Thursday, May 10, 2012

2 Broke Girls meet Martha Stewart

It's been quite awhile since I've reviewed CBS's 2 Broke Girls. Then again, it's been awhile since 2 Broke Girls was worth reviewing. What started as a promising new sitcom in the fall quickly grew stale. As winter turned to spring, Chestnut did not reappear, Max (Kat Dennings) was fired from the babysitting job viewers never saw her at anyway, and the total the girls are saving, displayed at the end of every episode, barely grew, even though they were working their butts off, and it should be going up week after week. Why wasn't Caroline (Beth Behrs) throwing a fit about that, at least?

The one hour season finale, "And Martha Stewart Have a Ball," which premiered last night,was better. Part of this could be because the cupcake fund did increase, even if only slightly. Part of it may be because Chestnut comes home. Part of it could even be the jumbo-sized, hour-long story, giving the characters and plots a little more time to breathe. But a large reason "And Martha Stewart Have a Ball" is better is because it gets back to what the series is about.

At the beginning of "And Martha Stewart Have a Ball," the girls go to an important meeting, but are blown off because of who Caroline's father is. It's the finale straw for Caroline, who retreats into bed. Max pulls out all the stops to rouse her spirits, including getting Caroline's beloved horse back. This gets Caroline out of her funk enough to go along with a daring plan: smuggle a cupcake into a fancy gala and present it to Martha Stewart (herself)!

All sorts of obstacles crop off, of course, but eventually, it's mission accomplished. Martha likes their baked goods! Though, surely Martha wouldn't raise them up out of poverty, as that would defeat the purpose of the show's struggle. But it's a step in the right direction, and enough to keep them going. What's more, it refocuses Max and Caroline on the cupcake business, and hopefully will make them think twice before slacking off as much as they do in season one, which is actually what drags down the series.

Not that 2 Broke Girls needs to stick completely to realism and lack of fun. Sophie's (Jennifer Coolidge) fairy godmother shopping spree is a true delight! As is flirting with some cops so that they will watch Chestnut as the girls break into a party. Just don't spend so many weeks on other, non-cupcake related stories!

One ongoing issue with 2 Broke Girls is that they need to get out of that damn diner. Max's ex-love, Johnny (Nick Zano), resurfaces in "And Martha Stewart Have a Ball," and he tells Max that every time he pictures her, it's in her diner uniform. And it's true! The leads spend far too much of their time there. While the supporting cast has continued to develop, and actually finally finds its place in this episode, it should soon be time for a new group of characters. This is necessary for the growth of Max and Caroline, but it would be such a bold move to dump main characters every season or two, it's doubtful that CBS has the guts to do it.

Now, major changes could be made without dropping half the cast. Some highly creative writing could solve that problem. Sophie is their neighbor and best (non-paying) customer, so she can stick around easily enough. Step up her relationship with Oleg (Jonathan Kite), and he'd be good to go, too. Perhaps, after a suitable absence of a season of two, as the girls struggle to make it on their own, Han (Matthew Moy) could return to work for Caroline and Max in their bakery, when they finally make enough to hire staff. And maybe Earl (Garrett Morris) could retire and just hang around their place.

"And Martha Stewart Have a Ball" works because it exhibits growth. 2 Broke Girls need to embrace this more in their already-ordered second season, even if that means restructuring parts of the series, and building some new sets. Otherwise, what is the point of even pursuing this dream, if they don't make any progress towards it?

2 Broke Girls will return to CBS this fall.

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