Broad City: “The Matrix”

Broad City

Disconnecting from technology always seems like a lofty goal, a thing we feel we “should” do in order to become better people, along with taking up yoga or learning to do our taxes. Plenty of shows have attempted to tackle this topic and depict its protagonists reconnecting with nature in a humorous manner, but only Broad City can show how it can come back to haunt you through weed-induced paranoia, German tourists who mistake you for a boy, and canine matrimony.

Ilana’s (real-life) brother Elliot has a dog set to marry another dog at a wedding officiated by Janeane Garofalo, who I’m excited to see return (she gets to do and say way more here than in “Working Girls” and I’m endlessly amused by the way her know-it-all vet character insists on pronouncing “Chihuahua”). The night before, Ilana and Abbi realize their lives are dominated by a near-endless cycle of Googling, YouTubing, Instagramming, Tindring, and Buzzfeeding. They swear to go outside and breathe real air after accidentally Skyping each other when they’re in the same room. An idealistic snap decision to leave their phones at home while going rollerblading has disastrous results when Abbi falls into a pit and Ilana skates off in search of help … and to make it to the dog wedding in time, since Abbi is wearing the rings on her toes.

Ilana, Lincoln, Elliot, the rest of the wedding party and their adorable dogs attempt to locate Abbi, who, by this point, is reenacting episodes of American Idol with leftover figs and objects from Ilana’s backpack. The day is saved, Abbi’s sprained ankle is bandaged, and the happy couple is married–once the swelling goes down and they can get the rings off Abbi’s toes, of course. I even detected a hint of Val in Abbi’s voice, clearly altered by pain-lessoning drugs, which means she’ll hopefully forget the whole traumatizing ordeal.

There’s a lot of hilarious physical comedy in an episode that initially began with Abbi and Ilana lying lethargic on a couch with their laptops. Abbi Jacobson’s physicality of one of the funniest things on this show, and that fall after she tries to kick a soccer ball back to a group of hot guys while wearing rollerskates was amazing. She spends much of the rest of the episode lying in the dirt, smoking Ilana’s pot to calm herself down, and becoming more and more baffled by the odd assortment of objects Ilana packs. As for Ilana, she’s always excelled at contorting her body into impossible shapes while grooving to some sort of beat only she can hear. To have her do this while on skates and in considerable distress is even better.

“The Matrix” feels like a bit of filler, as it’s not quite as heavy-hitting or ambitious as Season 2’s previous, stellar episodes. It’s fun and funny, though, and brings to mind Season 1’s similarly phone-based episode, “Stolen Phone.” While “The Matrix” is light on plot (it’s solely comprised of Lincoln at the dog wedding, Ilana desperately searching the park for the wedding party, and Abbi’s stoned despair), I was actually very pleased that it didn’t end up morphing into any sort of statement on disconnecting from technology. Not that I ever thought Broad City, of all things, would get preachy, but there’s always the fear of Millennial finger-pointing, those mocking jabs that insinuate today’s twentysomethings are lost without their phones. Broad City is too lighthearted to do that, and it was never really trying to say that, anyway.

In the end, The Matrix is just a movie, and Broad City is a show about two best friends who are not quite adept at mastering the adult experience, but have a great time along the way. Let’s face it: with or without her phone, Abbi was always going to end up smearing mud on her face and wearing Ilana’s backpack as a diaper.

More Broadservations:

  • “Razor Burnz” is a near-perfect riot grrrl band name. “Pussy M.D.” is near-perfect in its absurdity.
  • I absolutely have the same brand of oil blotters Lincoln does. They do not work on profuse sweating.
  • I love the growling sound Ilana’s vibrator makes when Abbi puts it back inside its hiding place: a hollowed-out copy of A People’s History of the United States.
  • Stoned Abbi’s happy place = going to a farmer’s market with Mark Ruffalo and looking for milk crates they’ll one day paint for their baby’s nursery.
  • “Can in-laws hook up?” “Yeah, it’s like soft incest.”
  • Figs are the worst, Abbi.

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