Here's Why Millennials Should Be Watching Broad City

When all the lady blog buzz began about Broad Citya web series turned Comedy Central sitcom produced by Amy Poehler and starring Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, I sort of rolled my eyes. Everyone was clamoring about how it was the new girl-power-feminist-women-can-have-sex sitcom to watch. There is no debate that women are funny. There is no debate that some of the funniest shows on TV today feature very funny women. I can go on for days about Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Veep, Tina Fey on 30 Rock, Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza on Parks & Rec and Kaitlin Olson on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, I can talk even more about my disappointment in The Mindy Project, New Girl and GIRLS. Still, I wasn’t stoked on the idea of some sort of heavy-handed feminist treatise on comedy. It something the world needs but, tbh, I am exasperated with feminist policing at this point in my life.
It was only after seeing GIFs on Tumblr and finding out comedian Hannibal Buress was on it that I decided to give it a chance. Broad City was nothing I expected it to be in every good way. The show is feminist by its mere existence not because it has some politicized agenda. The show isn’t about redefining women in their early twenties, like GIRLS is, it’s about two best friends living in New York City on a budget. They have friends with benefits, crushes, have roommates, smoke weed, and do all the same random shit we do but they don’t over-explain why what they’re doing is feminist. That’s the thing, we’re all feminist because we are making the choice to pursue something, whether we are making a political choice or not, whether we think about politics or not. The show is feminist only accidentally on purpose.
Most importantly, Broad City is really, really fucking funny.

Diversity

One of the major issues with all television and film but more specifically series that take place in New York City is diversity. In a densely populated city where over 120 languages are spoken if you are only hanging out with your own race, gender, religion, class or sexual orientation, you are doing it deliberately. Things are segregated along  those lines de facto for sure but anyone living in modern NYC has to interact with people different than them. However, historically, TV series that take place in NYC feature only white, mostly dude casts. From Friends, Seinfeld to GIRLS, white friends in NYC have become a staple of sitcoms. Broad City completely shied away from this because it simply isn’t true to the experience of being a New Yorker, especially because, well, society is getting to be a lot more equal.
Amy Poehler, who discovered the show when it was just a web series said, “What I think makes Broad City interesting, and what is kind of demanded now of shows, is diversity. In cast, in voice, it’s almost impossible to have a show about New York City with, like, six white people living in a building . . . That’s what a lot of twenty year-olds lives are, is this beautiful mix of a lot of different ethnicities and races and points of view. So I think that’s what makes Broad City broad, not so much the comedy.”

Penis Jokes

Ilana says to Abbi, “I must be craving pink dick,” when she has only been hitting up White guys on Facebook. The two girls gape at dudes’ swinging dongs in basketball shorts. The show isn’t about sex but the characters have sex. Ilana has a FWB who is a major character but she still hooks up with other guys without guilt or relationship drama. Abbi has sex dreams about her neighbor fixing her shelves. The show understands that women like to bone but it doesn’t overload it with heavy handed subversion like Sex and The City where every conversation is about how people don’t like it when women do this but we’re going to this anyway. The characters have sex and have a sense of humor about it.

The Struggle Is Real

Abbi wants to be a fitness instructor but is relegated to a janitor at a fake Soul Cycle. Ilana works at a fake Groupon but is too much of a burnout to apply herself so she sleeps in the bathroom and steals stationary. The struggle is real not because they have “big dreams” and feel far away from them like every young adult narrative ever, but because navigating life after college is hard. Yes, it’s because of the economy and expectations and all those grandiose reasons but on a day-to-day level the struggle is real because your roommate is a dick, because you aren’t respected at your job, because your job is uninteresting, because you’ve never done your taxes before, because you got locked out of your apartment. On Broad City the struggle just isn’t real, the struggles are real.

It’s Weird

The show isn’t afraid to get weird with it. There are few women who are allowed to get weird on TV because even when funny, girls are still supposed to be “pretty” and “prim.” Ilana carries her weed in her vagina. The two become naked maids on Craigslist to raise money for Lil Wayne concert tickets. Abbi has a breakdown in a dentist bathroom and sets off the fire sprinklers because someone said she looks like a mom. The girls are quirky but not Zooey Deschanel quirky where they seem like they might have a mental illness. They have full personalities and aren’t stereotypes and that means they do weird shit sometimes.

It’s About Friendship Not Ludicrous Goals

Broad City isn’t about “finding love,” it isn’t about fulfilling a career objective, it isn’t about making it in the big city. It’s about friendship at its heart. The two girls would always rather spend time with each other than do something else. They don’t undermine each other, get into petty fights, compete with each other—there’s no negativity between them just support. Not the SATC flavor of support where everyone gets mad at each other, doesn’t resolve anything, then says they are friends forever for the sake of plot devices. Whenever a show sets forth a grand goal of self-actualization then the entire show has to work around fulfilling the promise that by the end of it the character will have accomplished something great and often unfeasible. I’d rather be spared the broken promise for good, funny storytelling and have the central focus be on something as concrete as BFFs.

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