Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Broad City. To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
First things first since I’ve been gone for a while (apologies) I want to address last Abbi and Trey’s relationship which I adore and want to see continue.
My favorite moment of last weeks episode: Trey and Abbi hooked up. Even if their kiss was hardly mentioned after the fact it was a genuine moment and sparks flew between the two actors. Sex on Broad City is often played for frank laughs on the show, or in a manner that’s honest about a woman sexuality. It’s all very refreshing the way they handle it but last week, although still very much about female agency, does something they’ve never done.
They made it sexy.
It made the moment real rather than playing it for a laugh which makes the evolution and then end (for now) of their relationship so much more intriguing to watch play out.
But back to this week where the most shocking decision the script made was to give Ilana some much needed depth. Ilana has always been more of a caricature than a person which has worked well with the more surreal aspects of the series but tends to begin to drag after nearly three full seasons. One of the many reasons that I’ve gravitated closer to Abbi in the past has been her sense of “real”-she has flaws, both that she does and doesn’t recognize and she finds herself in more than a few awkward situations, typically per episode. Ilana has largely been celebrated, for good reason, for embracing her fluid sexuality, for her abundance of confidence and her absolute abnormal way of pronunciation. While this largely succeeds in drawing both a larger than life and wildly entertaining character, it’s also separated her further from the audience. I identify with Abbi while I strive to possess an ounce of Ilana’s self-confidence.
This makes this weeks episode of Broad City so much more compelling as it has Ilana finally showcase a moment of humility, embarrassment and insecurity after Lincoln breaks up with her, if you can call it that. More than being hurt than Lincoln wants to be in a monogamous relationship with another girl, she’s more upset that he doesn’t want to be friends with her anymore, alerting her to the fact that Lincoln never viewed her in the same light that she viewed him. It’s a crushing realization to come to and her tears are a little heartbreaking as we see her typical tough facade crumbling. In this moment it’s her friendship with Abbi that means the absolute most, to both of them as Abbi lets a dejected Trey walk away in order to comfort the girl in front of her.
Speaking of Trey.
I was worried that after Trey left their date on the biting “I’m not a joke, Abbi”line that it was going to be the end of the relationship after some impressive buildup for the two. Sure, Trey isn’t the smartest guy in the room but he’s remarkably earnest, in a way that manner aren’t in real life. He just really likes Abbi and get’s flustered but is trying his best to impress her. Abbi mentioning at the end of the episode that she was beginning to like him shines a bit of light on the storyline and the potential growth it has in from it.
But the heart of the episode, such as it is the heart of the series, is Abbi and Ilana and what they mean to one another. It’s not surprising that it was Abbi’s lie that was the catalyst to Ilana’s breakdown but they’re so, boundlessly close that one little aversion to the truth isn’t going to cause any real drama and if it did it would feel forced within the confines of the show. Instead, they end up in a tub, in a grimy looking bathroom (man I appreciate the shows dedication to reality), in various stages of undress, smoking a joint and relaxing in their shared company. Both had a lot happen over the course of the episode with emotional upheavals but here in this moment they’re calm, collected and content.
It’s the strongest outing of the season so far as it addresses the fact that these characters can’t stay the same for the series run and not find themselves in narrative redundancy. I’ve appreciated so far this season that the tables have turned a bit as Ilana has seemingly faced one backwards step after another whether it be loosing her job or Lincoln ending their open relationship but it sets her up for a much more interesting storyline if it follows a similar course.Broad City doesn’t need to be You’re the Worst and turn itself into more of a “dramedy” but Ilana Glazer demonstrated some varied skill in this “Burning Bridges” and both her and Abbi Jacobson are both gifted comedians, it would be a shame to not allow them to push their performance boundaries a bit.