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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Broad City

Television has gotten so complicated. In my day, there were only three networks and you pretty much knew every night what was on. Those days are long gone. Now there are so many networks and even TV shows that are not on TV. I hardly ever watch television anymore, as I have no fucking idea what's on or what channel it's on.

So I watch shows on DVD, and I doubt I live long enough to catch up with them. I also don't know about shows until I read about them or they get nominated for awards. I happened to read an interview with Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, the creators and stars of Broad City, and decided to give it a try and watched the ten episodes of the first season. It is terrific.

In a somewhat scruffier version of Girls, Glazer and Jacobson play slackers in their mid-twenties who live in New York, get high a lot, and have lots of casual sex. They are also devoted friends, which keeps the series from just being a collection of yuks. It's a very humanistic show, and the women's vulnerabilities give it just a trace of sentimentalism that is heartening.

It owes a lot to sit-comes that came before, notably Seinfeld, as each episode is basically about nothing, or rather, one thing: getting locked out of an apartment, trying to get to a wedding, riding out a hurricane, going to a fancy restaurant, losing a phone. But in those simple plots, there is much mining of modern-day culture, particularly for women of that age. Mostly it's about dating and sex. For instance, Abbi goes to the bathroom and pees out a condom. Ilana meets a great guy who gives her great sex, but she can't get over how bad a comedian he is. They joke about who is the grossest guy they would still have sex with, and Abbi wins the game by answering, "O.J."

The supporting cast is pretty skimpy in this first season, perhaps they grew a little in subsequent ones (the show has been renewed for seasons 4 and 5). Lincoln, played sweetly by Hannibal Burress, is Ilana's booty call, a dentist who wants to make the relationship more committed. Abbi's nightmare is her roomate's (she's never seen) boyfriend, Bevers, who has a habit of walking around the room naked or taking a shit in someone's shoe. His shining moment was when he was caught masturbating to Julianna Margulies and explains his jerking off technique to a mortified Abbi.

Many very funny women have had parts, including Rachel Dratch, Janeane Garafolo (as a veterinarian diagnosing Ilana's hemorrhoids), Amy Sedaris as a deranged realtor, and Amy Poehler as a chef (Poehler also directed that episode). While the two leads can be seen as very silly and immature, there is an aura about feminism to the show, as it seems like a haven for cutting edge comic women.

The show is on Comedy Central, so there is no nudity or swearing, but it is certainly not for everyone. The second episode is called "Pussy Weed," as that is the place for a woman to stash her cannabis where no one will look for it. But still, drug-sniffing dogs should be avoided.

1 comment:

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