Broad City is big news in the US. Hailed as the best new comedy in years, it’s finally arrived here in the UK for us Brits to devour. The show, which started out as a web series by comedians Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, follows two 20-something women surviving in New York, and experiencing none of the glamour that the Big Apple promises in films or novels.
Now this might sound just like Lena Dunham’s Girls, but the two shows have a very different tone. While the girls of Girls don’t really like each other, Broad City’s duo are truly best friends whose relationship makes their minimum-wage jobs – and sometimes disappointing sexual exploits – tolerable. They may get on brilliantly (Ilana regularly says things like “I’m obsessed with you” to a non-plussed Abbi) but their friendship also feels very real – and while I am a big fan of the darker, more serious Girls, I found it difficult to believe just how unsupportive Hannah, Marnie and the rest were of each other in the last series.
I don’t know about you, but in my twenties my friendships have become more stable and easier than ever – and considerably less stressful than finding a job, having a boyfriend and all the rest of the ‘real world’ adult stuff we’re meant to have sorted. So it’s exciting that there’s finally a non-competitive, normal friendship taking centre stage in a genuinely funny, brave TV show.
Broke, desperate, but full of confidence in themselves and each other, the women – played by the show’s creators – are huge fun to watch. Mostly because they have a lot of fun, whether it’s eating pizza while getting high or skiving work to walk aimlessly around NYC. The duo may get annoyed at their rubbish jobs, have bad sex they’d rather forget and generally do a lot of stupid things, but they’re ultimately happy and undamaged by it all.
And the best thing about it? While on-screen females are often either perfectly in control or failures ashamed of their mess-ups, Ilana and Abbi are at ease with their chaotic lives. In a still rare (but increasingly common) example of truly feminist pop culture, Broad City’s duo are pretty happy being imperfect in every way.
Watch Ilana and Abbi in one of their more surreal moments…