Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Comedy Central’s hit show Broad City have just signed a deal to write a script at 20th Century Fox. The duo won’t be starring in the film (boo!), but it will be a collaboration with Paul Feig, the guy behind Bridesmaids and Freaks & Geeks.
About a million thinkpieces have been written about Broad City in the wake of its wholly deserved success, but the fundamental thing is: Not only is it one of the most inclusive shows on television, not only is it one of the smartest shows on television, it is one of the most hilarious shows on television.
If, for some reason, you’re the last kid on your block to know about Broad City, we’re here to help. There are only 20 episodes so far, so once you get hooked, you’ll be able to binge on the rest of the series in a day.
And trust me, you will get hooked — I’ve been there, folks. It’s a quick journey from “Hey, I heard this Broad City thing is supposed to be pretty good,” to “We must elect Abbi and Ilana co-presidents of the universe!”
5. What A Wonderful World
There’s no better way to show what a perfectly formed show Broad City is than the fact that it’s first episode is among its best. For a pilot to be even one of the better episodes is rare; usually it takes a few to find the show’s footing. In this case, Broad City did have a leg up with the two seasons of webshorts they made before getting the TV series, but still.
“What a Wonderful World” is a great introduction to the characters of Abbi Abrams (played by Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (played by, wait, you’ll never guess, Ilana Glazer). The story is that they’re trying to raise money for a Lil’ Wayne concert, but really the episode is an excuse to introduce us to the Broad City world, where you can be told to be positive while snaking pubes from a clogged shower drain and be ripped off by Fred Armisen as he pretends to be a baby.
4. Destination: Wedding
Speaking of Hannibal Buress, Lincoln is the secret weapon of this show. He gets some of the best lines, and he plays perfectly off Ilana and Abbi. Lincoln is also what makes “Destination: Wedding” one of my favorites… though the entire episode is great.
It’s a perfectly plotted adventure episode (see also: “Working Girls”, where Abbi has to retrieve a package for her hot neighbor) where Abbi, Ilana, Lincoln and three of Abbi’s friends try and repeatedly fail to make it to a wedding, each setback peeling off another member off the group.
This episode shows off all the strengths of Broad City, the tight plotting, the camaraderie between the characters, and, especially the leads’ great gifts for physical comedy.
3. Wisdom Teeth
Lincoln takes Abbi’s wisdom teeth out, and puts Ilana in charge of her recovery. This works about as well as you would expect, considering there wouldn’t be an episode otherwise — “Ilana gives Abbi soft food between naps” isn’t a very good log-line for an episode.
Still, it’s an amazing episode where Abbi goes on a vicodin-and-weed-fueled trip to Whole Foods with a mascot version of her stuffed toy while Ilana tries to find her. It’s also educational… not only do we find out the extent to which the Gowanus neighborhood is being gentrified, there’s a Breaking Bad inspired montage where Ilana demonstrates exactly how to make firecracker smoothies.
The direction by John Lee (co-creator of Wonder Showzen, Xavier: Renegade Angel and The Heart, She Holler; subject of They Might Be Giants’ “John Lee Supertaster“) provides this episode with extra visual flair. Anyone who sees this and doesn’t want to have a multicolored dance party with triple-Abbi is lying.
2. Coat Check
“Coat Check” is an interesting episode in that it separates Abbi and Ilana for most of the show, yet remains an outstanding one with some really creative casting, Abbi and Ilana each getting their own guest star.
Abbi gets to spend time with America’s Sweetheart Kelly Ripa, while Ilana hooks up with a woman who looks and acts almost exactly like her (played by the identical-looking Alia Shawkat). Kelly Ripa is hilariously game as a surprisingly intense partier, and it’s nice to see some bi representation where bisexuality itself is not presented as the joke.
There are two things you need to know about this episode. First, it’s “the pegging one.” Seriously, it’s all about Abbi pegging someone. Second, this is the episode I first showed to my parents … AND it made them fall in love with the show. Seriously. They’re not prudish by any means, but typically don’t care much for unnecessary crudeness.
Broad City deals in subjects that might be beyond the pale for most television shows, but it does so in a real way. Abbi and Ilana just find the humor in the situation without making the situation itself the joke, like a heightened version of real life. Real life is weird, gross, funny but ultimately joyous. And it’s that truthful portrayal of realness that made Jon Stewart declare Abbi and Ilana as translators of joy. And it’s that realness that makes it one of the best shows on television.