What About 2 Broke Guys?

2 Broke Girls is one of my favourite new shows on television. The writing is witty and dirty enough that you can often see the actresses holding back laughter through their lines. And I like to think that if these girls could afford the Internet, they’d be personal finance bloggers like us. Caroline would share her couponing secrets and Max would tell us to stop whining and be happy with what we have. Because of this, I was happy, and not at all surprised, to watch it win this year’s People’s Choice Award for Best New TV Comedy.

But, after a news conference that followed the awards show, it quickly became obvious the critics felt that the “people” had made a mistake. Rather than praise Michael Patrick King and the stars on their win, critics declared the show, “lewd, crude, lowbrow, offensive and … a crime against humanity.” And the more I think about it, I have to say that I tend to agree with them.

While the critics put pressure on King for using stereotypical characters, racist remarks and sexist tones, I personally am starting to feel more bothered by the name of the show itself. Why did King feel a sitcom about two broke roommates would be funnier if the roommates were women instead of men? Is it easier to believe that two girls would live together to save money, over to two guys? Or is it that the idea of two guys being broke is less realistic than two girls?

When you search for “girls + money” in Google Images, you will come across two main themes. First, half-naked women holding money like they are about to make it rain. And second, money stuffed in the body parts of these same half-naked women (which is quite literally the definition of “sex sells”). Try Googling “guys + money” instead and you will find pictures of successful looking men standing in suits, sitting around tables talking, or maybe showing off their nice car or new home. Obviously, the media has created some gender stereotypes about money.

Unfortunately, that thought process is not only sexist, it’s medieval. And entirely untrue. Just take a look at our personal finance community. There are probably an equal number of male and female writers and we all talk about how to save, how to invest, and how to buy real estate. We have women making six-figure incomes, buying homes for themselves, and still living fun and exciting lives. And while there is a common belief among many that guys are better with money, it has been proven that women are better long-term investors.

At this point, I don’t think it’s worth getting into the most obvious gender stereotypes used in the show. Perhaps they are necessary because this would be less entertaining (and bring in less ratings) if the roles were reversed here:

But I do wonder what a show about a couple of broke guys would look like. On Seinfeld, we saw George’s character being so cheap that he was willing to take Jerry’s peed-on couch. And Joey on Friends hardly ever worked and was always taking payouts from Chandler. Compared to them, maybe Max’s work ethic and Caroline’s planning abilities show that women are, in fact, better with whatever money they do have.

None of this means I’m going to cancel the series recording on my PVR, but it’s definitely made me think about how women and their finances are being portrayed in the media.

Have you ever watched 2 Broke Girls? What do you love/hate about it?

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