‘Broad City’: Yasss Queens of the Stoned Age
Broad City isn’t just the funniest comedy on TV — it’s a way of life. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are true senseis for the rest of us. They might seem like just two New York stoner chicks who spend all their time talking dirty or vaping or pretending to be Lil Wayne. But they face life with their own “carpe daaay-umn” philosophy. These two broads are so into each other, their BFF chemistry can turn any ordinary nothing day into a world-pegging adventure. Part of their secret is how much they love giving compliments constantly; everywhere they go, it’s the place to be, and they shower it all with praise. They don’t just give compliments to each other (“You’re my favorite little Jewie this side of St. Louie!”) or even to strangers (“fierce shoulder pads … date night?”) but people who despise and insult them. When people try to cut Abbi and Ilana down to size, it doesn’t work, because these two barely even notice — they just keep gushing with enthusiasm. They face the cold, cruel world with a “yass queen.”
In the superb new season, the broads venture boldly into new areas we’ve never seen them before: the DMV, the organic-produce co-op, the boxing ring, extended jokes involving Phish. They also go places they’ve always been before — lounging on their beds at the end of another ordinary day, eating cold pizza, raving about how dope it all was and how lucky the world is to have them around raising hell. The whole cast thrives on their chemistry: Hannibal Buress as Ilana’s long-suffering dentist boyfriend, Chris Gethard as her longer-than-long suffering boss, Nicole Drespel as her sufferinger-than-suffering co-worker. When a visitor at the office asks, “What do you do here?,” Ilana doesn’t hesitate: “Total transparency — I spent most of the day coloring in my tummy.”
The third season has new guest-star faces like Alan Alda, Melissa Leo, Vanessa Williams and, astoundingly, Hillary Clinton, who clearly recognizes a pair of queens when she sees them. Abbi, after years of cleaning the toilets at the Soulstice gym, finally gets a chance to live out her dream of being a full-fledged trainer. Ilana, after years of living her dream by showing up at work “violently high” and making everyone’s life a living hell, keeps getting better at that. Last season we encountered Ilana’s bad-ass mom; this time we get to meet Abbi’s dad and see childhood video footage of her from summer camp (looks like she was always that girl). They experiment with social media (“I haven’t tweeted in twelve twinutes”) and face off in the ring with their cool new boxing names: Abbi is “The Anxious Assassin,” while Ilana is “The Jewnami.” It might have originally seemed like a simple recipe — stoner-bro comedy with stoner sisters — but each season gets punchier and funnier.
They also venture into new areas emotionally — the episode where Abbi deals with her mega-competitive side at the Soulstice games goes right to the top of the all-time Broad City greatness charts. You know we’re in weird new territory when Ilana can come on as the voice of maturity and wisdom, telling her, “You are all-caps ABBI right now — I need you to be case sensitive.” It gets ugly. But Ilana knows how to put her BFF in a half nelson and soothingly talk her down: “Okay, Yankee Candle Store, vanilla bean, BB & B when it opens, 8 AM, just you and the employees.” Yet even when they try to chill out to a regular human level, they’re on their own level. Stay high, ladies.