I’m just going to come out and say it—Broad City is one of the funniest damn shows I’ve ever seen. It’s everything Girls fails to be and so, so much more. The jokes are uninhibited, surprising, and recurring. Cultural references abound. But the wacky, lovable, goofy best friendship Ilana and Abbi share makes up the core of this comedy set in Brooklyn. I’m comforted by a show that’s not afraid to portray every relationship as not being wrought with peril.
The comedy duo, Ilana and Abbi, have been doing this show on YouTube from 2009-2011. Amy Poehler saw them, and the rest is history. Luckily they’ve maintained most of the writing credits, as they are best able to draw out the nuances from their relationship and its quotidian nature. I discovered later that my favorite episode (“Working Girls”) wasn’t written by them, but in that episode, the two spend most of their time apart. Curious.
This isn’t a show that’s trying to be smart, and thank God. The show tries to be, and amply succeeds in being, hilarious—a much higher virtue for television. There are many references to this being the Golden Age of television, as if we were all being written about by Hesiod. The seriousness with which people approach this idea extends into most shows themselves, making them bland and self-important, as if we are supposed to find reflections from life or higher meanings; it’s also the result of presentist thought reigning in the current cultural dialectic, a presumptuous and vain attitude. Broad City is a great reminder that television can simply be for entertainment, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
If you don’t like jokes about weed or vaginas or bodily functions, this is, in fact, probably not the show for you. But if you have a sense of humor, you should definitely binge-watch the first season (10 episodes). The secondary characters are brilliantly rendered; the cameos are few, but incredibly well-chosen (Rachel Dratch and Janeane Garofalo to name a few). And to those happy fans, rejoice!—a second season is in the works. I know I’ll be watching.
Jonathan May watches too much television, but he’s just playing catch-up from a childhood spent in Zimbabwe. You can read his poetry at owenmay.com, follow him on Twitter at @jonowenmay, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image source: Comedy Central