It is hard to imagine Laverne or Shirley saying, “I’m not a cheap whore, I’m just poor,” 40 years ago, but I guess that is how far network TV has progressed. If you think it is a stretch to compare 2 Broke Girls to Laverne & Shirley, consider the fact that there is actually only one degree of separation between the two. Jennifer Coolidge (Sophie in 2 Broke Girls) appeared with Michael McKean (Lenny in Laverne & Shirley) in the film Best in Show (2000).
What really makes 2 Broke Girls the Millennial Generation’s Laverne & Shirley is the friendship of the titular characters. Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) are the broke girls. They live in Brooklyn, work at a diner, and dream of opening their own cupcake shop. Warner Home Video have just released 2 Broke Girls: The Complete Second Season as a three-DVD set, which contains all 24 episodes, plus bonus features.
In one final example of the similarities between Laverne & Shirley and 2 Broke Girls, both series were mega-hits right out of the gate. I can not think of another post-cable network sitcom that already had enough clout to get someone like Martha Stewart to guest star in their first season finale. Yet that is exactly what happened, and it was quite a coup. The chance meeting with Stewart led to her trying and liking their cupcakes. She promises them a “blurb,” which they are waiting to see in the second season opener.
For anyone who has not seen this show, the two main characters are very different. The aptly named Max Black grew up poor, hates “hipsters,” and is the proverbial tough chick with the heart of gold. Caroline Channing is a thin, blond, beautiful young woman who grew up pampered by her wealthy father. But when his Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi schemes were unraveled he went to jail, and her life changed forever. The development of their unlikely friendship was one of the main themes of the first season.
One of the reasons it seems like 2 Broke Girls have been on the air longer than it has is the fact that the writers really keep the events in the series moving. I consider How I Met Your Mother probably the worst sitcom of all time because they completely lost the point. They set up a situation of a guy telling his kids how he met their mother, then went on to write 184 episodes dealing with literally anything but the actual topic. Plus it is genuinely unfunny.
2 Broke Girls is also on Monday night, and addresses the basic premise of the show constantly. Plus it is genuinely funny. I thought it was great that the girls get the opportunity to open their cupcake shop in the second season. This provides all sorts of additional sources of comedy, and keeps things on track. The fact that neither of them have any training in running a business is an obvious problem, and when the shop eventually closes, it is not a big surprise. But in the season finale, it looks as if they may get the chance to try again.
One bonus of having their little store is that Caroline gets to meet “Candy Andy” (Ryan Hansen). He is the owner of a little candy shop, right next door to Max’s Homemade Cupcakes. Their romance provides a nice interlude, although the “couple” in 2 Broke Girls are always going to be the resolutely heterosexual Max and Caroline. Their friendship is the show.
Well, almost. There are four other main characters, all of which spend most of their time in the diner. Han (Matthew Moy) owns the place, Oleg (Jonathan Kite) is his sex-crazed Russian cook, Sophie (Jennifer Coolidge) is the eccentric wealthy neighbor who hangs out there, and Earl (Garrett Morris) is the doorman/disc jockey… or something. It is kind of hard to figure out what it is he actually does, but he is always good for a laugh.
The guest stars in the second season include Cedric the Entertainer, rapper 2 Chainz, Steven Weber as Caroline’s father, and Andy Dick. “And The Broken Hip” is the Andy Dick episode, and it may well be the funniest one of the season. He plays a street-puppeteer, who sets up outside of Max’s Homemade Cupcakes. Ever since we first encountered him on NewsRadio, Andy Dick has played some of the funniest and strangest characters on television. As a weirdo puppeteer, he is perfect.
The extras are fairly substantial. The cast and creator Michal Patrick King’s appearance at PaleyFest 2013 is the longest, and runs for about a half-hour. I have noticed that these PaleyFest sessions are being included in a lot of season sets recently, and this one follows the basic script. Entertainment Tonight host Christina McLarty asks a few questions, and the gang takes us inside the wonderful backstage world of a successful network situation comedy.
“Max’s Homemade Cupcakes: Go Big or Go Broke!” (22 minutes) is less spontaneous, but shows some of the highlights of the second season. One of these is the truly outrageous apartment of Oleg, which is not to be missed. “2 Broke Girrlss! With Sophie Kachinsky” (seven minutes) focuses on Sophie, who is played to perfection by Jennifer Coolidge.
As a woman who apparently made some shady deals and got rich after the Berlin Wall fell, this character is something else. She will make crazed pronouncements, like “Remember when Madonna was alive?” Or “I’ll be in my booth!” I know they do not sound all that funny when written down, but the way Coolidge delivers them makes all the difference. Rounding out the special features is a two-minute Gag Reel, and eight deleted scenes, which run for a combined time of 15 minutes.
The third season of 2 Broke Girls debuts on Monday, September 23. Catch up with these hilarious girls and their wacky friends with 2 Broke Girls: The Complete Second Season to see one of the best of the current crop of network sitcoms.