This is how every season of Broad City should end: with an unwavering focus on our two leads and their friendship. The season finale last year is one of my favorite episodes the show ever did (And still is) because of how the show put Ilana and Abbi front and center, in mild transitions in their lives, and just hung out. Last year it was Abbi turning 26 and this year it’s Ilana turning 23. And let me tell you, her rant about just how meaningless turning 23 is struck a chord.
I am 23 and being 23 stinks. It’s that awkward in between land of floundering while being forced into pretending you’re confident. I strive to have Ilana’s confidence. Abbi was the MVP of the season for sheer exuberance and physicality (and in all honesty, she won me with that Lady Gaga performance in episode two) but Ilana is a special breed of character where she loves herself entirely. How many female characters do we see on television that have her brand of confidence where she finds herself totally and completely winsome.
Being 23 is still the worst though.
Abbi wants to take Ilana out for her birthday celebration on St. Marks and we’re met with some hilarious imagery as a plethora of clichés walk the frame as Ilana and Abbi walk to their destination. My favorite happens when a man walks by in the opening moments and tells the two of them to smile and then turn around and flip him the bird. Listen. Any man who has ever told me to smile has been met with ten times the glower I was delivering prior to his asinine “advice”. It’s yet another instance that goes to show how much we should be appreciating voices like Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s in entertainment mediums. They’re so attuned to how women are treated on a daily basis as well as well as how women act. There is a youthful perspective in their storytelling and I can’t believe we’re already at the point of having to wait another year to hear more of it.
Ilana and Abbi reach their first destination, a Chinese food restaurant and are all settled in before being forced to make small talk with two of the most aggravating restaurant neighbors ever. The two of them quickly exit when Ilana throws red wine on Abbi to get out of the conversation and the two look for somewhere else to eat. However, this is all interrupted when a young, presumably homeless man who had been giving them a hard time earlier steals Abbi’s bag and Ilana’s present and runs away with it, giving the show an excuse to direct a fantastic chase sequence. The directing style of the show has always been fun and a little hectic but it’s pushed to extremes this week as we follow the chase through the streets of the city.
They finally catch him after he runs into an upper scale apartment building and they find out that he isn’t homeless and instead a thirty something who mooches off of his rich family and pretends to be full of angst. Yes. Enter the best guest cameo appearance I’ve seen in ages with Patricia Clarkson as his mother who is absolutely divine in the role. She’s loaded and is snarling wretched things at her child and it’s wonderful. Watching her drunkenly slipping down the stairs, hiking her skirt up and spilling her drink all while her dinner party continues is one of the funniest moments of the episode.
The episode ends in the early hours of the morning as Abbi and Ilana sit on the sidewalk eating slices of pizza, with Ilana’s birthday gift (a blanket with a picture of a man on it) lays on top of them. It fades out on a quieter note and it works. Abbi asks her what she’s proud of doing in the past year and what she wants to do in the next and then Ilana asks the same. It’s a sweet, unfiltered moment of friendship and it’s one that seems like a blast to be a part of.
Overall Season 2 Thoughts:
The show continues to get better and better with these two talented women driving it forward. I loved the well-deserved focus on Abbi Jacobson’s vocal talents as well as physicality. I enjoyed the lack of Beavers and the increased screentime that Hannibal Buress received.
It was hard to beat season one in terms of consistently strong episodes and yet season two did it. Bring on season three.