There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

I’m honestly not sure how to review this show. I vaguely heard about Broad City through Tumblr and occasionally on Comedy Central, but I had no idea what it was about. I decided to look it up since all the feedback I did see was very positive. Now it might be one of the funniest comedies I’ve ever seen, and I’m not sure how to write about it, because plot wise it’s all over the place. I wouldn’t say these characters are growing or changing or that we’re seeing consistent story out of them, but that’s completely fine because it’s meant to be bizarre and funny and that’s it. It’s about two oddball women in their early-mid twenties in New York City, broke and aimless in their lives. Amy Poehler is one of the executive producers and I find that fascinating because narrative-wise she’s a very good writer who likes completed arcs. But there’s something so joyously nonchalant about Broad City. I saw the pilot of Girls back when it first came out, and I was surprised at how little I liked it. I’m a little weird though, so it’s not that surprising this bizarre outtake on life in NYC fits in better.

I don’t even know how to describe this show. It’s like Arrested Development meets Harold and Kumar meets Sex in the City? It’s wonderful, that’s all you need to know. But anyway the show was created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, and they star in it as the characters also known as Ilana and Abbi. It’s clear this is personal, if maybe a little exaggerated. Abbi is the more responsible one and at first seems the straight man to Ilana’s wackiness, but it soon becomes clear she’s just as odd as her friend. Abbi works at a fitness gym where she longs to be a trainer, but she lets people walk all over her and actually cleans for it instead. She’s miserable at her job, and she wants to be a serious artist, but she doesn’t seem to ever do art that we see on the show. Ilana works at a sales business place that’s very touchy feely and the boss is too timid to get rid of her. Which he should because she never works, she shows up and does nothing in inappropriate clothing, and she is the embodiment of a character that gives no fucks. Ilana’s unrelenting confidence is so entertaining to watch. She loves herself and she loves her life, and it’s easy to enjoy her because of that. They both smoke a lot of weed, another thing I thought I wouldn’t find appealing, but ends up being hilarious.


The rest of the cast are made up of strange characters that are charming in their way. Ilana’s somewhat boyfriend Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) who adores her and wants to be serious, but she’s fairly indifferent to the idea. But they have such a great vibe in the sense you can tell they really like each other for who they are as a person. So Lincoln might wish they could be serious, but he thinks Ilana’s fabulous the way she is, so he can tolerate a lot of nonsense. He’s a successful dentist and has this really laid back great sense of humor. My favorite episode with him is the wedding one when he gets abandoned with the terrible truck they rented and says the sad part was he loves weddings the most. I love him to pieces. There’s also Bevers (John Gemberling), the boyfriend of Abbi’s roommate who lives with them, who is just horrendous. But strangely fun to watch? Maybe it’s more fun to watch the hatred that he inspires from Abbi. I definitely have met people in my life that reminds me of Bevers, and I feel like everyone has at least one person they could associate with this character. He sits around all day in an apartment he doesn’t live in eating Abbi’s food and playing video games. He’s oblivious to Abbi’s extreme dislike of him and strangely cheerful about everything. His best episode is probably with Jeremy’s package when he’s supposed to help Abbi, and he’s obsessed with rotisserie chicken. And ends up on a date with hot neighbor Jeremy (Stephen Schneider) instead of Abbi. There is also Abbi’s boss, enthusiastic trainer Trey and Ilana’s gay drug dealing roommate Jaime.

I can’t really pinpoint any character arcs really. The show gives snippets of their life, and there is an underlining theme that they’re two broke young women in NYC just trying to get by. They try to have fun, but they often have to scrape for money in order to do it. They keep looking for love, although it seems more like sex than love. Abbi’s awkward and anxious and something of a pushover. Ilana’s irreverent and boisterous and probably in love with Abbi. Her feelings don’t seem really platonic. She gropes her whenever possible and was very jealous when Abbi had a romantic encounter with another woman in the past. I’m not sure if this is queer baiting, in the sense that I think Ilana is genuinely supposed to be queer. At least bisexual, if not very open minded in the trysexual way. It’s hard to say because the show is all over the place. Highlights definitely included Abbi’s first art show, which turned out to be her artwork hung in a sandwich shop, the wedding where they ran all over the city trying to get there in time, and the disastrous “grown up” fancy dinner birthday party as the finale. Honorary mention to the slimy roommate guys who kept trying to trick them into a foursome and the hurricane bottle episode.

Really this show is bizarre. There are a lot of elements I don’t ordinarily find funny, but it just works here. I’m not that fond of potty or drug humor, and there’s plenty of it here. Maybe it’s the charisma of the leads or their undeniable chemistry as best friends. Maybe because I lived in NYC in my twenties and there were at least one or two mentions that made me laugh out loud. Especially the episode when they track the tourist through NYC for Abbi’s stolen phone, because I knew every place that they went to on the tourist list and laughed. The characters never say or do what I expect. It’s very random humor, and it works because of that. Abbi gets asked how many kids she has, and she simply rolls herself backward out of the room on the floor. How silly is that? But hilarious in execution. I can recommend it to people who like obscure adult humor and don’t get put off by episodes having no real purpose to them. Give it a shot and see how you feel, because if it does work for you, you’ll be cackling soon enough. Now I have to go watch season two.


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