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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"And the Secret Ingredient" revealed for 2 Broke Girls

     CBS's 2 Broke Girls returns from December hiatus with "And the Secret Ingredient." Caroline (Beth Behrs) becomes obsessed with couponing, something she considers a dirty word up until now. This leads to her learning that Max (Kat Dennings) uses store-bought boxed mix to bake her cupcakes. Even worse, caught up in her new hobby, Caroline keeps putting off visiting Chestnut, whom Max is really missing. Luckily, Caroline is able to wake up to the truth, and fix her behavior.

     Caroline has a very strong personality, and never does anything half way. This is a very obvious trait from the very beginning, and thus, when she discovers coupons in "And the Secret Ingredient," it is small wonder that she takes it to the extreme. The difference here may be that, unlike other things Caroline obsesses over, extreme couponing has a wealth of resources available online, since she is far from the only person to engage in this recent trend. It's a timely topic, played perfectly for the character.

     That being said, "And the Secret Ingredient" is also a little bit of a step backward for Caroline. As 2 Broke Girls unfolds, she is learning to be more compassionate than before. And to ignore her beloved Chestnut is just a little bit too much. Caroline has priorities, and no matter what is distracting her, it's hard to believe that her prized horse, whom she goes to great lengths to care for, gets ignored. As such, the premise does get a little goofy.

     Luckily, Caroline isn't the heart of the series; she's the comic relief. Max is the one who opens up slowly but surely, pushed out of ambivalence by her hurricane of a roommate. Max likes to try to hide what a good person she is, but it's no secret to regular viewers. Max's affection for Chestnut is well documented, and Max is too cynical to be swept up in anything very fast. As such, she remains the voice of reason.

     It is a little disappointing to learn that Max makes box cupcakes. Sure, those mixes aren't bad, but the way everyone swoons over her recipe now seems circumspect. After all, in this day and age, many people use box mix. Surely someone realizes that they taste a little familiar. Adding a little bit of a second brand in isn't going to change the taste that much. It's a pretty dumb move that is not appreciated. And fans are supposed to believe that busybody Caroline didn't see the boxes before "And the Secret Ingredient?" It just doesn't hold up.

     Even more upsetting is how little the girls' total money has gone up these past few installments.They've been working! Where is the saving? Time to kick things into gear!

     Now the other subplot, where Max runs a campaign against Han (Matthew Moy) after he raises the price of tampons in the women's restroom is purely hilarious. This is still a taboo subject for many uptight guys, whom Han personifies well. But it's also a fact of life, and hiding it is silly. When Max fights against Han, arguing that he has no right, not being female, to gouge customers for this necessity, every viewer is firmly in her corner. It's not surprise when he backs down.

     2 Broke Girls airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

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