It was a Tuesday evening when I saw my first episode of 2 Broke Girls. I had just woken up from an indulgent afternoon nap, and was feeling a mix of inadequacy, relief, and guilt. Inadequacy because I hadn’t yet filled my heating fuel tank, and both my cat and I were feeling the Autumn creep in; relief for the opportunity to sleep–this was my first night off in over a month; and guilt for spending those precious hours sleeping when I had so many other responsibilities. My concerns with the universe and my place in it were relatively narrow.
2 Broke Girls is a sitcom about, well, two young women without any money. The main character, Max (Kat Dennings), is clever and disillusioned. She grew up poor, and has accepted her life as a waitress/babysitter for a New York socialite despite the misery it causes her. Her counterpart, Caroline (Beth Behrs), is the daughter of a corrupt politician. She only recently lost all of her money and power. Max and Caroline work at a dive-y diner in Brooklyn. Together, they plan to open a cupcake business to escape poverty.
As a broke 20-something who grew up poor and works two jobs, the main character of this show is easy to relate to. I found myself feeling like my two jobs are unfulfilling after watching this show, even though I am perfectly satisfied by them most days. I felt especially directionless seeing two directionless young women not unlike myself find something to work toward (cupcakes), however unimportant it seems on a grand scale. “I don’t have a future,” is a line from the show that echoed in my consciousness when it was over.
Both actresses are incredibly conventionally attractive. Even the characters who are meant to be repulsive are played by “well-proportioned” actors and actresses. Perhaps this affected me subliminally. Like, when everybody around you is a certain height or has skin of a certain color or the same social tick, you feel akin. It feels a little like that, being immersed in a world of pretty people. Also, being immersed in a world of damaged people. After watching the show, I felt a yearning for female companionship. Even the tenuous relationship that these two characters have in the first episode is unlike any of the relationships I have. Is this something I need?
I noticed mostly introspective reactions to 2 Broke Girls. My opinions of the world at large remain unchanged, and even my personal philosophies and sense of self were only moved temporarily and in a minor way. I know there is supposed to be some lesson about empathy and believing in yourself in there, but the writing and production value are too transparent to hit all of the buttons that the show aims to hit. I find it difficult to let myself be affected by most cinematic media because of my studies in theater and film. I am impressed by how much this sitcom actually did affect my emotional state. I am glad I don’t watch TV because I can see the potential for these little affectations to add up quickly.