Sandra Bernhard guest stars as Max and Caroline’s lesbian boss on “2 Broke Girls”


Sandra Bernhard is no stranger to sitcoms nor to the LGBT community; the out comic/actress has been playing queer characters since her stint on Roseanne in the early ’90s. Her most recent lady-loving gig is power lesbian restaurant manager Joedth (the d, t, and h are silent) with a hot mess girlfriend; not unlike a few of Sandra’s other characters, Joedth is dry, deadpan and hilarious.

Now, it’s 2 Broke Girls, which means it’s a series of one-liners, puns, and stereotypes strung together to make a vaguely plot-like shape. (Don’t get me wrong, I love this show. I love that you can see the actors laughing at themselves and each other, and I love the moments of true hilarity that crop up between the eye-roll worthy jokes. Plus it’s fun to ship Max and Caroline since they basically act like a married couple anyway.) But Sandra Bernhard kills it, never cracking a smile as she insults everyone and everything.

In the episode “2 Broke Girls and the Zero Tolerance,” Max and Caroline get into a bit of a tight spot money-wise, thanks to the bank loan they took out to support their cupcake business. Caroline realizes they’re fully in debt and business isn’t exactly booming at their cupcake window. John (aka Big Mary) from Max’s pastry school stops by and tells them he has a gig at a new hoity toity dessert restaurant and they’re looking for a new pastry chef. He says the manager Joe only hired pretty people, and it’s called The High.

Max is pumped because what she lacks in dedication and actual pastry skills, she makes up for in cleavage, and this Joe guy seems like the type who will give her the job based on her…assets. When they get to the restaurant, Max asks a bossy-type woman where this Joe fella is, and she says there’s no Joe fella, there’s just her, Joedth. Max starts to button up her shirt until Joedth mentions her girlfriend. Max asks if she means GIRLFRIEND girlfriend, or girlfriend in the confusing way older women sometimes refer to the women they met at their last Tupperware party.  

Joedth tells her that everything she said offended her, and Max replies, “That’s kind of my brand,” something I will definitely be stealing for the next time someone calls me sarcastic or sassy.

2 Broke Girls 1Joedth is not impressed.

Max re-unbuttons her shirt and turns up the flirt to Level Awkward, but Joedth says she’s not into big-breasted women.

Before their first day of work, Max as a pastry chef and Caroline as a waitress, Jo makes Caroline get rid of her gaudy lucky pearls, sends John to the kitchen in the back, and puts Max front and center at the pastry counter, because sometimes a lady just wants to see a good-looking lady, you know?

Later that day, a woman stumbles in, asking for caffeine and booze to help her swallow the drugs she just took. Caroline scoffs, still not entirely humbled by being poor, and asks who could be messed up this early in the afternoon. Max determines it’s her new best friend.

2 Broke Girls 2 All aboard the hot mess express!

Since Joedth kicked out their friends from the diner just a few minutes before, Caroline takes it upon herself to escort the wasted socialite out of the restaurant. When Joedth asks what just happened, Caroline proudly declared she threw a drug addict out. Joedth says that drug addict is her girlfriend, Allie.

Joedth fires Caroline and Max tries to quit in solidarity because they’re basically dating and spend every waking hour together (for that matter, every sleeping hour too), but Joedth is just firing her as a waitress so she can hire her as a hostess. No type of intervention, from the reality show to the one in Alison Hendrix’s living room, got Allie to listen to reason, but Caroline got her out of the restaurant lickety split. A skill paramount to being a New York City hostess.

In “2 Broke Girls and the High Hookup”, Joedth introduces the girl to a hot new boy she found on the street to be their new waiter. She says she would have ravished him already if she did men, but she doesn’t, so she didn’t. It’s funny how many other shows get that part wrong.

Joedth tells Caroline to tell Max not to hook up with the new boy, and also tells her to kick her girlfriend out if she comes to the restaurant again. They’re in a fight, and she can’t kick her out herself, because no one likes to be mothered, especially not when their girlfriend really is old enough to be your mother. But she does give Caroline $200 and instructions to make sure she’s well fed and gets home safe.

2 Broke Girls 3 Because she loves her.

As soon as Joedth leaves, Allie comes in again, looking like it wasn’t so much on purpose as it was the way the wind blew her willowy body. She looks like she’s had a rough night, morning, or possibly week. Max wishes Caroline luck, because an actual trainwreck would be easier to manage.

2 Broke Girls 4 But would be way less fun to look at.

Caroline tries to shuffle Allie out again, but this time the girl stays put, claiming her muscle relaxers just kicked in. Ever the problem solver, Caroline has John carry the rich bitch right out. Allie left her phone behind, so Caroline takes it to her apartment that night, which leads to Joedth tracking and barging into her and Max’s apartment (with Sophie’s help), accusing them of having an affair. Sophie makes a dumb remark about Caroline’s short hair making sense now because all Sophie is good for is making dumb remarks.

When Joedth gets Allie’s phone back and realizes she overreacted, she says she’s not even sure why they’re still together. They met at Coachella when they were both on Molly. Not the recreational drug you can find girls in crop tops begging for at concerts, but a hot Filipino girl.

In this week’s episode, “2 Broke Girls and the Taste Test,” Sophie makes a mess at The High when her hand-me-down wedding dress falls apart , and Joedth storms out to see what’s happening. She makes a joke about being mildly attracted to Sophie, which offends her since she said “mildly.” Joedth sends Sophie to the dress shop she used when she was “broke and straight” which prompts Max to ask if she wasn’t always into women. Joedth says of course she was, except when she was a Scientologist. Which were confusing statements to be said in a row, but this is 2 Broke Girls, and we’re not here for character development.

2 Broke Girls 5Cue the laugh track!

And that’s all she wrote for now! But Max and Caroline have (miraculously) not been fired from The High yet so, in all likelihood, we’ll be seeing Joedth again soon.

The cons of this character include that she’s never actually in the same room as her girlfriend for more than half a second, and she either is the butt of or makes some mildly offensive jokes now and again.

The pros are: It’s Sandra Bernhard, so far Joedth doesn’t fall into any major traditional lesbian-in-the-media stereotypes, not does her girlfriend, and literally everyone makes and is the butt of mildly offensive (and sometimes wickedly offensive) jokes now and again. Whether that makes it right or wrong is a different conversation entirely, but at least the show is an equal opportunity offender.

Have you been watching 2 Broke Girls? What do you think of Sandra Bernhard’s stint?

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