Why I Love 2 Broke Girls, Despite Its Terrible Stereotypes

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2 Broke Girls S01E19: "And the Spring Break"

In Monday's "And the Spring Break," Caroline implored Max to take advantage of a housesitting opportunity from an upscale gay couple (and yes, the stereotype was painful to behold) as a sort of vacation. “Spring break,“ she said, “...a break from the depressing.”

Max insisted that they couldn’t afford to take the time off from the diner, but Caroline convinced her to do it anyway and they reveled in the portable spas before Caroline decided she was hungry—and bummer, there was no food in the apartment and they’re poor. She found a discarded invite to a cookbook launch party that boasted free food and Max reluctantly tagged along because Caroline gave her permission to take the couple’s poodle, Barbra Streisand (I told you the stereotype was atrocious) so she could pretend to be one of “those dog ladies.”

Caroline adopted a persona named “Ashley” because she never uses “Caroline Channing” while on vacation “for security reasons,” which unleashed a latent spoiled-rich-girl persona who flirted with a Greek shipping tycoon and secured a “real” Spring Break for herself and Max somewhere warm, sunny, and sandy. Max was content to keep housesitting and abusing the porta-spa, and Caroline from the Black Lagoon accused her of not understanding what a good vacation is because she’s never had one. The episode concluded with a discussion about appreciating the things that you have—and how, maybe, sometimes, it’s a good thing not to know better so that the nice things you have aren’t diminished by want.

Yeah, this really wasn’t my favorite 2 Broke Girls adventure. But there’s a but! I didn’t love this particular episode, but I love the show as a whole, so let’s take this opportunity to talk about why it’s an awesome show.

While it certainly has its weak points (oh god, the stereotypes), I proudly consider myself a 2 Broke Girls fan. I think it’s one of the funniest shows on television, partially because I’m a bad person who is completely irreverent about most things, but more so because I find it to be very empowering. I’m a broke girl. I hate my job. My mother is crazy in a we-the-people-find-the-defendant kind of way and I myself have been known to make vagina jokes. Excessively. Often at inappropriate times.

Girls rarely get to make dirty jokes on network primetime and I love that Max does it and no one in her sitcom universe bats an eye at it. It’s just Max. I love that Caroline isn’t a Paris Hilton cutout, that she’s pragmatic and smart, but still prone to flights of fancy. Max and Caroline are two sides of the same coin and it’s a coin that exists outside of TV Land. 2 Broke Girls is a very timely show. While the thick of the economic meltdown occurred in 2008 and things are gradually improving as of 2012, I wouldn’t throw a party just yet.

Blah blah blah the economy sucks blah blah. Times are tough. College doesn’t guarantee you a decent job. Most people never do exactly what they went to school for. To quote my homegirl, Max, “It’s life. Lower your expectations.”

And then there’s Caroline, with all of her “Why not?”s and comedic snobbery that, in a way, is just the girl asserting that she deserves to have nice things. Everyone does. And everyone can have those nice things if they try hard enough and network like crazy.

Now, my inner Max spends a lot of time rolling her eyes at my inner Caroline, but it’s important to have both of them present. To completely ignore the fact that in the real world, scores of educated, hardworking adults are un- and under-employed due to circumstances largely out of their control is irresponsible and willfully nearsighted. However, so is blindly buying into the idea of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps. Things happen. Plans fall apart. Sometimes you don’t get any bootstraps.

In her memoir, Wishful Drinking, Carrie “Princess Leia” Fisher writes, "Let's say something happens and from a certain slant, maybe it's tragic and even a little bit shocking. And then time passes and you go to the funny slant and now that very same thing can no longer do you any harm."

For me, 2 Broke Girls is like that. And judging by the series' popularity, I’d say I’m not the only viewer who feels that way.

Or maybe you’re just here for the vagina jokes. That’s okay too.

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