Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why Does This Always Happen To Me? A Broad City Review

Hello my fellow winter-weather prisoners! It's time to tape up your cheap snow boots, hug that office space heater, and turn down any plans that involve going outside 'cuz it's a frigid nightmare out there.

I'm just one honey jar away from becoming winter-bear-Max. Seriously. It's not pretty.

Oh well, at least the presence of the Polar Vortex, Part Two: This time with more being cold! means I finally get the chance to catch up with the never-ending avalanche of television I've been trying to work my way through this season. I have a lot on my list, but going by my midseason review schedule (which I'm still a little behind on - sorry, I had a thing...?) it's time for a look into Comedy Central's new series, Broad City.

Let me just say that after watching the premiere twice, I immediately went to YouTube and gleefully binged on the entire two-season web series (don't judge me - the episodes are only three minutes long!) all in one night. Needless to say, I'm loving this show.

Broad City stars UCB alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as two broke, twenty-something ladies just trying to (barely) make it in New York City. Before you say what I'm sure you're thinking, let me stop you: This ain't Girls (but check back at the end of the month for my review of Girls' third season. Teaser: Dunham and Co. are back and better than ever). While the two shows may seem similar, Broad City gives us a much more comedic take on the hustle that comes with being young in NYC. For example, as we learn in the pilot, Abbi and Ilana will literally do anything for a buck including selling stolen office supplies, bucket drumming in Union Square, and cleaning a stranger's apartment in their underwear (Fred Armisen's creepy, hilarious cameo as a man/baby alone is worth the price of admission). These, and other more intentionally ridiculous parts of the show (Ilana skyping Abbi during sex, for one) are balanced out by some of the most relatable moments I've seen on TV in a long time. Like Abbi, I, too have a fishbowl full of change with "maybe 30 dollars in it" that could get me out of a minor jam, and a job at a gym where I've done some pretty gross things in order to be a "team player". Like Ilana, I have plunged a friend's toilet and asked a past employer whether I was going to be paid, only to hear that my check "hasn't been cut yet", whatever the hell that means, for the fourth week in a row.

Broad City airs on Wednesday nights at 10:30 on Comedy Central.
It's these too-close-for-comfort moments that make the show so feel so real; that, of course, and the amazing chemistry between Glazer and Jacobson, the two creators and stars. Like Portlandia, Broad City really shines when it's showcasing two real-life best friends playing only slightly exaggerated versions of themselves. In fact, the girls know each other so well, it's almost a surprise that they don't have the same Bert and Ernie living situation as Fred and Carrie do (one of the best reveals of last season was finding out they not only live in the same house, but share a room complete with matching monogrammed headboards). It's ok though - exploring Ilana and Abbi's separate worlds and roommates made for some great comedic moments in the pilot that should continue to widen the scope of Broad City as the series continues.

It seems silly, but in a TV landscape that's increasingly full of people who don't give a crap about anything, these girls stand out because they actually care a lot. They have dreams, ambitions, and a desire to make their day-to-day life an adventure which makes them endlessly watchable. With so many amazing comedies surrounding young women these days (how cool is it that I can write that and have it be true, by the way??), I can understand why it seems like there might not be enough time to add another one to your list. Just trust me, Broad City is worth watching, even if, like Abbi, you may have to reschedule your Damages marathon and cashew stir fry to make it happen.

Here are a few of my favorite things:

- Hannibal Buress' delivery of the line "Why does this always happen to me?" after being told his relationship with Ilana was "purely physical" made me laugh so hard, I choked a little.

- "It's called the non-member pen and you know it." Ah, the joys of working in a gym...

- Alt J's song "Fitzpleasure" was used during the creepy apartment cleaning scene, and having seen them live, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Abbi and Ilana are also fans.

- "You still have your performance bib?"

- "I'm pretty sure I'm lactose-intolerant." "Good thing you ate all that cheese."

Ready to jump into the awesomeness of Broad City now? Check out some of my favorite episodes of their web series: "The Commute", "Do The Right Thing" and the series finale, "I Heart New York".

Now it's time for: A little SHAMELESS RECAP

Season 4, Episode 2: "My Oldest Daughter": This week, Fiona is growing into a successful sales rep at World Wide Cup, but it's becoming clear that her penchant for lying is beginning to affect her future with Mike. Lip's old high school tricks for getting the girls and the grades aren't working in college, and he seems lonelier than ever. Debbie finds out her new boyfriend is 20 (20!!!! Debbie, get the hell out of there!) and Kev and V find out that in addition to Mama Carol's baby, they're having triplets in a hospital scene that officially cements Kev as my favorite character. Meanwhile, Carl is on the hunt for someone to donate a portion of their liver to Frank, but when Fiona refuses, Frank drops a pretty big bombshell...more will be revealed when Shameless airs TONIGHT, January 25th at 9PM.

See you all next week for a look into the third season of Girls!

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