Portrayal of Class in "2 Broke Girls"

Topics: Social class, Middle class, Working class Pages: 5 (1852 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Analysis of the portrayal of class in an American TV series

Contemporary class differences should not longer cause problems in social life. As differences between high class and low class members are growing, difficulties in communication expand at the same measure. The US sitcom “2 Broke Girls”, produced by Michael Patrick King in 2011, tackles these issues and creates a TV series, which is not as funny as it is expected from a comic sitcom, and therefore criticizes not only sitcoms of that genre in general, but also the American class system. As the sitcom is playing today, in an America of the economical crisis, it also tries to deal with the question how to create a stable market. Therefore “2 Broke Girls” (2011) shows a utopia of overcoming class differences, and economical adjustment. It is not only about the stereotypes of others, which are typical for comic series, but also about creating something new all together – also if it is only a cupcake factory. In the sitcom, the main protagonists do not only have to deal with prejudices against each other, but also present stereotyped characters of different classes in America. Obviously there are many characters in the series that are stereotyped and show prejudices, but as the two “broke girls” are presented the most detailed, their behavior is mainly effected by stereotypes. The TV series “2 Broke Girls” portraits current stereotypes in the class system and shows how easily members of different classes can overcome their prejudices. One way, the series shows stereotypes and the negotiation of prejudices in America’s class system is already shown in the pilot episode at the very beginning, when the two protagonists get to know each other. The main protagonist Max, acted by Kat Dennings, is a waitress in a diner in Brooklyn, and has a second job as a babysitter in a high society household in Manhattan. Max presents a young woman, trying to climb the social ladder by producing cupcakes, but partly due to her pride and because of her lack of ambition, she does not take the initiative, and therefore has to live in a small and dowdy apartment. But when one day, Max is introduced to her new staff member at the diners, her life is about to change abruptly. Beth Behrs is playing the role of Caroline, the daughter of an ancient multi-billion dollar stock exchange speculator, who had to bow out of all his money, when he was suddenly forced to show up at court because his abject affairs came out. Max, who is at first skeptical towards Caroline and regards her only as another inept servant who she must cover for, but realizes after a short while that Caroline has much more character than she first thought. At this point of the series, Caroline suggests that one should sell Max’s cupcakes in Manhattan, as they are too delicious for their price and one could easily earn good money with that. But Max, who is too proud to go to Manhattan to earn money from the “ignorant” rich inhabitants, refuses her request. This shows not only that Max, who comes from the lower middle class, has prejudices towards Caroline and all the people from Manhattan, who represent the high class of America, but also that Caroline sees immediately the money-bringing sides of the cupcakes. Although she is presented in some cases as a naïve blonde of low intelligence, which is obviously stereotyping, she nevertheless shows her economical knowledge and therefore in a certain way lives the American dream: She is persuaded that Max is able to climb the ladder of class by selling cupcakes. In this special case, Caroline shows nearly no prejudices towards Max, maybe also due to her simplicity, and encourages her to invest in an own cupcake shop. In contras, Max does not take Caroline’s suggestions seriously, because she sees her as a snobbish girl without any experiences in life. Her estimation of Caroline’s character is only based on prejudices and presents the stereotype of the upper class lady who has no idea...

Bibliography: “Pilot.” 2 Broke Girls. Dir. Michael Patrick King, Kat Dennings, Beth Behrs,
Jonathan Kite. CBS. 19 September 2011.
“And the Rich People Problems.” 2 Broke Girls. Dir. Michael Patrick King, Kat
Dennings, Beth Behrs, Jonathan Kite. CBS. 10 October 2011.
Landrine, Hope. “Race x class stereotypes of women”. Sex Roles. Volume 13, Issue
1-2, pp 65-75. 1985. Kluwer Academic Publisher-Plenum.
Devine, Fiona. Social Class in America and Britain. 1997. Edinburgh University
Perucci, Robert and Earl Wysong. The New Class Society: Goodbye American Dream?. 2008. Rowman & Littlefield.
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