Now that the season finale of Broad City has aired, it is officially safe to say that this particular show about twenty-something girls living in Brooklyn far surpasses any of its counterparts. Why, you may ask (or not, but I’ll tell you anyway)? Because it doesn’t possess half the amount of contrivedness of Girls, 2 Broke Girls or even the short-lived I Just Want My Pants Back. And maybe that’s why someone as brilliant as Amy Poehler could see that this web series was destined for TV greatness.
Covering the “broad” and more specific problems of being a young broke woman in New York, Ilana and Abbi also show us the intense intimacy of female relationships when enduring the shared trauma of uncertainty (e.g. Ilana Skyping Abbi while having sex with the guy she bones on the regular). And then there is Ilana’s “modern” take on relationships to note. Although she and her not boyfriend, Lincoln (the beloved Hannibal Buress), have been having sex for months, she refuses to classify it as being boyfriend/girlfriend. This evolved or in denial way of looking at things is another element of Broad City that makes it seem more organic.
Although Broad City is filled with its surreal moments, there is–within the protagonists’ dreamlike existence–numerous moments of veracity. Whereas, with the shows mentioned above, the forced nature of being “real” makes watching said programming utterly awkward to the point of unbearability. Abbi and Ilana, however, know the value of playing up Brooklyn/New York life to absurdist levels (e.g. when they go to the Upper East Side and the plotline suddenly takes on the aura of a horror movie), thereby making Broad City more authentic for its understanding of this strange, inexplicable city.
But the best part about Broad City is that it doesn’t feel the need to hit you over the head with the sentiment: “Hey, we live in Brooklyn! Look at Brooklyn! This is what Brooklyn life is like!” By not treating their viewers like total charlatans in this regard, Broad City is pure in its portrayal. And with their renewal for a second season, one can only hope the show doesn’t take a turn for the worse (a.k.a. disingenuous) with so much pressure to live up to its commercial and critical success.