‘2 Broke Girls’: Was Caroline’s Storyline Accurate?

2 Broke Girls was a groundbreaking show before it was suddenly canceled, leaving fans wondering if Max Black and Caroline Channing manage to make it big with their cupcake business. The series left fans with several cliffhangers, but if you think about it, there was plenty that wasn’t explained during the show’s run either. For example, Caroline Channing falls upon hard times when her father is implicated in a Ponzi scheme. Is that really how it would have worked, though? Would Caroline have really found herself completely destitute?

How did Caroline Channing end up broke?

The entire premise of 2 Broke Girls centers around Max, a street smart 20-something from a rough background and her unlikely best friend, Caroline. Caroline, a recently ousted member of high society, finds herself working in a diner when she is left without a dime to her name.

Caroline Channing
Caroline Channing (Beth Behrs)| Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

The well-educated daughter of a multimillionaire, Caroline loses it all when her father is arrested for fraud. He was running a Ponzi scheme, and when everything came toppling down, Caroline was caught in the crossfire. Would Caroline actually be left completely penniless and without career opportunities if the premise played out in real life? Well, the answer is a resounding yes, because it has happened in real life.

In real life, what happens to the family of someone like Caroline’s dad?

Ponzi schemes don’t happen every day. At least, they aren’t discovered every day. There are a few notable examples of such schemes collapsing in on themselves, exposing the criminals behind them, though. Bernie Madoff is perhaps the best-known example. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for defrauding clients out of $65 billion, according to The New York Times.

Madoff was, obviously, stripped of every penny he had to his name, but what happened to his wife and children? Madoff and his wife, Ruth Madoff had two children, Mark and Andrew. Both of the Madoff boys have since passed away. Mark Madoff committed suicide in December 2010. Andrew Madoff died of cancer four years later at just 48 years old. Both left behind children and those children have trust funds. It’s hard to say, however, whether the kids will ever see the money in those funds. Lawsuits have targeted the trusts, and are still pending in court.

Bernard Madoff leaves US Federal Court after a hearing on March 10, 2009
Bernie Madoff | TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Ruth Madoff, the eldest Madoff’s wife, reached an agreement that left her with $2.5 million in assets. She agreed to forfeit all other assets to reach the deal. Assets allocated to her grandchildren may also be up for grabs upon her death. So, while both of the Madoff boys died with remaining assets, whether or not they’d have been able to keep that money is unknown.

As it stands, Andrew left a sizeable will to his children, his ex-wife, and his fiancée. According to The List, the legal document listed nearly $16 million in assets that were to be split amongst several beneficiaries. His fiancée, Catherine Hooper was also set to receive $50,000 a month from a trust set up by the late Madoff. To date, she hasn’t received a single payment and probably never will.

Would Caroline really have been left broke?

Ponzi schemes are complicated, and how family money is frozen and divided when such a scheme happens is complicated, too. It’s possible that Caroline could have had money assigned to her in trusts, but, likely, she wouldn’t have had access to those funds shortly after her father is sent off to jail. In fact, it’s possible that she’d never see a dime of the money she had ever again.

In short, while Caroline on 2 Broke Girls was obviously not implicated in her father’s scheme, it’s likely his indictment had far-reaching effects. It’s not just about the money.  Aside from losing out on family money, Caroline’s reputation would have been trampled, too. A graduate of Wharton School of Business, she finds herself ousted by the New York society scene by association. A job in the finance industry wouldn’t be likely to happen, either. Caroline’s last name would make her untouchable, as far as the business world goes.