Broad City, you guys!
I’m so excited to be recapping Broad City every week, which is one of my favourite TV shows right now. As someone who was initially excited about Girls and grew increasingly disillusioned with its desire to always be “saying something” whilst simultaneously turning me off its one-dimensionally flawed cast of characters, I was in love with Broad City from the get-go. Being an almost-broke woman in your twenties in an urban city doesn’t have to be deadly serious and meditative all the time. It can be silly, it can be comfortable, and it can be gross. You can be silly and comfortable and gross with your best friend! Girls failed for me because it tried to take characters with off-putting traits and desperately make them relatable. Broad City’s protagonists are relatable because they have off-putting traits.
In this week’s episode (“Hashtag FOMO”), Abbi is absolutely thrilled to show off her new nose ring to Ilana, who has less of an emotional reaction to Abbi’s piercing (“very 2004 of you”) than the fact that she missed her best friend’s St. James tourist expedition. FOMO, or “Fear of Missing Out,” is one of those fun Millennial buzzwords that everyone scorns, but secretly experiences every time they see an Instagram update from a fun drunk friend at the bar while sitting at home watching Netflix.
Abbi gets invited to her boss Trey’s house party, stoked that this may be the opportunity for her to get a leg up at Soulstice, but she and Ilana discover this is not meant to be. Trey’s friends are deeply lame and think the height of pop culture coolness is marathoning The Apprentice and saying “Bazinga!” Ilana once again cites the FOMO law, and argues that instead of lurking at Trey’s party out of pity, they should attempt to move on to cooler and cooler parties. Citing a tapeworm in her butt, which Trey is hilariously and sincerely concerned about, Abbi leaves with Ilana, and briefly, Lincoln (Lincoln!) in tow. A 10/10 becomes a 6.5 when the hottest dude leaves, or the minute someone starts blowing his nose. When Abbi and Ilana finally find the holy grail of perfect 10 rooftop parties, the cops break it up. Abbi drunkenly leads Ilana down a terrifying flight of steps to escape the police, and leads her to … an underground speakeasy full of elderly people, the “Narnia” of parties, where the episode takes a turn I was absolutely not expecting.
It turns out that when Abbi gets blackout drunk, she visits this mysterious speakeasy and becomes “Val,” a sultry, smooth-talking chanteuse who croons jazz tunes on stage. Broad City has been doing surrealism amazingly well this season (just thinking about Abbi skipping merrily down the aisles at Whole Foods with Bingo Bronson is making me giggle), and something it’s always succeeded in doing is making Abbi seem like the “straight man” when, in reality, she’s even weirder than Ilana. Remember “P*$$y Weed,” where Abbi starts off wanting to buy her own pot, “like an adult,” and ends up screaming at cardboard cutouts and dragging herself across the floor of a dentist’s office? Ilana breaking her veneer on a jawbreaker seems tame by comparison.
Abbi, as “Val,” takes drunk swagger to a new level and morphs a drunken slur into a 1920’s Classic Hollywood drawl. Up until this point in the episode, I was ready to give it a B-. It doesn’t really sit still long enough to get comfortable in any one scene, and although this was clearly done to mimic the frantic pace of Abbi and Ilana’s quest for the perfect party, it doesn’t let any great jokes settle down. I wasn’t content to just sit and watch the Broads attend hipster party after hipster party, even if one of them had Hannibal Buress and charcuterie (how can you resist that?).
In any other show about 20-something NYC women (again, looking at you, Girls), the rooftop would have been the highlight of the evening, the place where dreams come true and party legends are made. But Broad City is not any other show, and it’s not content with taking one storyline to its logical conclusion. Anyone can get blackout drunk and forget what they did at a badass party last night, but only Abbi can get blackout drunk and forget that she was a lounge singer at a secret club for old people. Luckily for Abbi, Ilana remembers, and will take that memory to the grave. FOMO, indeed.
- Only Ilana would think sweeping up all her weed remnants and combining them into one superblunt is “taking care of her life.”
- As someone who missed out on getting a nose ring when it was very 2004 and always regretted it, I totally emphasize with Abbi’s nose ring enthusiasm. If I were to identify myself with one Broad, I am absolutely the awkward, well-meaning, secretly judgmental Abbi.
- “Don’t shoot me in the face, dude.” “It’s nice. You die instantly!”
- Did you guys see Garol at the speakeasy?!