2 Broke Girls just might be the most inconsistent sitcom that I watch. In the short span of three weeks, I’ve gone from hope to boredom to actual enjoyment. “And The Hold-Up” was a welcome treat after last week’s disappointment. The entire first act is perhaps the closest 2 Broke Girls has come to being the kind of comedy that I could find myself genuinely enjoying and looking forward to on a weekly basis, instead of one that I’m usually approaching with cautious optimism. The jokes are fast and funny, there’s a genuine twist, and we actually learn something new about the characters!
This has a lot to do with the fact that putting characters into an unexpected and dangerous situation is often a great way to show off their gut instincts and explore their relationships to each other while under pressure—even if this was just a low stakes diner robbery. For the most part, each character’s reaction to the robbery is true to their pre-established nature. Max is calm and jokes with the robber, Earl (unfortunately) claims that he’s been on “both sides of the situation” and advises Max to play along, Oleg runs out with a bat, and Caroline freaks out so bad that she seizes up and pees herself. It’s a joke that, at first, I didn’t expect to like, but the combination of Beth Behrs’ hilarious facial expressions, the exchange between the girls when Caroline explained why she couldn’t come out from behind the counter (“Well, um, I’m peeing.” “Still?!”), and even Oleg’s slapstick fall all helped to really sell the entire thing. I found myself actually laughing with the show. The surprising turn of events? Han whips out a gun from his fanny pack and becomes the unlikely person who saves the day and the diner. It’s a great triumph for Han, especially because he’s usually the butt of the worst jokes the show has to offer, and it results in the rest of the employees respecting him a little more, although it’s sure to just be temporary. I could do without the hardened affectation he adopts but hey, baby steps are better than nothing.
The other surprising character moment is Caroline’s second, non-bodily-fluid-related reaction to the robbery. When being threatened, Caroline’s gut instinct is to shove Max in front of her for and yell “Take her, not me!” to the man holding the gun. It’s believable that Caroline’s selfish upbringing (and the fact that she’s new to the oh-so-hard streets of Williamsburg) would result in this, but it’s a little surprising because, of the duo, Caroline has always been the one who is more open about their friendship and how much it means to her. For someone who spends an awful lot of time rehashing the fact that Max saved her when she was first down and out, it’s uncharacteristic that she’d use Max as her human shield. But everyone has a different survival instinct and Caroline’s evidently involves wetting herself and hiding.
With Max’s shock at Caroline’s betrayal lingering on both their minds, the two girls head to the movies. The scene where Max teaches Caroline how to confidently sneak into a movie has a few laughs, thanks to the fact that Beth Behrs was stellar throughout the entire episode, but then it loses a little bit of steam. The concession stand exchange is useless and so is most of the time in the actual theater, though I did like Max’s accurate explanation that most comic-book movies consist of “partial nudity, product placement, dope explosions, and a killer score by Hans Zimmer.” This is all bland setup to the inevitable conclusion where Max shows her true colors by abandoning Caroline when they get caught by an usher. It’s not as extreme as say, pushing your best friend in front of a gun but the point is still clear: Max and Caroline, despite being friends, will often put themselves first. We’ve always known that they are both incredibly selfish human beings but it’s nice to see Caroline finally realize this and admit it to herself. By the end, the girls have made up and are both back on equal ground. While this is pretty much the same as every other episode’s ending, “And The Hold-Up” at least has a lot of fun getting there.
- The recurring “What?!” reaction to Han’s real age (29) was my favorite joke of the night and really pays off the third time it pops up.
- Within the cold open, 2 Broke Girls hits the holy trinity of pop-culture references: Honey Boo Boo, 50 Shades Of Grey, and “Call Me Maybe.” I’m just waiting for a supercut of every show that has referenced Here Comes Honey Boo Boo in the last two months.
- The low point of the episode is a tie between Max’s joke that Han should have nunchucks or the cashier at the concession stand being named Hallelujah, which is a name I only accept in Hold Steady songs.
- “Let’s go see that Katherine Heigl rom-com sequel.” “Talk about violence against women.”
- The show either needs to do more with Jennifer Coolidge or set her free.