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.
It'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.
Post a comment