TV Review: “Broad City” (Season 3)

Rating: 4.5/5.0
Runs: Wednesdays at 10p on Comedy Central
Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Hannibal Buress
Created By: Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer

Fans of the Comedy Central sitcom “Broad City” will recognize and appreciate the classic adventures of Abbi Abrams (Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Glaser) before the colorful theme song even begins, and first-time viewers will become equally engrossed in the dysfunctional experiences of the inseparable duo in no time. On the surface, endearingly clumsy Abbi and unapologetically candid Ilana are the least-compatible pair imaginable. However, the very first scene of the third season emphasizes what the two have in common by immediately diving into the most intimate details of their bathroom experiences: an uncensored, two-panel montage simultaneously depicts what happens on top of Abbi and Ilana’s toilets, from spontaneous sex to secret bong rips.

Jacobson and Glazer have natural chemistry on screen; each actress is so convincing in her role that viewers may occasionally question whether or not the narrative is entirely fictitious — even if the series of events it follows is absolutely absurd. While the first two seasons of Broad City occasionally strayed from Abbi and Ilana’s friendship to explore other characters’ stories, Season 3 is all about celebrating the incomparable bond these two share. The show effectively captures the ideals of true friendship: Ilana is there to rescue Abbi from demonic Porta-Potties and curb her urges at workplace competitions, while Abbi impersonates Ilana to cover her shift at a co-op and helps her painfully squeeze out of a 12-pound chain that accidentally ends up locked around her waist. Several familiar faces, including Ilana’s non-exclusive boy-toy Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) and Abbi’s fellow personal trainer Trey (Paul W. Downs), bolster the narrative by facilitating the best friends’ character development. For example, Abbi’s experiences with her coworkers bring out her extremely competitive nature and Ilana’s attitude toward her open relationship reveals her progressive views.

However, a couple of scenes seemed unnecessarily long and detracted attention from the two main characters. The spontaneous musical number in episode three: “Game Over” lasts for over an entire minute and does not feature any primary cast members, let alone the two stars of the show. Although Whoopi Goldberg makes an entertaining cameo in this scene, the song does not contribute anything substantial to the episode and instead serves as a reminder that organic interactions between Abbi and Ilana are what give the screenplay life and make the show exceptionally hilarious, as opposed to generically funny. On a different note, the variety of guest stars, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has the potential to make the show more exciting — if incorporated in a way more relevant to the narrative.

As in previous seasons, the show once again manages to incorporate profound and bold social commentary into every episode. Unlike other television shows, “Broad City” does not shy away from taboo topics in social culture, such as recreational drug use and female sexuality. It is rare, almost unheard of, to witness female characters candidly discussing masturbation as they enter a sophisticated restaurant for brunch or questioning the individuality of anuses while walking down a busy sidewalk, but these interactions are what help eradicate the societal expectation of feminine docility. The show urges both male and female viewers to stop tiptoeing around subjects that are part of human nature and instead address issues that are legitimately disturbing, like Ilana’s example of Saudi women who are required to obtain written permission from their husbands (or “male guardians”) before leaving their houses. “Broad City” is one of the very few sitcoms that makes viewers think just as hard as it makes them laugh.

The first two seasons of “Broad City” were revolutionary, but this season elevates the show to a completely different level. With an strong emphasis on Abbi and Ilana’s friendship, and very few distractions in between, the show manages to communicate deeper messages while delivering comedic punches effortlessly. Season 3 sets the standard for modern comedy: no boundaries, no filter — just priceless, refreshing humor.

Three episodes watched for review