May 5, 2014

THE SKED Season Finale Review: “2 Broke Girls”


2 BROKE GIRLS is a serviceable sitcom for CBS, and in its 3rd season, it knows fairly well how to do what it does.  The show hangs on the comic charisma of Kat Dennings as wise-ass, tough-but-vulnerable waitress and aspiring cupcake maker Max, and her chemistry with Beth Behrs as her formerly rich roommate, business partner and BFF Caroline.  Their Laverne & Shirley-esque misadventures are engaging enough to make up for the tiresomely naughty (barely) double entendres–“in private school, we never bent down to put our mouths on something unless it had a yacht” was one of tonight’s–and repetitive character beats.

A long-running multi-camera sitcom needs things for its characters to do, and the major arc this season had Max attending a pastry school, which Caroline paid for by working in its office, providing both with recurring guest star romantic interests, Eric Andre (a bright addition) for Max and Gilles Marini (not so much) for Caroline.  Of course, none of it led anywhere, because the hub of a show like 2 Broke Girls is resistant to change, and Max and Caroline always need to end up at the diner working with the other regulars:  Han (Matthew Moy), their diminutive Korean boss; ever-horny cook Oleg (Jonathan Kite); and stoned-wise cashier Earl (Garrett Morris); with neighbor Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge, finally with an outlet for her very broad brand of comedy) popping in at least once per episode.

Tonight’s Season 3 finale, written by Producer Morgan Murphy and directed by Phill Lewis, featured the show’s tart brand of sentimentality, as Caroline realized that Max needed only one passing grade on a history test to get her high school diploma, and talked Max into studying and taking the test.  Max, of course, was more emotionally committed to graduating than she would let on, and the “awwww” punchline to the half-hour was that although Max’s mother (as yet unseen on the show) didn’t appear for the ceremony, all the other series regulars hopped the bus to Rhode Island to be there for her.  There were some laughs, notably as Max kept trying to leave insulting messages for her mother (“If you’re not too busy selling the neighbor’s cat for beer money, why don’t you come?”), but nothing that counted as much of a surprise.

Surprise, though, isn’t 2 Broke Girls’ stock in trade.  Caroline will always bewail her loss in social position, Max’s sexual history will always be a subject of ribald awe, there will be countless ways to insult Han’s size and manhood, and so on.  Like that Brooklyn diner, 2 Broke Girls offers TV comfort food, and while it’s never been the breakout hit CBS had hoped (leading off Mondays since the end of How I Met Your Mother‘s run, it’s been only moderately well-rated), it manages to fill the comedy belly well enough.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."