Review: Broad City | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: Broad City

TV Writer Lucy Durkin expresses her love for the critically acclaimed comedy series Broad City

As the name would suggest, this diverse and inclusive show centres around the lives of two unique women, Abbi & Ilana. Written by it’s stars, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Wexler, it proudly shows the melting pot that is New York in all its colourful and brash glory, truly doing its name justice. I know that it’s not grammatically correct to write Abbi & Ilana, but it seems wrong somehow to not have their names as close as possible on paper given their full-frontal friendship. Their bond definitely helps to argue the case that best friends can be soulmates. 

Their dynamic is never stale; although they are very different from one another, they accept one another without the formulaic resentment so loved by TV shows
Broad City follows the trials and tribulations of Abbi & Ilana, two broke twenty-somethings struggling to make it in the big city. Sound cliché? It’s anything but. Broad City is not only unreservedly hilarious, brash and wacky, it is also sincere and heartfelt and offers insightful opinions on everything from politics (they bleep Trump’s name in season four and include one of the most bizarre cameos ever on TV by Hilary Clinton last season) and intersectional feminism, to best place to hide your weed when smuggling it on long-distance flight. The show is never tired and is always original in its content – no episode is boring, as the two heroines Abbi & Ilana are the furthest thing from dull. Both are vibrant and genuinely funny without coming across as trying too hard or overly-scripted. Yes, they are an odd-couple pairing, but their dynamic is never stale; although they are very different from one another, they accept one another without the formulaic resentment so loved by TV shows. You really believe their friendship as they support each other unquestioningly whilst maintaining their own personality. They really are a mismatched pair who make you sincerely believe in their unbounding friendship and love for one another. You fall in love with their friendship and are willing to go along with their mad exploits simply because you root for the pair so much. Also rarely for a show centred around women, you don’t favour one over the other and they never have to compete for the best line as the writers give both women equal footing. 

A recent episode allowed for the show to push one of the few boundaries it has left, animation! A lot of times when TV shows branch out beyond their usual format it doesn’t work (I’m looking at you Scrubs season nine and Archer season six), but, despite my initial nervousness, it did. Although known for its ever-changing colourful and often bizarre opening title sequence, the hallucinogenic mushrooms that the girls are tripping on created the perfect opportunity to explore the unique animation style that has become a core part of Broad City's image. I was very hesitant during the first animated sequence as I was worried it was going to be too much and take away from the main reason I love the show so much – Abbi & Ilana.

It’s the attention to detail that demonstrates just how much effort and care that Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer put in to the show, and we are all rewarded from it
The clever use of illustrations did not distract from the story and definitely added another dimension (pun intended) to the storytelling. You really did feel as if you were joining your favourite pair on their trip around the city (cue groaning at another great pun). The animations were colourful and, as always with Broad City, super smart and categorically funny. This episode was packed with cool and matchless animations, but my favourite piece of animation was in the background, a man skateboarded past the girls, but his board was a piece of butter and the road was a pancake. It’s the attention to detail that demonstrates just how much effort and care that the creators/writers/stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer put in to the show, and we are all rewarded from it. Their special blend of humour, wit, wackiness and pure love of people produces a show that is hilarious whilst being genuine – something that is very rare these days. Broad City is quick, heart-warming, outrageous and truly and utterly funny. I implore you all to watch it. 

(@lucy_durkin_)



Published

29th October 2017 at 9:00 am



Images from

Comedy Central and Comedy Central



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