Does anyone remember when Girls first aired? Or more specifically, the brouhaha that followed? The “Lena Dunham will rescue us” op-eds, the magazine covers, the Sex and The City-comparisons and table conversations of “I think I’m a Marnie, but I really wish I was a Jessa…”, and the way overused line about the “voice of a generation.”
Then, just as fast as it rose, the series, plagued with poor little white girl storylines, a lack of cultural diversity and female relationship undertones that, frankly, seemed like the four “besties” would stab each other in the back for a free glass of chardonnay just like Real Housewives in-the-making, sank. It got old, stale, boring. Who could be bothered to invest half an hour of their lives into Dunham’s neurosis? Nope. Sorry.
Sure, Dunham’s awkward form of squirm-in-your-seat comedy has its place and this is not a take-down at all, but just like the idea of Carrie Bradshaw being a Chanel couture-wearing freelance writer with only one gig (LOL), Girls never quite nailed the realness of being a 20-something in New York the way it was supposed to.
Enter: Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City. Comedians-cum-BFFs from the Upright Citizens Brigade (co-founded by Amy Poehler, also one of the show’s executive producers) school of “Yes, and…” improv, with a shrewdness for offbeat, observational comedy, sexual self-effacement, and a penchant for pot. If you haven’t seen this show, or the 2009 webseries whence it came, hop-to, because this is the only “20-somethings living in New York” series you need to be investing in.
As young, perpetually broke, boss bitches in their early 20s, the series follows Abbi and Ilana’s deeply intense, bordering-on-obsessive friendship – I’m talking sexual consults (A fine example: “To Peg or Not to Peg”), FaceTiming while doing all the things: banging a guy/being hungover/shopping/eating; and sharing every tiny detail of their existence together (bowel movements included), while trying their best to navigate life in a really freaking expensive city (yep, FINALLY, somebody said it). Oh, and with as little responsibility as possible. See? Realistic.
Behind the scenes of Broad City (post continues after gallery):
Besides the duo’s chemistry, comedic timing and tiny, intricate observations we can all relate to (such as Abbi’s Bed, Bath and Beyond obsession and a brill and totally on-the-money subway scene), here is the first time a female friendship has been presented with the exact same sensibilities as some of pop culture’s best bromances (Cheech & Chong, included), and owned it. It’s almost as if Jacobson and Glazer simply asked, “Why should the boys have all the messy fun?”
“But I’m not a pot head! Why should I watch this?” I hear you wail. AHA! Because it’s funny. Because at heart, Broad City is about a friendship packed with love, and that preface is thrown into a vat of joy, intelligence and youth; sprinkled with debauchery, freedom, ethnicity, and unashamed sexuality and strained of all ego. Because the payoff is a platform that not only says, “it’s ok to be a lost, hot mess,” but also celebrates the BFF dynamic brilliantly.
And because comparing this kind of relationship to the one we’re used to seeing on television shows like *cough* Girls, is like the difference between a McDonald’s cheeseburger on the poster and in real life: Fake and nutritionless, but pretty and perfect, VS sloppy and messed-up, yet delicious, authentic and addictive.
Watch the trailer for Season 1 here:
Broad City screens on The Comedy Channel on Foxtel, Seasons 1 and 2 are also now available to download on iTunes. Noelle Faulkner is a freelance writer and editor based in Sydney, Australia. You can check out her blog here.
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