by Michel Miller
Last year, walking pop-culture encyclopedia and Nerd King Patton Oswalt, frustrated with his television viewing options, vented on Twitter: “There should be a stiff financial penalty levied against Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson for every week there isn’t a new Broad City on the air.” Everyone who’d been watching the show understood his pain. At a time when sacred cows and political correctness are dangerously close to creating a humorless human race, funny people who don’t censor themselves for the easily offended are society’s salvation — or at least its respite.
After two critically acclaimed and wildly popular seasons, the aforementioned Glazer and Jacobson, creators and denizens of Broad City, are back, and for one short television season we can laugh ourselves into oblivion while, even if vicariously, being people who also give no fucks.
That isn’t to say they don’t care about anything; it’s just that they never quite manage to succeed at what society has deemed important, and they’re not unhappy about it. Failure is their fodder. Not winning is its own reward. And judging by upcoming cameos from the likes of Alan Alda, Tony Danza, Whoopi Goldberg and, rumor has it, Hillary Clinton — not to mention a recent appearance on Mark Maron’s WTF podcast as well as Amy Poehler’s ongoing involvement as a producer — the funny business is good.
From their inability to stay employed to their stoner logic and web cam shenanigans, the sexually evolved Jewish besties stay 100 percent true to themselves and each other as they roam the mean streets of New York City in search of a great meal, a good deal and a decent lay.
In season 3’s debut episode, “Two Chainz,” their hunt du jour is for a public restroom and a new blouse for Abbi to wear to her friend’s art opening. In a half-baked attempt at solidarity with oppressed Middle Eastern women, a heavy lock and chain hang around Ilana’s waist even as she sports a baseball hat with the word PERV emblazoned across it.
After the two survive another day dodging bullets and relying on the kindness of friends and strangers, Ilana, caught up in the moment, says to Abbi, “Let’s get married.” While Ilana’s bisexuality and general ease with her sexual being-ness is practically its own character, what she’s proposing betrays the tenderness that lurks behind her salacious ways and kooky confidence. If Abbi, the Ethel to her Lucy, is as good as it ever gets, well, that will be just fine.
When the girls finally make it to the art gallery, Abbi in her new blouse with security tag still attached and Ilana with her chains rattling, it’s all fun and games until they accidentally destroy their friend’s featured painting, a mildy heroic flub, given the pretentiousness of it all.
While their shtick isn’t exactly what’s expected from women, don’t be too quick to label it feminist, either. These ladies don’t take well to being confined, and everything considered untouchable is a challenge to them. But despite raising the bar for risque with each season, there remains an innocence about them that can likely be explained by their absolute lack of malice; they are shameless, not heartless. Theirs is a clumsy sort of femininity that openly farts, curses, masturbates, overeats and wears whatever hasn’t spent too much time in the dirty pile. It’s a femininity that’s comfortable, even with being uncomfortable, and one that takes nothing too seriously, especially itself. Broad City airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.
Out of the Box is a biweekly column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.