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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2 Broke Girls: "And the '90s Horse Party"

Is it worth praising growth even if the end result is likely only going to be middle-of-the-road success? 2 Broke Girls legitimately seems to be getting better, but its underlying faults (sneering contempt for people who are different, desperate need to be crude, and hokey premise) are so limiting that it feels like the best this show could hope for is an unambitious, but likely profitable, sitcom hit, something akin to The Big Bang Theory (which is still much better than this.)

“And the ‘90s Horse Party” (they need to stop with the “And…” titles) does some typically annoying 2 Broke Girls things, it expects to laugh at Oleg’s way-too specific sexual harassment as though it were just an amusing character quirk and not sufficient basis for a lawsuit, it relies way too heavily on the nebulous concept of “hipsters” for its punchlines, and it zips willy-nilly from one plot-point to another with little regard or even understanding for narrative structure.

Still, I enjoyed the banter between Max and Caroline, which was slightly more playful than resentful this week. I hope they continue to reveal more about Max’s background. It serves to humanize here and make her tough talk more relatable. I continue to enjoy Garrett Morris’s Earl. Tonight I laughed when he regretted not being able to stop disco, just before chasing out the putative flash mob organized by Han.

Han is still a very problematic figure in the show. His accent feels absurd and when the show uses it to make jokes it feels very icky. But if they can move his character needle from “Asian with a funny voice” to “Nerdy Asian who can’t quite connect with people” that might be enough of a positive step to justify having him (and his diner) around for a while. I chuckled at his novelty “Talk to the Han” t-shirt.

2 Broke Girls is never going to be innovative or creative enough to achieve much critical acclaim, but its showing signs that it won’t remain stuck in cheap-joke hell, either. Either way, I’ll probably keep watching at least as long as the show fills the half-hour between How I Met Your Mother and House.

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