Broad City

5 out of 5

Created by: Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer

Describing something in terms of something else – “Like X Meets Y!” – is normally the sales pitch summary or a shorthand way to, essentially, denote that whatever you’re talking about will never be more than a sum of its parts.  So it’s somewhat insulting, to not define something on its own terms.  But I don’t mean to insult ‘Broad City’ when I call it a female Always Sunny… moved to New York.  Because I’m not saying it is that show, nor that it’s copying that show.  Sunny was one of the first current-era comedies to really capture me, and it was primarily due to the very strong creator-owned vibe that ran through it: material written and performed by friends, with the end product seemingly as close to what they’d intended it to be.  The show works without (most of the time) feeling formulaic because – as recent interviews have pointed out – the characters are very human in that they never learn anything.  There are no morals.  There’s no point.  Episode 1 might as well be episode 100.  Other shows might take this as a sign of not growing, but we do learn about the characters along the way, and their world has grown, we just know that these people will adamantly remain as horrible as they’ve always been.  And this is that same magic formula Broad City taps in to, without it at all feeling like creators Abbi and Ilana are trying to retell the same jokes.  Our two leads are our two creators, and two primary writers.  They’re actually friends in the show, and so nicer to each other than the Sunny gang, but the naturalistic flow and realistically ignorant approach to life – to relationships, to drugs, to jobs, to taxes – is in the same ballpark, and perhaps why FX (Sunny’s home) initially passed on the series.  And, again, like that show, Broad City has expanded its palette, exploring its characters, bringing in more writers, opening up the template to get weird and surreal on occasion, but my comparison is truly only to set the tone and is meant as a compliment: Sunny belongs to its creators; Broad City is the same.  There are other specifics of value worth mentioning, of course: that though approximately 700 million, billion shows are shot in New York, it’s still heart-warming when people actually ‘get’ living there, and Abbi and Ilana clearly do.  And the ladies’ comedic timing and camera awareness are both perfect.  There’s never a joke that doesn’t hit its mark or feel like it could’ve been more effective delivered via a different tone or expression.

So here’s hoping Abbi and Ilana keep on keeping on, never learning their lesson, and continue to deliver us season after season of their show.

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