Broad City: “St. Mark’s”

Broad-City-210

I’m beyond sad the second season of Broad City is over, but beyond thrilled at how amazing it was. While Season 1 excelled at depicting how these endearing weirdos interact with their universe, Season 2 opened up the show conceptually with everything from a trippy, drug-addled dream sequence to a noir speakeasy. Pegging, hooking up with your exact double, humping inflatable pool toys and dog weddings: the full spectrum of love got a shout-out on Broad City this season, along with background characters who became full-fledged supporting characters with hilarious chemistry.

It’s a testament to how much this show is taking off that Season 1’s sole guest stars were (always wonderful) producer Amy Poehler and recurring guest Janeane Garofalo, but Seth Rogen, Susie Essman and Bob Balaban, Kelly Ripa, Alia Shawkat, Amy Ryan, Kumail Nanjiani, and Patricia Clarkson all turned up for Season 2. Clarkson makes her memorable, three-minute appearance in this season’s finale as a drunk psychiatrist hosting a pretty disastrous dinner party.

This episode is light on plot, but heavy on the whimsicality of a place full of tree men and tuckered-out partiers. After Ilana’s fancy birthday dinner is crashed by a babbling, deeply annoying couple, her gift is stolen by a 32-year-old man posing as a homeless teen, so Abbi and Ilana barrel through this tacky, carnival-like landscape to his beautiful townhouse and his mother’s (Clarkson) awkward dinner party. Clarkson rips into her spoiled adult son with unhinged, shrieking madness, and her tirade on his “loser, loser, loser, loser life” is fantastic.

While not as dramatic as last season’s similarly birthday-themed, adrenaline-filled (literally) finale, “St. Mark’s” played out like a collection of vignettes all involving the bizarre inhabitants of New York (the business Guido! A lady who eats food immediately as it falls to the ground!), and Abbi and Ilana nattering about Beanie Babies, manginas and what every age means as they hunt down Ilana’s stolen birthday present. So much of this season involved looking for things or being lost that they revealed the true joy in being lost in a big city with your up-for-anything best friend. New York is occasionally sad, baffling and gross, but it’s definitely a place where people like Abbi and Ilana can gather experiences rather than physical objects. When you’re young and broke, your memories are more valuable than a sweet new apartment or an expensive dress.

Like “Last Supper,” what could have been a disastrous birthday for most is perfect for Abbi and Ilana as they sit and eat pizza on the curb when it’s clear the night has gone to shit. Theirs is such a natural and relaxed friendship that they are content to simply spend the night with each other eating pizza and talking about nothing particularly important. They have the kind of organic relationship of, say, the characters of Seinfeld, but with none of the anxieties or paranoia. There are so many other past and present shows about friendships (and female friendships in particular) that aside from how hilarious every single joke is, Broad City’s appeal lies in that naturalism. Abbi and Ilana never get jealous or feel the need to one-up each other because this friendship is so far past the petty grievances we’re told women are supposed to hash out against each other. I think I can say that we, as viewers, are collectively over those stories,  and that this is the female TV friendship we’ve been waiting for.

Broad-servations:

  • I love Abbi and Ilana’s confusion over Facebook’s continuous changes and their vague reference to “the interface.” I work in social media, and I feel exactly like this constantly.
  • “Oh, and I figured out my eyebrows. They’re sisters, they’re not twins. They wanna be treated as such.”
  • Jiggly Caliente, former RuPauls Drag Race contestant, sells Abbi and Ilana a wig!
  • “You wrote your will on a napkin?” “I made copies, obviously.”
  • “I love me some dumplings! They’re like squirrel clutches filled with meat.” I love dumplings and I love this.
  • “No, it’s us. We … are Lil’ Wayne.”
  • “Twenty-two, you graduate from college. Twenty-one, you’re suddenly allowed to become an alcoholic. Twenty, you lose your virginity. Nineteen is your last teen year. Eighteen you get to vote. Seventeen you get to drive. Sixteen is your Sweet Sixteen. Fifteen is your quinceanera.”
  • Farewell till next January, Broad City! I’ll have to rewatch this season twice in the meanwhile just to get my fix.

A

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