Kate Frydman ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Broad City has a strong, familiar narrative quality that often serves to demonstrate its Seinfeldian dissent. Like Seinfeld, the characters don’t necessarily grow episode to episode, the drama is minimal, the stakes low and the characters are a parody of the familiar without feeling fake. In trying to sell potential fans on the show, devotees have to bite their tongues lest they recite the tagline supposedly used to sell Seinfeld back in the 90’s.
Broad City is a show about best friends, who have adventures, smoke weed and have sex. In other words, it’s a show about nothing.
Keeping things simple, the show’s writers work within two dependable episode premises. The first is ‘The girls go out together to take on New York.’ Like a mighty morphin power ranger, the girls are never as connected with themselves as when they move as one. It offers the viewer the most consistent “That’s so us,” moments, which are as satisfying to see on TV as they are in the consequential memes.
The second premise is ‘The girls have their respective adventures, and reunite to exchange information on their personal growth.’ The advantage to exploring this template is that it allows the viewer to see that the girls do have their own lives, which they manage to wreak havoc on without feeding off each other.
This week’s episode saw the latter story structure being explored, which meant Jacobson doing an episode-long Ilana impression that couldn’t have been done if the girls had been together for the episode. When Ilana fails to reach her co-op hours at her local organic grocery shop, she asks Abbi to fill in as her, rather than for her- the co-op doesn’t switch shifts- while Ilana goes to the doctor. It was obviously a real challenge for Jacobson to try and inhabit the vocabulary and body language of Glazer’s character, and makes you realize just how other worldly Ilana really is. Glazer makes playing her parodied-self look so easy. Abbi pursuing a boy as Ilana and trying to talk up her “friend” Abbi is a part of the episode that you end up caring less about than Abbi taking on a persona that she clearly can’t handle.
Ilana is driven to the doctor by Lincoln, who on their return trip reveals that he’s hooked up with someone else. As much fun as it was to watch Jacobson mispronouncing words and quoting Ilana’s famous line about the world being “caramel and queer,” watching Glazer’s unreadable reaction to Lincoln’s news was so much better. After what looks like a tantrum, accented with asking Lincoln explicit questions about the sexual encounter, the tantrum actually turns out to be uninhibited excitement. “THAT’S. SO. HOT!” She screams from the top of Lincoln’s car, which is not a lincoln, by the way.
When the girls reunite, and Abbi introduces Ilana to her new crush as “Abbi,” Ilana gets a chance to show what her Abbi impression is made of. Because Abbi is the straight woman of the show, an impression of her is presumably more challenging as she’s pretty lacking in abstract quirkiness. Instead, Ilana throws in something about Abbi’s Jewishness, and her giant labia. Job well done.
Overall Episode Grade: B+