Is 2 Broke Girls Throwing Its Characters in the Dumpster?

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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?”