Broad City, the newest edition to Comedy Central’s laugh inducing romp roster, has struck gold as a phenomenal hit with young adult audiences and critics virtually everywhere. The show focuses on the eponymous heroines Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer, two pot smoking, wild gals in New York City trying to navigate the messiness of life after college. The series is produced by Amy Poehler, of Parks and Recreation and Saturday Night Live infamy. Due to the subject matter of dealing with the psychological fallout of a post-university life, struggling with the workplace and moving up ladders to get more money, and trying to figure out what one’s place in the world is, the show has struck a thunderbolt of a chord with viewers. Especially pot smoking college students.
Comedy Central concluded Broad City’s first season run by renewing it for a second. The show is lined up with high profile comedy actors, such as Portlandia mastermind Fred Armisen, Janeane Garofalo, SNL‘s Rachel Dratch, the irreverent Amy Sedaris, and most notably, Poehler herself. They add a poignant touch to an already experimental series, already way ahead of the curve on its Comedy Central contemporaries like Workaholics or At Midnight. Though each show is much different from each other naturally, Broad City does not rely on sexism to get its punchline across the airwaves. In fact, Jacobson and Glazer, who first created the show as a YouTube webisode series, is often critical of sexism and misogyny they experience in their everyday lives. However, they underscore some of the absurdities that come with it, which is where the comedy really gets under your skin.
The heart of Broad City, under all the hilarious chaos and awkward interactions, is Illana and Abbi’s friendship. While other comedies resort to undercutting their character dynamics with cheap jokes and mean spirited jabs, Glazer and Jacobson’s characters, that share their real life names, are endearing, sweet, and just a lot of fun to watch. In the finale of the first season, the two women go to an upscale restaurant for Abbi’s birthday, where they get the seafood entrée. Illana, allergic to seafood, eats it anyway to “live life on the edge.” As her face puffs up in her allergic reaction, Abbi attempts to swell the sores with her friend’s EpiPen. The two struggle, and Abbi accidentally stabs herself with the EpiPen, sending a rush of adrenaline to her body. She crushes a wine glass in her hand while standing on top of their table, and holds Illana in her arms to carry her to the en route ambulance. It is a chaotic scene, but highlights how formidable their friendship truly is.
Amy Poehler discussed the show’s success in Cannes, France on Wednesday, citing viewers’ sophistication and desire to see something genuine. In an age where more comedies and character dramas give off disingenuous vibes to the people that watch them, Broad City came at the right time. There is a lot to credit for the show’s continuing success and rave reviews – the “sneak attack feminism” championed by The Wall Street Journal, the relatable content and sheer brilliance of the the show, Poehler’s production, and most importantly: Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer, the Upright Citizens Brigade alums, and their delightful hard work. It is no accident that Broad City has become a phenomenal hit.
Opinion by Tyler Collins