Broad City Season 5 Premiere: A Perfect Start to A Final Goodbye

Broad City is ending, and nobody is more upset about it than yours truly. The series has had a solid four season run, and the fifth and final season is off to an inventive start. The season premiere follows the show’s main characters—the “broads” of New York City—Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler on Abbi’s 30th birthday as they travel from “tippity top of Manhattan to the tippity bottom.” Besides a few moments that add up to less than a minute, the entire episode, titled “Stories,” is shot through the perspective of Instagram stories. This format confirms more than ever how current and “millennial” the show and its characters really are. It also provides a new and original way for Abbi and Ilana to demonstrate the dynamic of their friendship as well as their individual (and shared) sense of humour.

 

 

    The general plot is quite predictable: the two best friends will endure a day of obstacles and mishaps as they make their way to their final destination. The episode begins with Abbi and Ilana showing off their trekking outfits, Abbi donning practical workout gear while Ilana sports some not-so-practical chunky heels she bought online for 80 per cent off. Ilana’s “half a size too small” shoes later cause the first major hindrance to their journey, taking the girls on all kinds of wild twists and turns.

 

 

    Their day does not only consist of accidents and let-downs, though. Ilana presents Abbi with a heart-warming and equally ridiculous birthday video to the dramatic song, “100 Years”, by Five for Fighting, and the duo join a few of the show’s most beloved characters—Ilana’s roommate, Jaimé, and his new boyfriend as well as Ilana’s own boyfriend, Lincoln—for a booze-filled brunch. This episode also features return of the character, “Cheese,” Abbi’s former friend from college whom we briefly met in the second episode of the series, an amusing callback for dedicated fans of the show. By the end of the day, after filming everything that happened to them, the two pals come to the realization that social media is consuming all of us and is preventing us from expressing anything real, a statement that, though it feels a little oblivious and tired, is pretty meta considering how the episode was (literally) framed.

 

 

    Had this episode been filmed like any other episode of Broad City, it would have been just okay—the events that transpire are entertaining enough, but it’s this specific format that makes the episode so refreshing. The “stories” of which the episode is made up are peppered with emojis, stickers, polls, location and account tags, and phrases in different fonts and colours that refer to whatever is happening at the moment. The constant appearances of these Insta features with which the majority of viewers would be familiar add to the comedic pace of the episode. This decision to film the premiere as Instagram “stories” also gives the episode a sense of authenticity that has never been more prevalent in the past seasons. The audience is able to get closer to these characters, observing their day through the facade of a social media platform as though they’re our friends. In a sense, these 20 minutes feel more like the real women who play these characters--Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson--than they do the characters themselves, showing how ready they are to leave these roles behind, while staying committed to going out with a bang.