2 Broke Girls: the worst new show of 2012

Last updated 09:15 23/02/2012

I've now watched three episodes of TV2's latest so-called "comedy", 2 Broke Girls, and am ready to declare it the worst new show of 2012, maybe even the worst television show currently in production - and the reason is that the show has featured a pair of rape jokes in the first three episodes.

20120223It's not just the rape jokes - 2 Broke Girls is terrible on almost every level. It really looks like a cheap production, setting most of the action in the diner where Max (Kat Dennings*) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) work; even Two & A Half Men doesn't spend so much time in one place.

Then there's the fact that the supporting characters are racial stereotypes - the short Asian boss who speaks in broken English, the jive-talking black guy with a fondness for white women - who exist only as the butt of jokes.

And the jokes! Oh, the jokes are just horrible, looking for comedy gold in subjects like mental instability ("You sleep with a knife under your pillow?" "It's the only home security I can afford ... and I'm a cutter"), cheap wordplay about homosexuality ("If I was going to go lesbian, she would be the last lez I'd be in"), and sexual jokes that seem horribly inappropriate for the show's 8pm timeslot ("Could you do me a favour and open the back door?", "We've known each other for two days, and you're already asking for backdoor?!")

But its biggest sin, the main reason I'm abandoning the show, is those two rape jokes in the first three episodes. The first was in the pilot episode, with Max getting tazed by Caroline; Caroline explains that she thought she was being raped, and Max replies "That's not what rape feels like." Cue roaring canned laughter.

The second appeared in last night's third episode: Caroline complains that it's hot outside and wonders how to escape the heat, and Max replies "Stop fighting it, just give in to it ... I don't know why I'm quoting a rapist." There is just something fundamentally wrong with treating rape so lightly and following it up with a laugh track.

Of course, the implication made by both of these "jokes" is that Max has been raped at some point in the past - meaning that either a) someone decided that "is a rape victim" should be part of Max's character, or b) the writers on 2 Broke Girls just think the subject of rape is funny in itself. Both possibilities are equally disturbing.

As I've said before, I don't think the subject of rape is funny in the slightest.

I can't imagine - or maybe I just don't want to imagine - a more terrifying, emotionally traumatic experience than being raped. It really is no laughing matter. Even a simple joke could act as some kind of trigger for rape victims, needlessly dredging up so many awful memories that are probably best left alone. And who is to say that the use of rape as a subject for comedy doesn't soften our stance toward it, as a society? Or normalise it in some way?

It's my opinion that when rape is used as the punch line to a throwaway gag on a third-rate sitcom like 2 Broke Girls, it shows a complete disregard for those who have suffered through an attack, dismisses and minimises their suffering, and displays a lack of understanding and creativity on the part of the comedy writer.**

2 Broke Girls, you need to try and do better than this - because what you've done so far is an insult.

What do you think of 2 Broke Girls? Are you as disgusted and disappointed by the comedy content as I am? Or perhaps you think I'm being unfair to the show - why?

(*) Its actually sad that Kat Dennings is involved; she's a legitimate talent who could front a decent show. Sadly, this isn't a good show, and it squanders her talent on cheap humour.

(**) Before you say anything, I am aware that the show is loosely based on the stand-up comedy stylings of Whitney Cummings. I think her stand-up is despicable, too.

Make sure you like On the Box on Facebook and add Chris on Twitter.
Or, feel free to email Chris at 
otbmail@chrisphilpott.co.nz
This is a spoiler-free blog - please comment responsibly.

240 comments
Post a comment
PB   #1   09:20 am Feb 23 2012

Let's face it, TV2 is lost. They keep importing terrible comedy like 2 Broke Girls and more "fantasy" shows like Ever After. I don't think there's been a show on TV2 that I've watched continously in YEARS. Also they have three ad breaks in a half hour show? What's up with that?!

Just randomly, have you checked out The New Girl? I find that laugh out loud funny and would love to see your point of view.

nick   #2   09:21 am Feb 23 2012

I love Kat dennings, to the point my girl friend gets jealous. I really hate this show for possibly ruining her for life for me.

Donnie   #3   09:23 am Feb 23 2012

Suburgatory and the new two and a half men with Ashton Kutcher are the worst shows on tv at the moment. At least Two Broke girls has the occasional funny bit, as for the other two, they are tragic beyond belief.

Penny   #4   09:31 am Feb 23 2012

I actually really enjoy 2 Broke Girls (and all the people I know who have watched do so too) and I am up to date with it airing in the States. It is light entertainment with a 90's sitcom feel, accept it for what it is and it is enjoyable. In regards to the rape jokes, I think you are blowing it out of proportion, yes rape is a serious issue but it is not like they are standing over someone who has just been raped and laughing. A lot of people make similar types of jokes as these two but aren’t condoning rape, it is just trash talk. Given the age and demographic these two are playing, the jokes made throughout the show are most likely very fitting.

Terrible Indeed   #5   09:32 am Feb 23 2012

As much as the show is terrible, it does my heart good to see that little minga form 8 simple rules grew into quite a fine young woman

Beks   #6   09:33 am Feb 23 2012

I actually like this show, I find it funny, I know the rape jokes are wrong. But how is it different from watching half the otehr tv shows out there! It's a comedy show most things that are funny are usually about taboo subjects.

sigh   #7   09:34 am Feb 23 2012

really. . . man people bitch n moan over EVERYTHING these days. .. dont like a tv show... TURN YOUR TV OFF

Li Chen   #8   09:35 am Feb 23 2012

I don't even bother watch TV, since 2006. Because, there are so much junk on TV.

k2   #9   09:36 am Feb 23 2012

I should read your reviews more often. They are like giant neon signs warning of a train wreck ahead, and to take another route. I am so glad I missed these shows, and will endeavour to do my best to do so, henceforth.

For your gallantry, in watching THREE whole episodes, I salute you. Your dedication to the cause is stupendous.

Jim   #10   09:40 am Feb 23 2012

It's better than Two and Half Men.


Show 11-60 of 240 comments

Post comment


Required

Required. Will not be published.
Registration is not required to post a comment but if you , you will not have to enter your details each time you comment. Registered members also have access to extra features. Create an account now.


Maximum of 1750 characters (about 300 words)

I have read and accepted the terms and conditions
These comments are moderated. Your comment, if approved, may not appear immediately. Please direct any queries about comment moderation to the Opinion Editor at blogs@stuff.co.nz
Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content