Hello all, welcome to my weekly coverage of Broad City. For those who have read anything by me before you’ll know that this show and its two leads, Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer, were one of my favorite things on television last year, and now they’re back and off to a great and hilarious start. Like many other Comedy Central shows such as The Kroll Show and Key and Peele, Broad City is difficult to encapsulate due to its sporadic nature. It’s also what makes the show such a blast to watch.
With producer Amy Poehler on board it’s no surprise that the show allows its two female leads to fly off the rails, performing both crude and physical humor and offering a tone of television not often seen helmed by women. The gross-out, frank humor is typically delegated to male comedians as well as absurdist ones, and while there are some names that break the mold, none do so to quite the extent of Broad City.
The first episode effortlessly brings us back into their world in New York City (which takes away the glamor but not the fun). The premise is simple: the two are on a mission to find an air conditioner for Abbi’s place after the heat is so unbearable that Abbi’s new boyfriend of sorts (played by Seth Rogen) passes out while they’re having sex. Not wanting to have to commit to that type of future ongoing problem, Abbi is making an adult decision to buy an AC to try to liven up her sex life.
Adult life is really something else.
This means that Illana and Abbi must visit Abbi’s favorite place on earth, Bed, Bath and Beyond. We’ve heard about her obsession but seeing her greet employees with increasingly detailed handshakes is maybe the funniest gag of the episode. They buy the AC, bring it to the curb to hail a taxi, leave it alone for a second and return to find it stolen.
So now they’re driven to more drastic measures because it’s Broad City and of course they are.
They go to a college dorm where Illana used to live and plan to pretend to be college RAs in order to swindle some poor, naïve freshmen out of their air conditioner. They get sidetracked while there after they find marijuana and instead spend their time teaching the boys how to get high with their infinite wisdom. Abbi, with her consistent brand of bad luck, kisses one of them only to realize that he and the two others are 17. They’re not in college yet; they’re just partaking in orientation. Panicking, the two grab the AC and leave.
Later Abbi and her boyfriend are enjoying the wonders of a cool living space when a kitten appears, scares them, and the AC ends up tumbling from the window as a result.
Jacobson and Glazer are two of the funniest people currently on television and episodes like this, which allow them to get a little weird, allow for a heightened aspect of comedy. Scenes like the Bed, Bath and Beyond handshake gag work because of how committed the two performers are and how unsurprising it is that Abbi knows and gets along with the employees. Along with the over-the-top comedy, the show also allows for some more real life conversation to get tossed in that usually has me laughing out loud because of how on the nose it is while feeling simultaneously uncomfortable due to how closely I understand.
As a female in her early twenties who also happens to be a TV junkie, I can say without question that Broad City is one of the very few shows that “gets it”. Sure, they mask it with surreal situations, but it’s based on reality that clicks – things such as an AC being such a big deal, especially in the summer while living in a city. I live on the third floor in an apartment in downtown Boston and I leave the windows up throughout the winter because of how stuffy it is, and during the warmer months have two fans pointed at me maybe a foot away. It’s gross and uncomfortable. The scene where Abbi is trying on clothes and has to walk out in the jeans she’s bought because they’re a part of her now also had me laughing because anyone who’s worn skinny jeans in the dead of summer knows the predicament they’ve found themselves in is an unbearable one.
Broad City knows who its characters are and who its characters are based off of. It knows how to derive humor out of any seemingly mundane activity and make it ridiculous and relatable.
The season two premiere gave most of the focus to Jacobson, which is well earned considering just how hilarious she is mixing her timid nature with her constant exasperation and abundance of comedic physicality to create a very specific person.
It was a great welcome back episode. Who else is ready for season two?