There came a point where I had almost forgotten about the Comedy Central hit show Broad City. I was in a very different place when I first watched it, plus I was watching it with other people, which affected my experience of it. But when I heard the show was coming to an end, I made an appointment with myself to revise this epic tv classic.
As with any true binge, I had to start all the way at the very first episode of season one. I was not only watching as a fan of the makers of the television series but as something of a critic. Lately, I have taken to scrutinizing my favorite shows and movies in an attempt to find generative modes of criticality. I must say, this was no easy task when it came to Broad City.
The main characters are Jewish Americans, so one would be forgiven for expecting it to be filled with Karenisms. However, the show skillfully observes the comedy of twenty-somethings New York life without ignoring harsh truths. There are some touch-and-go moments, but they come off as a testament to the bravery of the writing, confronting issues like race and priveledge with admirable care.
Firstly, the show was based on the pair's independent web series which was made between 2009 and 2011. That in itself is badass. But many shows which are adapted from web series end up losing that special magic when they are taken to the big studios. No shade to our queen and big sis Issa Rae but her success is the perfect example of this phenomenon. Her mainstream shows like Insecure give us a new kind of special but were never able to capture the special sauce we fell in love with on her web series The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl.
For this reason, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson appear to have achieved the impossible by keeping the original charm of Broad City alive for a full five seasons. The two were able to translate their natural chemistry to mainstream audiences and work in a juicy lineup of special guests including the hilarious Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, and Ru Paul.
What's more, the shows consistent feminist affirmations, though shrouded in humor, make it quite a serious cultural contribution. Predating the #metoo movement and the ensuing debates about inequality in Hollywood, this show is a beacon of feminine power. One can only hope Broad City continues to resurface to show future generations that our time wasn't all bad. The writing is impeccable, the chemistry between its lead characters Ilana and Abbi is undeniable and it is incredibly relatable. Watch it and thank me later.