My New Favorite Show
Produced by Amy Phoeler, the comedy Broad City follows two best friends, Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler, as they struggle through life in their twenties. The show began as a hilarious four-minute web series created by and staring the two best friends. As the webisodes gained a fan base and increasing popularity it caught the attention of fellow comedian Amy Poehler. Thanks to Poehler’s influence Comedy Central picked up the series. The show is set in New York City, and gives a comedic perspective on what life is really like for two girls just trying to get by.
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Broad City’s main characters and writers of the show, met during college where they both attended Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy School (UCB). The two wanted to be apart of something that would last, rather than the normal comedy and improv shows. They wanted to have something that would help their parents understand why they were attending comedy school. The two began a web series about themselves, and continued shooting webisodes for a year and a half. As the web series gained popularity, so did the two girls. They soon had their own manager, Samantha Saifer. She advised the girls to leave the web series behind so they could focus their time on pitching scripts for a television show. For the final episode of the web series, Abbi and Ilana reached out to Amy Poehler to be a guest star. Phoeler, who is also a UCB alumnus, had seen the web series and liked it. She agreed to guest star on the final webisode, and the three hit it off. The girls asked Poehler to be the shows executive producer, and when she agreed, the girls were ecstatic. With Phoelers help the show was signed to Comedy Central, and the pilot episode aired January 22, 2014.
Season one was a success, fans and critics loved it. Abbi and Ilana surprised viewers with hilarious moments and raw humor. Now in its second season, Broad City is still gaining popularity. What sets the show apart is the strong female leads and witty script. It shows the honest portrayal of a friendship between the two women. Abbi and Ilana, who are best friends on and off screen, know how to nail their characters and certain situations. The girls find themselves in the middle of insane adventures, which are not only hilarious, but also totally relatable. Abbi and Ilana make their characters likeable and believable. They are easy to relate to and understand. Ilana is the more free-spirited of the two, often convincing Abbi to go along with her crazy antics. Abbi, who is a bit older, seems to try to find a balance between being an adult and being spontaneous and free-spirited like Ilana. The two are regular, down to earth girls just trying to get by. It’s the comedic twist on the relevant phases of life that makes the show so enjoyable to watch.
Broad City is not the first comedy to star strong female leads living in New York City. It is often compared to television programs like Sex and the City, and HBO’s Girls. All three of which are set in New York, and give a comedic view on women stumbling their way through their twenties, and the big city. While there are similarities, Broad City has a much different feel than both Sex and the City, and Girls. Sex and the City is centered around the glamorous side of New York; the designer clothes, glossy fashion, and expensive shoes. Some viewers may easily relate to this kind of lifestyle, but not many. While Girls portrays regular women, just trying to get by, it puts emphasis on the desires and needs of the characters to make something of themselves. Girls often sacrifices humor for the self-examination of the four lead women. A major similarity in which Sex and the City, and Girls share is that the women are constantly defined by their relationships with men. These men play a large role in the story line and some of these men are even major characters. Broad City operates much differently, setting an entirely different tone. There is no glamour, and the characters have nothing they feel they need to live up to. Abbi and Ilana are just regular people. The girls spend their time hanging out and making each other laugh. The show does not focus on the girls’ relationships with men, but rather with their friendship with each other. Executive producer, Amy Phoeler, has stated that Broad City is really about the love story between Abbi and Ilana. It is refreshing to see a show with female leads that does not revolve around relationships with men, but rather shows an honest, hilarious and real portrayal of a female friendship.
As a relatively new fan of Broad City, I was amazed how quickly the show became my favorite program on television. I began watching the show between the first and second season. Immediately after watching the pilot episode, I went online and watched the other nine episodes of season one. Broad City instantly became my favorite show and I could not wait for season two. Abbi and Ilana bring something to the table that other shows lack. The two have great energy, and compliment each other on screen. Their chemistry makes the show authentic, setting it apart from similar programs.
Broad City airs Wednesday nights at 10:30 PM on Comedy Central. Currently in the beginning of its second season, the show is funnier than ever. The combination of authentic characters and a sidesplitting script is what makes Broad City a brilliant show. With guest appearances from executive producer Amy Phoeler, The Interview’s Seth Rogan, and Portlandia’s Fred Armisen, the second season is bound to be even better than the first. Abbi and Ilana’s insane, yet totally relatable, adventures will have you hooked. The show will become a fast favorite and so will the dynamic duo that is Abbi and Ilana.