Is 2 Broke Girls Throwing Its Characters in the Dumpster?

2 Broke Girls S01E21: “And the Messy Purse Smackdown”

Ah, the trials and tribulations of filing one’s taxes. We’ve all been there, and on 2 Broke Girls, Max finally joined us in paperwork hell.

Caroline stole a peek at Earl’s taxes and saved him a buttload of money with the power of her business brain and Max decided that she wanted in on some of that action. Caroline was more than willing to help, but quickly realized that Max had never filed a return in her life, and as a result, plunged them all even further into the pit of paperwork hell. Good job, Max.

I'm feeling a bit torn by this episode. On one hand, filing your taxes blows and after spending the past week staring at mine, weeping about them, throwing them against the wall in a fit rage, and finally calling someone for help; it was nice to laugh about them. Furthermore, I love 2 Broke Girls, so I want to love every episode that airs, and while I liked “And the Messy Purse Smackdown,” I didn’t LOVE it.

The problem wasn't with the story. It was a good story. There were some sweet moments, too: Max expounding on her feelings of legitimacy when she found her first paycheck from the cupcake business, Oleg acting like a person instead of a cartoon and explaining that he truly cares for Sophie and has given up his hitting-on-everything-that-moves ways while he is with her.

BUT, just like last week, I felt like the characterizations of Max and Caroline took a step back in their development, reverting to stereotypes for the sake of driving the plot. Caroline spent most of the episode ripping on Max for having a messy purse, as though it was some sort of status symbol to have a neat one. It clearly started to upset Max, and yet Caroline kept at it, if only to remind us that Caroline is the Stable One and Max is the Chaotic One.

“More real garbage, less Caroline garbage.” Thank you, Max. Watching Caroline whine about getting dirty in the dumpster was a complete disservice to how much her character has evolved. Sure, dumpster diving is gross (sometimes), but it was for a good cause and Caroline has consistently jumped on good causes the way a hungry hungry hippo jumps on a marble, so her whining and moaning about her shoes and her sweater just felt insincere, like a half-assed attempt to remind us “Caroline used to be RICH. Remember? Remember when Caroline was rich?”

Fun fact: We, the audience, are capable of retaining key character background information for at least a week. Often longer. It would be nice if 2 Broke Girls could go back to acknowledging that fact.

Meanwhile, the entire storyline of “And the Messy Purse Smackdown” came to fruition due to Max’s ignorance of how the world works, despite the fact that she’s supposed to be the “street smart” one. The idea that Max didn’t understand the importance of filing her tax return bothered me because I feel like it’s one of those things that, when you are a working adult, you just KNOW. Sure, later, Max skipped out on filing because it was “hard,” but again, that doesn’t fit with her characterization. Max isn’t lazy and if nothing else, she would have found a way to figure out how to do her taxes because the refund would have translated to extra weed money. I mean, last week, the woman participated in a drug trial for extra cash. Certainly she would not be above spending a few hours at an H&R; Block one Saturday, bored out of her skull, for the sake of a potential refund.

Now certainly, once your finances evolve to something more complicated than a W-2 from McDonald's, taxes become less simple and a refund less certain, which definitely puts a damper on the rationale behind doing your time at the accountant’s office, but Max isn’t stupid. She managed to pay off her student loans, and frankly, I’d rather deal with my taxes than my student loan paperwork.

Growing up poor does not equal growing up in a bubble, writers.

I’ve already professed my love to you, 2BG. Don’t get complacent.


What did you think of “And the Messy Purse Smackdown?”

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This episode was pretty sloppy, a lot of the story was moved along by dumb writing like Caroline leaving Earl's tax return next to a messy pile of papers. The magical $200 check in this episode also evaporated midway through the plot, not even showing up in the final broke-girl-tally at the end. And if Max hasn't filed ever, Caroline should know that filing right now will actually make MORE trouble for Max since there will be several years of 1099s filed on her behalf by employers and any return on that name/ssn would cause an automatic flagging. Also, where did this "student loans" thing come from for Max? She's been a fairly off-the-grid type of poor person and bemoaned her lack of anything resembling structure, surely any college she would go to would be of the community type. And we're to believe that their trash bag ends up on the bottom despite being thrown out right before, and that there's tons of clean spaghetti in there, and that the trash truck is coming close yet never appears even when Max and Caroline both end up in the dumpster? All dumb writing.



The idea that spoiled rich girls are somehow great at taxes simply because they grew up around money seemed out of character to me, if Caroline is really that together, why didn't she take up a second job as a tax preparer or something along those lines? And Max really seemed like a dishrag character this time out. No sir, this episode was just a lame way to shoehorn the latest US "holiday" of tax day into the show.
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I also wondered about the check not showing up at the tally. I haven't been keeping episode-by-episode track of it in my head, but could it have been added in the episode they earned it (if indeed we saw it)? But Max is only now capable of cashing it due to her purse mess?
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I like the lead character. But she's like caviar in a bowl of undercooked instant noodles. This is one of the worst shows on TV.
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I actually liked this episode too, and btw, dumpster diving is ALWAYS GROSS!
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The fact that Max hadn't ever filed her taxes is stupid. When you're poor, a tax return is the one big financial windfall that you get every year. Max would have filed her taxes twice a year if she could to get extra cash. She clearly stated that taxes have been held out of her check. Hell, if she had bothered to file her taxes some time in the last 5 years, she might not be so damned broke.
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another great episode 2 Broke Girls keeps getting better and better
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The Sophie character is pretty much ruining the show for me.
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She has a lot of good one-liners but I'm tired of her always ragging on Caroline. Max is awesome and I get why she and Sophie connect better, but Caroline is a smart business woman and Sophie putting her down gets on my nerves.
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I dunno, her line about Kim Kardashian was awesome, but there is too much of her per episode, and her accent comes and goes, I guess I sort of agree with you on this.
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Out of curiosity, how is 2 Broke Girls getting ep analysis's and not New Girl?
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Max did state during the dumpster diving that she had never filed because she never thought she'd have a future, then Caroline came around and let her know she could have one. I thought it was pretty in line with her character arc, because while she wasn't lazy, she wasn't pro-active either. I think part of Caroline's charm is she has inspired Max to be more.
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Stopped watching this pitiful show after a couple of episodes.. It suck badly!!!
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How does she even have a student loan if she dropped out of high school?
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I mostly agree on the quality of the episode; it was a solid C+ half-hour of comedy. It wasn't bad, but most episodes have been better. As to character development, I never really noticed; I just want to laugh, not analyze what characters are taking steps back or forward.
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No offense, but in my opinion, you're just trying to find something negative to say by examining the show in such a detail. It's a funny, witty show that's just there to make people laugh
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I do not think I'll continue with this for a second season. It started out fine and kind of cute or heartfelt despite its stereotypical flaws, but it's no longer worth it, as it's getting too cliched and snarky. "Sophia" helped kill it for me.
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I won't name names but I think this show is much funnier than shows they claim are the "best comedy" shows.. but last night's episode wasn't that funny which sucks because I personally think it's very funny most of the time.
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modern family??
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among others lol
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I really can't stand this show, lol
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I completely agree. But what's the deal? I said this show sucked last week and it started a comment war. Do I have a target on my back?
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