Posted on | October 4, 2011 | 13 Comments
It seems like there are so many new sitcoms on this television season. There’s New Girl, Happy Endings, How to Be a Gentleman, and Whitney. Most of them are pretty funny too. There was one show in particular that I wanted to like so badly, mostly because of the cast, and that was 2 Broke Girls with Kat Dennings.
2 Broke Girls is about a rich girl named Caroline (Beth Behrs), whose father loses all of their money, forcing her to move in with Max (Dennings), who comes from a working-class family and works at a diner in Brooklyn. Okay, it sounds like a pretty good setup, albeit a little clichéd and perhaps a The Odd Couple wannabe. It has potential though.
Watching the first two episodes was painful. The writing was lame, the acting was forced, and the comedic timing was completely off. But still, I liked Kat Dennings enough to continue watching. I’d seen her be funny before and knew that there was a chance that the creators (Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings, star of Whitney) would turn it around.
Nope. They didn’t. Within the first five minutes of the third episode, I switched the channel over to PBS to watch Prohibition.
Let’s set the scene. Max and Caroline are at the diner, working as usual. Caroline approaches Max and says that one of their customers has asked if they have anything gluten-free. Max’s reply is, “Tell her she’s not allergic to gluten. She’s just masking an eating disorder.”
I wanted to puke.
I understand that television shows nowadays have to find ways to be edgy and funny. Nothing can be considered “crossing the line” anymore, which in certain ways is a very good thing. I was never one for being “politically correct.” This, to me, doesn’t excuse television from its responsibility to those watching. Television can be a great way of spreading awareness and understanding. It can also, however, spread bigoted beliefs and misconceptions unlike any other medium.
For example, a lot of people could have walked away from this episode of 2 Broke Girls, thinking that those of us with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerances are just using it as a cover for an eating disorder. When they had the chance to spread even the smallest bit of awareness that there are those with special dietary needs out there, they instead made a mockery of it.
In my personal opinion, the comment is doubly offensive because of the way it treats those with eating disorders, as though their problems are something about which we can joke. Maybe some people find this kind of humor funny. I don’t think humor that is hurtful to any group of people is funny. Period.
I’m not saying that I expect Celiac Disease or eating disorders to be represented our favorite comedies or dramas. However, I would appreciate it if they refrained from spreading anymore misconceptions in the future.
If I were ever treated this way in a restaurant or bakery, I’d leave and never come back. And when I’m treated this way on television, I change the channel and erase past episodes from my DVR.