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The Sitcom Explained Part IV: How Much Longer Can 2 Broke Girls Last?



Written By Bridget Cunningham

Has CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls "Jumped the Shark?"  The lifewire.com definition of this phrase is "...a negative expression to say that something that was once good has now peaked, and has taken a severe downturn in quality or usefulness." So does this apply to the CBS sitcom, which now pushes through a sixth season with average ratings?  Quality has indeed diminished, and the ratings are middling.  This show is still a venerable player, often outranking newbie schedule mate 'Man With a Plan', the show is produced by Warner Brothers and is an outsourced production.  Characters are coming full-circle, jokes have been played to the unpteenth degree and plots have strayed into an outlandish realm.  2 Broke Girls may receive an additional season, but this show has already fulfilled its purpose.

Autumn 2011 on CBS was overshadowed by the fallout of Charlie Sheen's meltdown and firing from hit Two and a Half Men.  Audiences eagerly tuned in to the show's 9th season premiere to not only find out how Charlie Harper would be written out, but also to watch A-Lister Ashton Kutcher make his debut.  Following that show's reliably vile delivery awaited an equally-crass pilot set in a dingy diner.  2 Broke Girls grabbed viewers who loved Crass-Coms with a tart epilogue from Kat Dennings, referring "service" and shamelessly addressing her lady parts.  The closing hook before the opening title involved a vocally sexual exchange, and an equally vulgar statement made by Dennings' Max Black stating "[Your waitress] is coming!"  The remainder delivered intrigue and outlandishness, albeit realism.  Recently fallen socialite named Caroline, Korean immigrant/diner proprietor Han, stoned, aged and wise black cashier Earl, greasy Eastern-European cook Oleg, and most lovably thoroughbred stallion Chestnut rounded out the ensemble.  The women stole the show as viewers invested in two destitute women forming a business plan for what appeared to be an impossible dream.

Seasons played on, and Jennifer Coolidge enriched the cast with her sex appeal as Polish immigrant Sophie.  Past the crass sexual and ethnic jokes, the women's adventures stole our hearts as viewers dreamed along their side.  They treated the audience to new adventures every week, and every season had larger arcs to further stories.  Season 2 showcased the rise and fall of the women's first shop.  Season 3 entailed a smaller shop opening, plus a forgettable serialized tale of Pastry School.  Season 4 showcased a failed foray into a t-shirt venture, plus an intriguing side-job in a high-end bakery.  And most grandiose, Season 5 sent the women on a memorable trip to Hollywood, leading to a much-anticipated Dessert Bar with the proceeds of Caroline selling her rights to a movie.  Throughout this season, over-the-hill Sophie explored pregnancy, a pregnant pause which forced viewers to pause disbelief.

Enter Season 6, as Max and Caroline unveiled their new shop.  The women lending Han money to float his diner was quickly dropped in favor of a dragged out love tale between Max and her latest love, Randy.  The winter hiatus has left several 'Perils of Pauline" tales littered across the schedule, as the women "Jumped the Plane".  And the steamboat.  And several thrown-together mishaps.  Having two women chase shamelessly across the country for love demonstrated this series' regression, and an apparent run-of-the-mill ploy to plunge them back into poverty.  It undid the enduring strength of two modern young women showcasing they were resilient enough to laugh at life's setbacks while demonstrating a female prowess to survive.  The latest plot developments open the doors for the audience to resurrect disbelief.  The (lack of) height jokes against Han are growing old.  Sophie's "canned applause" at every entrance is dated and has become unwarranted.  Almost all of the characters have played out.  And how many broken romances are we really supposed to invest in?  

Season 6 presented opportunities to explore relevant "broke" tales.  Buying into Han's diner could have generated 8+ episodes of the women balancing a juggling act with not only running the two establishments, but also narrowly escaping financial ruin.  Zoning restrictions and a hurricane were also lost opportunities, glossed over as plot-driven twists.  Imagine episodes featuring the women having to defend and rebuild their shop against realistic obstacles.  Such lost opportunities make us realize the show has hastened its expiration date faster than the diner's food, as there is little to explore with the characters.  Their illegal subletting lease was resolved in season 5.  No one on their city block seems to notice, nor care that a stable animal resides/stinks in an illegally-built addition on the patio. Han has come into his own, sharpening his wit after years of insults.  Exploring Oleg and Sophie's tacky sexcapades has run its course and proven obsolete against plot developments of Season 5.  And Earl is still just there, having never been explored.

The only stories left to explore are Max's character and the new bar, as Caroline's backstory was beautifully fleshed out in Season 5.  Her vapid character was explored in depth as the audience heard her perspective of losing her money, rewarding her with a Hollywood adventure and being thrust into attention again.  She retired her notion she needed to return to upper society.  First when she leveled with her grandmother in a memorable moment when she disrobed out of a designer outfit, and second when she declared to her father that "this is her scene now" when he referenced her current lifestyle.  What is next?  Her lack of love seems to be a played gimmick and shown her character has come full circle with little plot purpose.  2 Broke Girls has eight original episodes left before the close of the season, and appears to have little purpose left for an additional season.  Should the show continue, what arcs or purpose will the series have?  And will it be enough to justify an additional 13-22 episodes on top of the 136 episodes following this season?

If an additional season is warranted, it will have to be the last and should close the series with little loose ends.  This Crass-Com is straying into Escapism, nullifying its realist premise.  During its six-year history, the show has been moved a total of 10 times over 3 evenings and 6 timeslots.  Repeated moves and stale plots have diminished the show's presence.  If CBS grants a 7th and final season, viewers can only hope the show wraps up all loose ends in one final arc as former schedule mate Mike and Molly did in 2016.  Mike and Molly ended with a shortened final season which explored giving the marquee couple a child.  Perhaps the closing act may be both characters finally obtaining stable financial situations.  And do we really want to watch another business venture of Max and Caroline's plummet into ruins?  The first shop's closing instilled Missi Pyle's memorable cameo when she quipped "Too much, too soon. You'll figure it out."  It fueled future plot developments, as it led to a mildly successful cupcake window.  The failed t-shirt venture led to another adventure in an upscale bakery, where the implied "debt" evaporated with little mention.  Both were bitter to swallow and showed the girls would conquer any obstacle thrown their direction.  But how many times can we tag along for another failure?

Ratings otherwise indicate the show has some shelf life to justify another run, but what will they look like next season?  Will reports regularly showcase ratings in the 1.2 to 1.3 range as audiences recognize the frequent retreads?  This spring will be a tell if the show will be renewed.  If the show maintains ratings at 1.5 or higher in the demos, Season 7 may be realistic.  The audience will tell us if the show has enough story to invest in and if more episodes are necessary.  Is a 7th season in 2 Broke Girls' future?  Leave your feedback as this site enjoys gritty, realistic insight!