I Misunderestimated ‘Broad City’


I resisted the first season of Broad City because of my own prejudices against what I thought the show might be. That was a mistake. I can’t get enough of this show.

I just didn’t need to see another comedy about twenty-somethings in New York. I didn’t need to see yet another show about crappy apartments with awful roommates, soul crushing entry level jobs, and romantic adventures with people who start out nice and then turn out to be deal-breakingly weird, all topped off with a cathartic, friendship affirming talk at the end. (Think 2 Broke Friends Who Are Girls Who Met Your Mother.)

I also wasn’t in the mood for another comedy about the exaggerated misadventures of some friends who are so obliviously single-minded that they verge on being patently sociopathic. (Think It’s Always Sunny for Workaholics.)

Don’t get me wrong, Broad City does feature these things. Abbi has an unrequited crush and an annoying roommate (who isn’t technically a roommate but we’ll get to that). Ilana dumped a hot guy after seeing how bad he was at improv. One episode centers around Abbi’s nightmare hunt for an apartment. These aren’t groundbreaking storylines but Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer put their own spin on them and they work.

I can’t tell you definitively why I’m so obsessed with this show but I have some theories. First of all, Abbi and Ilana are genuinely likable and they genuinely like each other. (Likable characters who like each other: take note, Lena Dunham.) I could listen to their best friend banter for hours. I’ll have to check with the feminist judges but I think scenes in which two women talk about the worst guy they’d still have sex with or the dick length of the basketball players on the West 4th Street courts should still pass the Bechdel Test.

Broad City also succeeds in what I maintain is the difference between good shows and great shows: great supporting characters. Would you want to watch Parks and Recreation without Andy, Donna, or Jerry? Me neither. Hannibal Burress plays Lincoln who would be Ilana’s boyfriend if she weren’t too high to remember how long they’ve been sleeping together. Lincoln isn’t a departure from Hannibal’s stand up persona but fans of his comedy know that’s a good thing.

Abbi’s annoying non-roommate, Matt Bevers (John Gemberling), is a gamer with no boundaries who is always in the apartment despite the fact that he doesn’t live there (his yet unseen girlfriend does). He’s hilarious, though, and possesses a creepy innocence that explains why Abbi hasn’t stabbed him yet.

Ilana’s confidence-challenged boss (Chris Gethard) has to read aloud the letter his therapist recommended he write to her about her work habits. Abbi’s bro-y trainer boss (Paul Downs) at Solstice (I’m a little ashamed at how long it took me to catch the play on Equinox) gave his life savings to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter.

Finally, this show is just genuinely funny in how it surprises you. Plenty of shows can be funny with awkward encounters with a crush but how many show their protagonists transporting weed in their vaginas because it just makes good sense? I laughed out loud alone in my living room at the Hurt Locker-esque bomb drop of Abbi missing a UPS delivery window. The baller dream sequence where they enter a bank with Abbi’s eight thousand dollar paycheck is a thing of beauty. Racist dating sites, Oprah Winfrey tramp stamps, EpiPens, poo ninja sequences, and a dog who looks like Judith Light, it’s all here.

We’re only into the third episode of season two. If you’re not watching, start. Wednesdays at 10:30 on Comedy Central.


About Author

Rob Penty is a front end web developer living in Brookly, NY. You can see him perform improv at the Magnet Theater or tell stories at Moth StorySLAMs. For more of his writing, check out www.actuallyitsrobpentydotorg.com.

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