With season 2 of Broad City premiering tonight, January 14th, on Comedy Central, I’m back with the second part of my re-watch of the comedy series. (Get caught up, if you missed the earlier post.)
In the first half of Broad City’s premiere season, we spent a lot of time getting to know Abbi and Ilana, and their usual routines. The show really picks up speed in the second half of the season, growing more robust than simply “a couple of stoner girls fail at life”, with more ambitious storylines, new characters, and a showcase of guest stars. While the first five episodes certainly endeared us to the main characters, the last five convince us that there is still so much more to explore when it comes to the two friends.
In episode 6, “Stolen Phone,” Abbi and Ilana decide to pick up guys “IRL” after they are rejected by all the men they attempt to ask out online. In the opening scene, they declare themselves “feminist heroes” for not waiting for men to come to them, but eventually feel rather dejected when their efforts aren’t rewarded. Both ladies pick up a date at the bar, but when Abbi’s phone is lost, she worries she will never see Ben – the guy who called her hot – again. Ilana is a bit more lucky when she goes home with her ideal one night stand (ridiculously good-looking, bisexual, with a passion for cunnilingus), but later finds out he is a terrible improv comic, and she can’t bring herself to sleep with him again.Abbi ultimately meets up with her dream date, but he turns out to be incredibly boring. One of my favorite elements of this episode is the way it depicts female friendships in relation to the dating world. The two look out for one another and try to help each other get dates and be safe in the process. Ilana goes maybe a bit too far when she discreetly questions Ben about when he was last tested and offers him advice about how to please Abbi, and she jumps to conclusions, running screaming to Abbi’s apartment, when she doesn’t hear from her after a night at the bar. These moments, however, just go to show what it’s like being a woman in the modern dating scene. Who hasn’t made arrangements with a friend before going out to text or call when you get home to make sure no one “gets SVU’d,” as Ilana puts it? “Stolen Phone” also features one of my favorite guest spots of the season: Ruibo Qian as the ditzy tourist who accidentally picked up Abbi’s phone at the bar. Episode 7, “Hurricane Wanda,” is Broad City’s “bottle episode,” where the cast of regulars get stuck in one location together. When a hurricane strikes, Abbi’s apartment becomes home base for Ilana, Lincoln, Ilana’s roommate Jaime, Matt, the omnipresent and disgusting boyfriend of Abbi’s never-seen roommate, his sister Marla, and neighbor Jeremy. The highlight of “Hurricane Wanda” is how gross it is, and how Abbi and Ilana both completely embrace the horror. After “spite-eating” an entire tub of potato salad, Abbi needs to poop, but is mortified when she finds the storm has left the apartment with no water, making it impossible to flush. She gives Ilana permission to use “any means necessary” to make the poop go away and is later forced to admit to her crime in front of Jeremy when Matt takes a dump in his sister’s shoe and refuses to own up to it. Hilariously awkward and undeniably unsavory, this is not the kind of plot we’ve come to expect from sitcoms about 20-something women in New York City. Though it’s a bit painful to see Abbi’s budding relationship with Jeremy stutter to a halt (for the time being), you gotta love the episode’s flashback to Ilana being a “doodoo ninja” and sneaking a turd from the toilet to the trash chute with nothing but a shower cap and some duct tape. The girl’s a regular poop MacGyver. Now that’s a best friend. Right after the bottle episode, we have Broad City’s road trip story, “Destination Wedding.” We are introduced to some new characters from Abbi and Ilana’s past, coworkers from their old jobs as caterers. One is Morgan, who is obsessed with Abbi and the old “trifecta,” the friend group made up of Morgan, Abbi, and bride-to-be Darcy (played by guest star Franchesca Ramsey). The other is Kevin, a chatty and perhaps a bit shady gay man who only wants to make sure he has enough blotting sheets and poppers to make it through Darcy’s fancy Connecticut wedding. As we’ve come to expect, the group does not make it to the wedding, but along the way Abbi and Ilana’s friendship is tested by the past. Morgan’s fixation with being Abbi’s best friend leads her to reveal that on a trip to the Hamptons, before Abbi and Ilana knew each other, Abbi and Darcy got drunk and made out. Ilana does not take the news well, but perks up when Abbi stands up for her and the strength of their friendship, calling Morgan out on her weird clingy behavior and ultimately telling her off. “Destination Wedding” has some of the funniest moments of the season, but as there are many hilarious surprises, I’ll refrain from describing all of them. Being a total geek for details however, here’s a bit of trivia: “Destination Wedding” is the only episode of the season which does not use the show’s theme music, DJ Raff’s “Latino N’ Proud,” replacing it with RJD2’s “1976.” Season 1’s penultimate episode “Apartment Hunters” sees Abbi finally deciding to get a new place. After coming into a bit of money from selling her art, and no longer able to stand Matt’s presence in her apartment, Abbi looks at several terrible options with Pam the real estate broker (played by the incredible Amy Sedaris), while Ilana attempts to get to the bottom of some errant charges from her cable company. Just when Abbi thinks she has found the perfect new place, with interracial couple James and Priya, she is thwarted by her own art, which unbeknownst to her was bought by a blatantly racist dating site. Ilana’s quest proves a bit more fruitful, introducing the audience to an old roommate/hookup Dale, who, despite being engaged to another woman, is still obsessed with Ilana and has kept her old cable remote (the reason she is still being charged by the company) in an attempt to hold onto her. Dale will almost certainly be a returning character in season 2, as the last glimpse of him we see is in his basement turned into a shrine to Ilana, complete with hundreds of pictures of her and dozens of stolen pairs of underwear. Dale’s obsession is funny in its absurdity, but it’s also legitimately creepy, and it will be interesting to see how the series deals with Ilana having such a serious problem as a stalker.
The season goes out with a bang with episode 10, “The Last Supper.” Abbi and Ilana have plans for a super-fancy seafood dinner to celebrate Abbi’s birthday, but Abbi’s dreams of a classy, mature birthday celebration are quickly dashed by her trashy and inappropriate reality. Not only does Abbi have to deal with her own bad habits when a condom falls out of her into the toilet, but she soon learns that Ilana has a serious shellfish allergy she is planning on holding off with an EpiPen to be able to enjoy some expensive eats.The episode is the culmination of all the season’s character development, offering us a pair of awesome friends out for a night on the town and an evening that goes horribly awry in a way only they could pull off. After plenty of hijinks (and a guest appearance by executive producer Amy Poehler) the season ends with Abbi and Ilana leaving a hospital in dresses and high heels in the wee small hours of the morning, talking dirty and goofing off. It is truly a heartwarming image that might remind some viewers of their own wild nights of good friends and bad decisions. As the episode comes to a conclusion and the season wraps up, one thing is for sure: we want to see more of this ridiculous duo and their misadventures, because there is truly nothing else like them on television right now.