How I Met Your Mother, but Max also references James Cameron’s Avatar and the 2010 TLC series Sister Wives.

Tune in next week to read my reviews of a show The A.V. Club gave up on a long time ago!

Stray Observations:

  • Apparently Earl quit doing cocaine last year, at 75. Guy looks pretty good, all things considering.
  • Han’s response to Max telling him he’s 90% head: “It’s not a laughing matter, Max, I broke my mother’s pelvis coming out!”
  • The “whoos” at Sophie’s entrance were extremely subdued this week. (•‿•)
  • Unlikely animal couples mentioned: monkey tickling a parrot, a black dog spooning a brown dog, deer nursing a turtle, labradoodle high-fiving a koi fish, cat and dolphin kissing, Max and Caroline [awwww].
  • 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu: Sophie’s boobs straining to break free from her dress. Oh, and Max pantsing herself in the cold open.

2 Broke Girls, S2E13 “And the Bear Truth”: A TV Review

Last December it was announced over at The A.V. Club’s TV Club that “And The High Holidays” would be the last episode of 2 Broke Girls that they reviewed. As someone who has paid more attention to the show than it probably deserves, I felt that it was my time to take upon the mantle.

The mantle may or may not include a brand new “Evan Yeong Madness Watch” as such features have been put together [and probably for good reason] by the comments section over at The A.V. Club.

The last of the "PILOT VIRUET MADNESS WATCHES."

As a last point before I start, I write this with the assumption that you have a reasonable working knowledge of the show. If not, you can always read the other reviews here.

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2 Broke Girls‘ return to television since its mid-season finale last night opens up where the centre of the show has shifted: the girls’ cupcake shop. Where the cold opens used to consist largely of Max snarking at customers in the diner, the status quo apparently consists of Max snarking  at [this time in asides] a customer at their shop.

The aforementioned woman tastes the girls’ wares with an enthusiasm that borders on the sexual, and it’s revealed that she has an upcoming wedding. Caroline is, as history dictates, optimistic that large sales are coming their way. Max is jaded and skeptical because she lived in a car growing up.

Back at the diner Han is holding some kind of raffle. Max makes a joke about Han being a “big promo,” because, as I’ve discussed before, apparently it is okay to have the long-running theme of calling a character gay when the producer and creator of the show is himself a homosexual.  The prize is a 2-room suite in the country, complete with a fireplace, because “daddy don’t skimp.”

Sophie enters to the usual undeserved round of applause, throws her business card into the goldfish bowl, and proceeds to choose the winning card. Her schemes[?] to win the prize herself ultimately fails when the card she pulls out is for Max’s Homemade Cupcakes.

The complications begin to arise when Caroline tells her boyfriend Andy that “we won a weekend getaway” which he understandably perceives as being for the two of them. This results in Caroline telling both Max and Andy that the other is the third wheel of the trip, and then they’re off to the country.

Lame car games aside [though Caroline gleefully answering herself to Max’s “I spy something annoying”  because she loves to win made me smile] this scene largely serves to introduce the idea that Max believes in alien abductions. That is all.

Original MADtv cast member Craig Anton is wonderful as the pony-tailed man who shows them their room. But my amusement at his presence was quickly stomped by the following exchange that draws laughs out of a possible past of sexual abuse:

Caroline: Come over here closer you big Eagle Scout.

Andy: Well now you sound like my scout master.

I, for whatever reason, did not realize how exhausting it could be doing a blow-by-blow of an entire episode of 2 Broke Girls, so we are moving ahead quickly. I can’t say I was actually proud of guessing what [or in this case, who] the bears in the episode title were referring to, since it’s just so on the nose. The large gay men in this case being named Deke and Derk, who were so pleasant and friendly it was hard not to like them.

There’s a little bit of tension introduced when dinner for two is served to Max, Caroline, and Andy, but the writing wasn’t quite tight enough to pull it off. Max’s eagerness to eat the food on every plate competes with Andy’s desire to share a romantic evening with his girlfriend, and Caroline’s decision to take a relaxing bath and remove herself from the equation was fairly believable but just not very funny. The other two talk over their food to reveal that a) it’s Andy’s birthday, and b) him and Caroline have not had sex in many a fortnight. Max is talked into visiting “Yogi and Boo-boo next door” and then, just as she’s about to leave, they dial up the drama.

Caroline completely forgot Andy’s birthday. Max frantically knocks at the adjacent cabin’s door for the bears to let her in. Max reveals she knew about their dry spell. Max pleads for the aliens to take her away for the love of God please now before it’s too late. In her absence Caroline and Andy are left to discuss the future of their relationship, and the latter is forced to see that the girls’ business clearly takes priority over the two of them. Andy makes his own way home and Caroline goes to join Max who is cuddling with the bears.

Back at the shop, Andy and Carline talk again, and Andy tells her that maybe they should take a break. It’s all pretty well-trod material sitcom wise, but Andy responds to Caroline saying it’ll be hard not seeing him with the line “Yeah, it will be. I work ten feet away” that’s delivered with a surprising amount of heartbreaking sincerity. Max yells for E.T. et al. to take her away when the shop is stormed by the bride’s equally large [and hungry] bridesmaids.

It makes perfect sense that Caroline’s relationship was doomed to fail in light of her work-centric lifestyle, and the fact that Andy remains so close to their shop hints that this isn’t the last we’ll see of them. While not the funniest episode [and yes, they do exist] “And the Bear Truth” does a reasonably good job highlighting a failure to communicate while also featuring two lovable fat gay guys.

The money counter at the end jumps up from $100 to $900, and I suppose it’s just assumed that their wedding deal went through. I’m not sure what they’re counting up to anymore, but it’s good to see their profits go up for once. This is my first time really covering a show [my review of Underemployed was scanter due to its being a pilot] and I hope to pare these down by a lot.

Stray Observations:

  • I first heard about swinging beds just this past weekend, and was thrilled to see one hanging in the middle of their cabin.
  • Max opens up a pair of slippers and, as she walks out, almost sings Granddad’s new shoes song in its entirety before Caroline interrupts her. 
  • Considering how many supporting characters remain in the diner, it’ll be interesting to see how the show deals with Max and Caroline spending less and less time there.
  • A trend I’ve noticed has forced me to start a 2 Broke Girls Cheesecake Menu to highlight when and how the girls show off a little somethin’ somethin’: In this episode, Max and Caroline wrapped in towels in the sauna [Beth Behrs glistening with sweat to increase authenticity].

A Comic Lover’s Opinion on “The Bakersfield Expedition” [Last Night’s Episode of The Big Bang Theory]

I love comics. In no way should this be a surprise to anyone who’s given this blog more than a passing glance. I also love television a lot, and when the two happen to overlap you can be assured that you have my undivided attention.

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about Bleeding Cool’s response to The Big Bang Theory episode “The Bakersfield Expedition”, half of which revolved around the premise that the show’s female cast would be entering a place traditionally closed off to their gender. I was able to catch the show last night and have many thoughts, but my ultimate conclusion is this: It really wasn’t that bad.

The guys, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard are all off to the Bakersfield Comic-Con, so the girls enjoy their weekend alone by having brunch [an idea celebrated by the character we all know is an alcoholic, Penny].  While sitting around and enjoying their croissants and mimosas, Amy states that she doesn’t get why the guys go to these conventions. To which Penny responds:

“The four of them work at a major university, they’re all super smart, how can they still be into something made for 12-year-olds?”

Which did not please me. Having given it a second viewing, however, I realize that it’s a believable response and the perspective many people still have on the medium today. Bernadette suggests that they try to become a part of their significant others’ lives by seeing what the big deal with comics is, and soon they’re all off to their LCS [local comic store].

As the promo advertised, the following does indeed happen:

 

 

 

 

But it’s a quick gag that thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome. Owner of the store and new series-regular Stuart is quick to chastise his socially awkward clientele and is soon talking to the girls about comic book recommendations.

Amy’s direct approach of asking “Alright, well who’s the best super hero?” and Stuart’s haste to nip that line of questioning in the bud was fantastic. There isn’t really any media that’s cut and dry as far as what “the best” is, and his whispered “What do you want to do, start a riot?” communicated well that this is a pretty contentious topic in certain circles.

Stuart also does a great job in saying that there are many different kinds of comics, and a little later on that there are different types of super heroes as well. The character really shines when he recommends to the ladies the incredible Fables #1, about which he says:

“The artwork is sophisticated, it’s intelligently written and it doesn’t objectify or stereotype women.”

Unfortunately Penny ultimately chooses for the group when she looks over and sees an issue of Thor and notes that:

Back at the apartment Amy and Bernadette sit quietly as they wait for Penny to finish the twenty-or-so-page issue. The following exchange occurs:

Amy: “There was a lot of action, the story moved along at a brisk pace, it was overall, what’s the word I’m looking for?”

Penny: “Stupid”

Amy: “So stupid.”

This upset me when I first watched it, but upon finding out the title was Thor, God of Thunder #2, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic I was dumbfounded. The Big Bang Theory has always been really good about keeping their comics contemporary, and the stock in Stuart’s shop actively changes to keep up with what’s new on the stands, but this was something else entirely. Aaron’s new Marvel NOW! title follows the character as he grows from a young, brash god to the hero we all know today and then further on to his role as the future king of Asgard. It’s masterfully written, and features artwork like this jaw-dropping splash page [which also happens to be my current desktop wallpaper.

I’m willing to assume, probably correctly so, that the show was in no way actually referring to anything in the actual book [though it would not surprise me to have an entire page featuring the single word “Krakka-DOOM” in a Thor title].

Then, as the three gripe about the waste of time that is their boyfriends’ [and husband’s] pastime, Bernadette notes that “It’s crazy, they spend hours arguing about things that don’t even exist!” And then things get interesting. Penny mocks the idea of a “hammer so heavy that no one else can pick it up” and then before you know it the girls are deeply debating the fundamentals of who or what can wield Mjolnir.

A lot of good points are bandied back and forth, but the best is easily Penny’s observation that:

“If we were in outer space, anyone could pick up the hammer  because it would be floating around in a weightless environment that’s right the slow reader used science suck on that.”

Wonderful. I say that without a trace of sarcasm.

After a fairly unenjoyable pan back to whatever it is the guys are doing we return to see that the girls are in Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment, eating takeout with comics strewn all around them. They are still talking about Thor’s hammer. Then the following exchange happens [and this is my last quote, I promise]:

Bernadette: Red Hulk must be worthy.

Penny: How can Red Hulk be worthy?

Bernadette: You don’t know his life!

If there was any laugh-out-loud moment of this entire episode that was it.

Coming away from watching “The Bakersfield Expedition” for the second time [which I did to write this post] I have to say that I quite enjoyed exactly half of it. Absolutely no part of me was invested in the guys trekking [ah ha] around the desert as a Federation landing party. What I was interested in was watching three characters, formerly wholly unfamiliar with comic books, arguing intensely about a matter which, and I’ll be honest, is not important in most senses of the word.

While The Big Bang Theory has often taken the nerdier passions and portrayed them in a fairly mockable light, it was certainly not so in this episode. Yes, comic books were referred to as something for twelve-year-olds, but Stuart does a great job in telling both the girls and the audience that it’s a broad, diverse medium that has beautiful illustrations and excellent writing, as well as a little eye candy for the ladies.

Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool thinks they did a passable job at addressing comics, but continues to assert that it’s still The Television Show That Hates [Comic Book Fans]. The episode review over at The A.V. Club’s TV Club actually referenced the Bleeding Cool movement [which you again read about in yesterday’s Fame Day post] and similar to what I did focused mainly on the girls’ plot for this episode. The comments section of that review go over the age old conversation of how the show treats its subject material and its potential audience, but that is another post for another day.

All I have to say is that I was pleasantly surprised by the episode, and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I also finally received the second volume of Mark Waid’s Daredevil, so this is not a day on which I can feel unhappy. Here’s another picture of Thor from Issue #4 of Aaron and Ribic’s title for all you lovely people.