Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Broad City. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
There’s always a worry with a show such as Broad City (or even sitcoms in general) that they’ll reach a point where either they’ll be unable to sustain the energy that pushed them into the cultural zeitgeist in the first place, or they won’t be able to top their best moments. As a show, while far from inconsistent, they’re memorable based on moments rather than full episodes. I remember Abbi high and physically rolling out of an office after being asked if she was a mom but don’t remember what got her there, and I remember Illana desperate running to reach Abbi with an ugly crying face, but not what prompted this response. It’s a hilarious show but it’s high points are so excellent that they eclipse the larger story.
Which certainly isn’t the worst criticism for a show to receive.
That being said, the beginning of season three of Broad City immediately puts any concerns to rest, with an opening true to the show’s energy and one of the most inventive pre-credit tags this side of Brooklyn Nine Nine. Spanning the course of the year, the montage shows Abbi and Illana getting ready to go out, hooking up and smoking a lot of weed, all set in the leading ladies’ bathrooms. It’s fun, energetic and sets the fast paced tone for the entire episode, which easily ranks among the series best.
The episode never relents in it’s pace as it hops from one set piece to the next. Like all great Broad City episodes, it’s essentially a day in the life with the girls. Starting at brunch where Ilana looses her key to her bike lock, leaving the chain wrapped around her waist, things soon begin to fall apart. Abbi tells Ilana that they should go check out her college roommates art showing at a gallery and almost immediately has her shirt ruined (by some mysterious sewer dweller) and they go to the warehouse sale where things are violently chaotic. Abbi get’s a shirt, sure, but the security tag is left on.
Their detour to Lincoln’s circus graduation (?) is fun in theory but also seems to derail the momentum of the episode, the only part that does. Luckily they don’t linger there very long, but Hannibal Buress doing anything is worth watching, especially when that anything involves awkwardly swinging on a trapeze.
Our heroes full bladders eventually get the best of them and they make an expected bad choice.
The one two punch of the girls port-a-potty pit stop is an excellent five minute comedic sequence as the scene continues to elevate itself. Anytime Abbi decides to do anything with confidence should always be met with some sense of trepidation, as Abbi’s life seems to be one awkward moment after another. The portable toilet being lifted from it’s station was something I hadn’t expected and Abbi Jacobson’s shrill “I’m in the potty” followed by the desperate “this is how I die” had be laughing hard enough that I couldn’t hear the following dialogue.
I never seem to get through an episode without thinking “poor Abbi.”
Abbi manages to escape her dire circumstances unscathed and as the two girls come down from their adrenaline high, the moving truck they’ve been leaning on begins to start and to their horror they realize that Ilana has become latched to the truck by that ridiculous bike chain.
Abbi quickly transforms into super Abbi mode and the visual of Ilana crying from the back of the truck as Abbi chases after her is superb. These five minutes are relatively brief considering the overall episode, but they take expectations of certain comedy beats and dial them up to ten. Physicality has always been one of the actresses most delightful strengths and both get to show off a bit here.
I am a little bit in love with Ilana’s total infatuation with Abbi. It’s been one of the longest running bits of the series and what makes it so consistently funny is Ilana’s absolute sincerity. Not a character to be “weighed down” by an actual relationship, I have little doubt that her breathless “marry me” to Abbi after she’s saved her was 100% genuine.
In all fairness, I’d probably instantly fall in love with anyone who hightailed it after me to save my life. It’s a very human reaction.
The only faltering aspect of the episode is once they get to the gallery and see Abbi’s ex-college roommate’s all while painting, we knew the duo are going to somehow destroy it. It’s been telegraphed since the moment they watch the information video telling them how to remove the security tag on Abbi’s shirt. What ends up selling the moment despite the predictability is how it’s executed. First, with the accident happening due to Ilana trying to rip the tag off with his teeth, the second being Abbi’s slowly mounting astonishment at what’s just happened, her desperate “no” as she tries to wipe the blue away being a fantastic summation of her character.
In the end she lucked out, her ex-roommate seemed lame.
The ending almost reaches the highs of the opening montage, as Abbi lotions Ilana up to try and pull the chain off of her. Ilana once again can’t seem to help making the situation sexual, even as she’s being injured by the task at hand.
I don’t know about you, but I physically recoiled at that end shot of Ilana bleeding from her chest, right before laughing as Ilana asks Abbi how she isn’t supposed to make this sexual.
Broad City is back to an incredibly strong start with an episode that I would rank above all of season two. I’m so ready for two of my favorite characters of television to be back.