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2 Broke Girls: “And The Big Opening”/“And The Silent Partner”

Illustration for article titled 2 Broke Girls: “And The Big Opening”/“And The Silent Partner”
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After putting the cupcake business on the back-burner for many of the earlier episodes this season, 2 Broke Girls now seems intent on rolling full steam ahead as fast as possible. Just two episodes after the girls make a plan to open a cupcake shop, Max’s Homemade Cupcakes is now officially open for business. Tonight’s back-to-back episodes both shifted the focus away from the diner and onto the cupcake shop—with some heavy emphasis on each of the girls’ love lives.

First, in “And The Big Opening,” Max invites handful of her ex-boyfriends to the cupcake shop opening instead of any business contacts. The cupcake shop is the only bit of success that Max has seen in her life so far, so it’s only natural that she’d want to show it off to the men who have screwed her over at some point. Or, as she continues to put it, tell them all to “suck it!” It’s a very Max thing to do and, to Kat Dennings’ credit, her “suck it!” face works every time, so the joke doesn’t get old as quickly as most of the ones on 2 Broke Girls. I was hoping that we’d get to meet some new ex-boyfriends of Max’s (her offhand descriptions of previous hook-ups are always especially colorful), but instead, we just got Robbie and Johnny. Robbie, the dimwitted cheater with killer abs who was last seen way back in the second episode of the series, shows up first. Robbie definitely wasn’t a memorable character (I’d completely forgotten that he existed until tonight), but his appearance was fun enough. Now a recovering alcoholic, Robbie makes amends for both cheating on Max and for stealing her money every time they had sex. The entire thing is short and sweet, and thankfully, Robbie doesn’t overstay his welcome the way I was expecting him to.

On the other hand, Johnny sticks around the whole time. Johnny was one of the weakest links of the first season: a bland, inconsistent character who had no chemistry with Max. It turns out Johnny’s engagement fell through (surprise!), leading the two to hook up in Andy’s store as candy falls all over them—Max’s candy-related glee is admittedly adorable—much to Caroline’s disapproval. The biggest problem with “And The Big Opening” is that it suffers from odd pacing and low-stakes. 2 Broke Girls is a silly, light show so I’m never expecting any big, hard-hitting character conflicts that totally disrupt the status quo, but there’s virtually nothing happening in this episode at all. It’s hard to care about the plot, because the conflicts are barely presented before they disappear without any real resolution. Caroline’s skepticism of Max’s relationship goes nowhere (and is only worth it for Beth Behrs trying to remain stern while shoving pancakes in her mouth), there is no point to the scene where Caroline tells Andy to change but he doesn’t, and it takes Max and Johnny just a few seconds to realize that they’re only into each other when the other is off limits so they call it quits.

“And The Silent Partner” is slightly better but still isn’t anything special and flails under the weight of an overdone plot. When Sophie first gave the girls money, I predicted that there would soon be an episode where she tries to take over the cupcake shop with bad ideas. Lo and behold, here we are. After Sophie returns to Poland and learns that she has no house and was ripped off by her contractor, she falls into a depression. The girls worry she’ll want the money back, but Sophie is more concerned about the death of her dream—again, another attempt to humanize Sophie that doesn’t work—and jumps at the chance to become a silent partner. If you’ve ever seen a sitcom, you know how this works out: Sophie begins making changes to the shop, the girls are angry but quiet, Sophie eventually goes too far, and by the end, everything is neatly resolved, and Sophie realizes that she’s being overbearing and the cupcake shop isn’t her real dream. The problem isn’t that the overall plot is generic; it’s that 2 Broke Girls doesn’t bother to try anything to make it stand out.

As for Caroline’s life, Andy is ready to tell her that he loves her, but Max convinces him to plan out an elaborate way to do it because Caroline is obsessed with romantic comedies. Did anyone else involuntarily yawn the second the episode revealed that detail? The big gesture doesn’t happen, of course, and he ends up confessing his love while she’s stuck in the bathroom door in a cupcake costume and he’s on the toilet. It’s fitting with Caroline’s constant humiliations, and honestly, it’s a pretty nice ending for the two, but it’s something I would have enjoyed more had the buildup been any better. In fact, that seems to be a trend with many of the recent episodes: They end in a nice place, but the road to get there is too bumpy.

Stray observations:

  • Despite my general boredom with these two episodes, I am giving the show credit for showing how it can seamlessly add the cupcake shop to the existing sets. I don’t think the diner is going anywhere any time soon (it’s the worst part of the show but necessary for the side characters and the girls’ budding friendships), but it’s nice to see that the show can probably get away with eventually phasing it out.
  • Han, Oleg, and Earl were all inconsequential this week, as they should be. The studio audience cheers for Sophie have all but disappeared.
  • There was also a very quick story about Caroline running into an old business school classmate, but it went nowhere.
  • I honestly can’t tell if I really like Caroline and Andy’s relationship or if I just want Ryan Hansen to stay on my television forever.