If you haven’t watched the CBS show 2 Broke Girls, you’re not missing much. This week’s “And the Kosher Cupcakes” episode was a poor attempt at humorously taking on the Hasidic Jews of South Williamsburg. Max and Caroline, the two broke girls themselves who are waitresses/aspiring cupcake bakers, are hired to bake kosher cupcakes for a bar mitzvah.
For the record, I don’t regularly watch 2 Broke Girls, mostly because anything TV-related that Whitney Cummings (Broke Girls co-creator and EP) touches unfortunately feels contrived and wince-worthy. So, while I found the episode mostly offensive, it was less a result of the painful, forced Yiddish dialogue alongside the 13-year old pais-clad “pimps,” and much more a result of the episode being just so terribly unfunny.
Given that the show is designed to take a comedic look at Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I suppose acknowledging the area’s Jewish community was inevitable. The complete lack of humor and awkward use of dialogue, however, was not a great approach.
At one point, two bar mitzvah-age boys appear obedient in front of their parents and turn into foul-mouthed “pimps” once left alone with the two broke girls. To have young actors speak about “filling women’s mouths” with anything is just a poor attempt at humor. (Unless of course it’s a Comedy Central Roast, or a Will Ferrell movie. Those jokes are hilarious). To have child actors portraying lewd Hasidic Jewish boys for the sake of a few dirty bar mitzvah jokes is really just unappealing all around.
The A.V. Club nails the show’s style of humor saying, “The most irritating and prolonged [problem of the show] is that, like a fifth grader giving a book report, the writers just don’t seem to trust in the ability of the audience to retain information or get a joke that isn’t highlighted, starred, and given to you with 10 exclamation points.” And each one of the episode’s kugel euphemisms (i.e. “a pasta and a dessert”) does just that.
Comedy has tremendous value in society. As free speech goes, satire is the best form of it. Therefore, if you are going to attempt to shed some light on the idiosyncrasies of any religious group, race, or even neighborhood, please at least make sure it’s laugh-worthy.
Thankfully, Sylvia Fine from The Nanny (aka Renee Taylor) always makes things better.