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The Must-See Show of 2014: ‘Broad City’

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.

A couple weeks ago, one of my housemates mentioned that my friend — who was visiting at the time — and I reminded her of two main characters on a show called “Broad City.”

During that conversion, I had not heard much about this Comedy Central sitcom besides that it had been deemed as a much funnier, more diverse and less indulgent version of HBO’s Girls, and Amy Poehler produced it. Of course, both of these facts sparked my interest and I had to see whether or not my housemate’s remark was a compliment or an insult, so I decided to watch a couple episodes. This spiraled pretty quickly and I began to obsessively binge-watch this hilarious show created, written and starring the lovely Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson playing high and heightened versions of themselves.

Glazer and Jacobson’s silly, strange show originated as a web-series from 2009-11. Both women, who are in their mid-20s, struggle with finances, work at jobs they despise (IIana is a temp and Abbi is a custodian at their local gym) and attempt to enter into the dating world. In my eyes, they are feminist heroes. In fact, this is not only my opinion. Wall Street Journal previously noted Broad City uses “sneak-attack feminism” as these women are sexually assertive, open in their sexuality and talk about their sexual conquests in an honest way. These attributes are rarely, if ever, seen in female characters on television sitcoms and I greatly appreciate Ilana and Abbi’s refreshing explicitness.

Because Ilana and Abbi are crude and crass (and love weed), it is easy to compare them to the male leads in any of Jude Apatow’s films. Similar to Apatow’s characters, Ilana and Abbi can be lazy, are not terribly ambitious (Ilana continually gets stoned in her office’s bathroom) and are not great at making decisions (such as deciding to clean a diaper-clad man’s apartment in their underwear to buy Lil Wayne concert tickets — yes, for real).

Despite, or more likely because of, their flaws and shortcomings, these women are easy to relate to and extremely likable. In addition, it is clear Ilana and Abbi love each other and will do anything for one another — something seen when Ilana hides Abbi’s un-flushable piece of poop in order to save Abbi from embarrassing herself in front of her crush.

If anything, Ilana and Abbi’s dynamic, odd-ball relationship as best friends who are attempting to make names for themselves in a surreal version of New York City is reminiscent of Flight of the Conchords’ Bret and Jemaine (minus the musical numbers).

By the way, my housemate was relatively astute in her observation. If my friend and I were stoners who happened to live in Brooklyn this show is an accurate depiction of how our lives would play out, complete with discussing inappropriate topics at fancy restaurants and awkwardly navigating swanky parties. I, personally, have found a kindred spirit in the likes of Abbi; as I also have “going to a pug farm” on my bucket list and I, too, find inspiration in the likes of Oprah Winfrey.

I am a 3rd year English here at Cal Poly. I have a passions for all things pop culture, dogs and feminism.
Kayla Missman is a sophomore studying journalism at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Beyond serving as Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Cal Poly, she works at Mustang News, the college newspaper, as a reporter and copy editor. Follow her on Twitter @kaymissman.