'Broad City' is Back for its Fifth and Final Season

You never quite know what to expect from an episode of Broad City, let alone a season premiere.

Add to that the fact that the beloved series is heading into its final fifth season and the anticipation builds even further. The show that originally begin as a web series produced by lead writers and actors, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, has been airing on Comedy Central since 2014, garnering critical acclaim across the board. Known for its sharp millennial wit and over-the-top plotlines (waitressing for RuPaul and hanging out in a Florida retirement community come to mind), Broad City never fails to keep audiences on their toes. Last week’s premiere of season five was no different.

Episode 5x01, titled “Stories,” follows Abbi and Ilana as they embark on a one-day adventure to explore Manhattan from top to bottom to celebrate Abbi’s 30th birthday. Literally. The duo start at the “tippity top” of the island at Inwood and work all the way south to the “tippity bottom” of Lower Manhattan. The episode is filmed through the lens of Ilana’s Instagram Story, providing quick snapshots of the events that take place as they move from one location to the next. Hilarious captions and memes pop up throughout these mini “stories” as the backdrop of various New York City neighborhoods becomes a quasi-playground for the two.

At one point they are stuck outwaiting a subway delay and Ilana decides to share with Abbi a birthday video she made. Set to the tune of Five for Fighting’s nostalgic “100 Years,” the video is a humorous compilation of clips zooming in on Abbi’s backside. Ilana’s title for the video is—what else—“Ass of an Ageless Angel,” and is the kind of tribute only the weirdest and closest of friends could appreciate.

As the day continues, Ilana’s ridiculous platform shoes cause her to fall into a manhole, at which point she sacrifices her pain in order to continue filming the day. The two stop in a drugstore to get Band-Aids and gauze, only to be mesmerized by the aisles of school supplies—a fate many of us have fallen under. They eventually find themselves in the Midtown Mall, and upon discovering a lost child, try to figure out a way to find her parents. As it only happens on Broad City, the two are confronted by the girl’s mother, who just so happens to be an acquaintance of Abbi’s from college. Known as “Cheese,” the woman accuses Abbi and Ilana of trying to kidnap the girl, and has them chased by mall security. The adrenaline of their escape then morphs into a conversation about how Cheese “has 100 kids and thinks she’s better” than Abbi. “Bullshit!” she yells.

Fueling much of Abbi’s frustration is the plot undertone of her hidden concerns about turning 30. “I guess I thought I’d be married with kids by now,” she admits earlier in the episode. As the girls meet up with friends for brunch, we’re reminded again about Abbi’s existential crisis. She’s briefly seen crying in the bathroom as Ilana—still filming, of course—narrates, “Birthday Blues, they’re real y’all.”

As the two get closer to their destination, they continue documenting their adventure, though this time on Abbi’s phone (Ilana dropped hers in the river). Cruising through town on Ilana’s knee scooter, they take time to joke about street signs and flick off Trump tower. With the Statue of Liberty in sight, they stop to take a final video together, at which time Cheese appears to throw Abbi’s phone on the ground, essentially breaking it. Able to follow them because they posted videos with location tags on, Cheese at first admonishes them, saying, “Running around the city with your little foibles and your little mishaps and your little shenanigans…Get over yourself!” Ironically—though probably intentional by the writers—the very “running around” that Abbi and Ilana engage in each episode perfectly encapsulates who they are as characters and what the show is meant to be as a whole. Eventually, Abbi and Ilana end up giving Cheese compliments on the seemingly successful life she shares on social media, at which point the mom of four children admits that it’s all a struggle. In a quick turn of events, the three women eventually end up embracing one another and seeing that life isn’t always as it seems.

The episode with the girls realizing both their phones are broken, and as they turn toward the sunset, they take in a double rainbow. With no phones in sight, the experience is finally something authentic and real, and not manufactured through a lens or filter. “I think I need to get off social media,” Abbi tells Ilana. “It’s over between us,” she says as she points to her decommissioned device sitting in a bag of rice. “Me too, dude,” Ilana replies. “Because I don’t really remember any of the day.” Abbi responds, “It feels like because we were filming it, it’s not even our story anymore.” Ilana wraps up the scene as though having a revelation, saying, “It’s Stories’ story.”

If Abbi and Ilana’s quest throughout this first episode is any indication, season five is here to bring us endless laughter, creative storylines, and thoughtful introspection into what makes life so colorful.

Broad City airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.