No one quite knows how to portray that bittersweet space in our mid-to-late twenties as Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana. A time when shenanigans are still very much the order of the day, even though we try our hardest to tap into the adult lifestyle society demands us to follow.
While others gave into the pressure of swapping their weed for chilled white wine and Xanax, gave up on their dreams of turning their artistic talents into a source of income, these gals chose to embrace their arrested development and make the best out of the No Man’s Land we all find ourselves trapped in when we’re still firmly stuck in our youth yet on the brink of adulthood.
From its humble beginnings as a web series to its move to Comedy Central, where it found the platform to explore and experiment with different approaches to style and story-telling, Broad City has always found its strength in bringing a fresh whiff of New York air into our living-rooms. The city acts as more than just a mere backdrop – it has always been as much as a protagonist as Abbi and Ilana.
It feeds the narrative arc of poorly constructed and luxuriously priced NYC apartments and the political atmosphere currently polluting its residents, while also acting as a home base: shots of the city’s corners, plazas and parks act as a meditative break between bubbling storylines, inviting viewers to arrive, absorb and prepare for the rest of a typical Broad City day ahead.
The city not only informs its characters’ hopes, dreams and personalities but the style and attitude that is unique to New York. From neon-coloured fanny-packs to mesh crop-tops and Abbi’s famous little blue dress, five seasons of Broad City have sparked a fashion revolution that has brought the fabric of this metropolitan city into the rest of the world. Their language too has crossed borders with women from all over embracing their beauty, femininity and sass with celebratory cries of “Yass, Kween!” and reclaiming the term “witch” for what it is and was always meant to be: empowering.
Most of all, Broad City has taught us the importance of friendship in a manner few other shows centred on female relationships have. Rather than focusing on the negative complexities and competitiveness sparked by our patriarchal society, it highlights the beauty of these intricacies: polar opposites who find stronger footing on common ground, two different types of crazy who have come to accept their extraordinary experiences as mundane.
Their support of one another is for better or for worse, even in the toughest of cases, making their imminent separation more difficult than any romantic break-up they have ever experienced. While they are both willing to accept that, finding their own ways in life, away from the youthful distractions they are drawn to together, is of great importance, the fear of losing this bond – or possibly themselves – during this new phase in life, is all-consuming.
Coming to a beautiful, emotional end in which Abbi and Ilana cherish every last New York minute they have been granted together, Broad City leaves us with an important reminder. A bond as deep, real, beautiful, hot and meaningful as the one these two incredible gals share doesn’t come around very often – but once it’s established not even 1793 miles can break it. The proximity may change; the dynamic, however, will never reach a static point. And, with a city like New York forever feeding the conversations and cultural diversity around Ilana, Abbi always has a direct lifeline to the person and the environment she has and will, forever, call her home.
It’s hard coming to terms with the fact that Broad City’s era of shenanigans has come to an end as, for many viewers, the goodbye felt as intense as it did for Abbi and Ilana. Yet, as is true for these kweens, we are very much aware that this ending marks the beginnings of many new and exciting things to come from the creative minds and hearts of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. And when the time finally comes, we shall all welcome them back with a united, roaring and powerful, YASSSS!
Published 29 Mar 2019
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