Hell on Wheels, 2 Broke Girls (14\11\2011)
2 Broke Girls - 109 - and the Really Petty Cash
I am always dismayed to see sit coms fail to use plots that have been around for ages. Characters feeling guilty over something and trying to hide it is such a simple idea and yet How I Met Your Mother botched it terribly on Monday and 2 Broke Girls didn't do much better.
For a start we still don't know Johnny well enough for this story to have real impact. Then you have Max doing the most obvious guilt-shtick imaginable and no one adequately holding Johnny to account for what he did.
Sit com writers seem to have lost track of the things needed to tell a proper story. There was no real sense of the emotional journey Max was on. Part of the problem is that she and Caroline talk to one another too much. They don't often split up and have dialogue with other characters in believable ways. Instead they just stand together endlessly mock debating everything that is going on. It was Caroline who kept insisting that Johnny was about to do the right thing rather than actually giving us a reason to believe it. We needed to see Max hoping and then watch her be disappointed. Only then would the touching support from Caroline actually leave you with a warm feeling at the end of the episode. It's frustrating to watch so many comedies botch a very simple formula.
Hell on Wheels - 102 - Immortal Mathematics
I gave it a second chance but Hell on Wheels is joining all the network dramas in the pile marked "I may still watch but I won't write." In that pile by the way is Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Boardwalk Empire and Terra Nova. I will write about each at Christmas along with all the comedies I watch but don't write about.
I ripped the Terra Nova pilot apart because Jim was able to go from outlaw to sheriff in one episode. While Cullen's rise from hangman to foreman wasn't nearly as ridiculous it was in the same vein of convenience. When a character goes from your enemy to your friend you need a really strong dramatic explanation or it just feels like nothing of consequence will happen on this show.
If you would indulge me in a tangent for a minute my mind went to an example of when this worked. Walter White risked his life (by clutching a bag of explosive chemicals) to convince crazy drug dealer Tucco that they could do business back in Season One of Breaking Bad. It was treated as a massive moment in Walt's life and the show's development and something like that was needed to convince me that Hell on Wheels will be much more than Terra Nova in the Wild West.