Broad City made me realize that maybe there are two kinds of people in this world: Abbi Abramses and Ilana Wexlers. Are you complaisant Abbi, perhaps? Do you have a penchant for getting walked on, whether it’s by your roommate’s slob of a boyfriend or by your boss when he asks you to get on pube-cleanup, stat? Or are you impulsive Ilana, with your superhuman ability to never get embarrassed, not even when you’re Skyping your best friend during coitus (with comedian Hannibal Buress, who plays Ilana’s hysterical, straight-faced friend with benefits, Lincoln)? Not even when you’re asked for a more professional email – something other than IlanaWexler@MindMyVagina.com?
Comedy Central’s Broad City, which just wrapped up its first season, is worth the binge-watch. Every scene is potential GIF material. Amy Poehler is an executive producer, and the show was created by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, inspired by their webseries of the same name that ran a few years ago.
Abbi and Ilana want the simple things in life: some weed money and the ability to look at some guys’ dicks in basketball shorts without being bothered by anyone. Their lives are decidedly unglamorous. Abbi just wants to teach spin classes at the gym where she’s employed – it’s too bad her official job title is custodian. Ilana steals and sells back office supplies from the crappy startup where she works so she can have a good time at a Lil Wayne concert. And, yes, it is another show about young people living in New York City, but these candid characters are on a whole other level of millennial shenanigans.
I love worrying about Lena Dunham’s ladies on Girls. But part of why I love Broad City is that I don’t have to worry too much about Ilana and Abbi. Sure, Broad City gives me some anxiety. I can’t watch an entire episode in one go, because things always go totally, utterly wrong for these two Jewesses (their words.) But it’s always in a funny way, not in a sad Series of Unfortunate Events kind of way. Ilana and Abbi are always fine, in the end.
And as an added bonus, they love each other all the time! At its core, that’s what the show is really about. Ilana jumps into action when Abbi’s phone goes missing. After hunting down the phone with the “Find My iPhone” app, Ilana enthusiastically takes her top off to goad people into snapping a quick pic with what could be Abbi’s lost phone. It doesn’t work out, but it’s the thought that counts. And when Ilana has an allergic reaction, Abbi’s the one who has to stab her with an EpiPen. Abbi ends up giving herself the adrenaline boost by accident, but still. There’s no cynicism here, regarding friendship. It’s hard to expect anything else from Amy Poehler’s girl-positive résumé.
Now that Broad City is over, I can do what I do best: stalk the actors on their respective social media profiles and learn everything that I possibly can about their lives. At my core, I am probably more like Jacobson’s character. But through this exercise, I’ve found that I am drawn to Ilana. Glazer herself has a fascinating online presence. Her website has two links on it. One links to Broad City’s homepage, and the other goes to a page with all the videos she has worked on. The latter is simply labelled [sic] “vidjas.”
And Glazer’s Twitter is, in a word: delightful. It confirms my creeping suspicion that the reason Glazer plays her character so well is because she actually is her character. This is a theory based on tweets like “guys wut is life r n right.” Particularly wonderful was her response to Lady Gaga’s recent tweet praisingBroad City, wherein Glazer responded with “kween u r fucking KILLING US w t f @abbijacobson dead dying.”
Ultimately, Twitter bios are the true indicators of our real selves. Like, are you really just a “student at @NorthwesternU” or are you going to put it all on the table and tell us in a funny, self-aware way that you are also a “pantsuit aficionado” à la Hillary Clinton? The character of Ilana Wexler being kind of real is excellent news, because Glazer’s bio is not even a word, nor is it a sentence. It’s “8====D.”
Broad City stars some of the most unapologetic, in-your-face female characters we’ve seen in a long time. And it’s hard not to love Abbi and Ilana. Even when Ilana’s pulling drugs out of her body or purposefully having an allergic reaction to shellfish. Even when Abbi literally crawls away on the floor when she’s asked how many kids she has. Actually, especially during those moments.