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“Broad City” redefines the hangout comedy

Brett Reardon, Contributor

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Two women in their 20’s living in New York City — you’ve heard it before, right? It may seem like a premise that’s been overdone, but “Broad City’s” creators and stars, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, make the Comedy Central series well worth watching.

Season three kicked off on Wednesday, Feb. 17, with a fantastic split-screen montage sequence that takes the audience through several months of Abbi and Ilana’s lives; we see all the insanity that goes down in their respective bathrooms. This sequence alone reveals who these characters are and what they have in common. The montage is filled with dancing, bong rips, eating pizza, reading Hillary Clinton’s autobiography and so many other weird details that each have a story behind them.

There isn’t much of a plot to “Broad City,” other than the daily misadventures of Abbi and Ilana, making it more of a hangout comedy where the main characters just wander the city and discuss random topics throughout the episode, like why God gave us finger-sized holes. Most episodes follow a similar formula: Abbi and Ilana have a low-stakes goal that’s almost impossible to reach due to hilarious and outlandish obstacles that are thrown their way. The show has its surreal moments, such as having a bunch of crazed New Yorkers attack each other at a warehouse clothing sale.

The show manages to keep itself grounded during these moments, in Abbi and Ilana’s exchanges of odd looks before diving in on the surrealism. With the smooth dialogue between its two protagonists that hardly misses a beat, “Broad City” shows that its true merit is the best-friend relationship between the two.

Abbi and Ilana are two great examples of characters playing off their differences to find common ground. Abbi considers herself an artist who hopes to be successful someday but, in the meantime, works at an upscale gym as a cleaner. In most cases, Abbi is the one that undergoes ridiculous experiences; she finds herself inside a porta-potty while it’s lifted off the ground and spends a wild evening with America’s sweetheart, Kelly Ripa. Abbi handles these situations with the utmost clumsy awkwardness.

Ilana, on the other hand, is the more outgoing of the two and frequently engages in casual sex. But her best friend is her true love, a running joke that’s played up on the show; she goes as far as putting up a picture of Abbi before she masturbates. She also often mentions how beautiful and smart her best friend is, while also telling her own therapist about Abbi’s problems, rather than her own.

These two gals put a new spin on the old buddy comedy style that’s been around for ages. It makes a show about women in their 20’s living in the city most relatable. “Broad City” is modern, clever and above all, proves how funny a hangout comedy can be, given the right ingredients. Give Abbi and Ilana a chance because you surely won’t regret it.

Watch “Broad City” on Wednesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on Comedy Central; or older episodes on Hulu and Comedy Central’s website.

Email Brett at [email protected].

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The digital-first, student-run magazine of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Journalism Department
“Broad City” redefines the hangout comedy