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“Women always have to be the eye rollers, as the men make a mess,” Poehler said. Young women can be lost, too.”The show has been credited for its “sneak-attack feminism,” with Abbi and Ilana as “femininjas.” The put them in the tradition of “unruly women,” like Roseanne and Lucy: “Unruly women have unruly bodies—they’re too big for their clothes, their hair refuses to stay down.They talk too much, laugh too loudly, say things ladies shouldn’t.She bumbles her way through a crush on a handsome neighbor and endures the offenses of a roommate’s foul, freeloading boyfriend, Bevers, played by John Gemberling, the co-creator of the series “Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.” She puts a Post-it on her vibrator as a reminder to masturbate. ”At first glance, Ilana is the alpha (the banana man) and Abbi the sidekick (the feed), but, in defiance of double-act convention, Jacobson and Glazer frequently subvert these roles, big-sis status shifting between them, or vanishing entirely, in part because, in the context of “Broad City,” neither aspires to it. James, in Suffolk County—“where guidos meet potato farmers’ grandchildren,” as she once put it. Then she realized that her brother, Eliot, and her mother were watching and laughing. “After a while,” Jacobson said, “we thought, Why are we trying to be on something that someone else controls?She works as a janitor at a fancy gym, unclogging toilets and dealing with the occasional “pube situation,” but aspires to be a trainer. The last episode builds to a Norma Rae moment: in a fancy restaurant to celebrate her twenty-sixth birthday, she mistakenly stabs herself with Ilana’s Epi Pen (Ilana has been stricken by an allergy to shellfish), and, jacked on adrenaline, jumps atop their table, crushes a glass in her hand, and cries out, “Ilana, I got you, girl! The extent to which their characters are established and yet constantly surprising each other gives their interplay a kinetic unpredictability that may or may not owe something to their background in improv, or perhaps to the fact that they really are making it up as they go along. Eliot, who is four years older, was a big-time ham, and she followed his lead. ” Also, they wanted to create something to show their parents, to prove that they weren’t wasting their time. ” Jacobson came up with the name “Broad City,” a sly reclamation of an old-fashioned term (“A broad is a full person,” Glazer says), and they began meeting every day in coffee shops around the city to write. They pulled ideas from their own lives, from their diaries, their phones, and their everyday experiences getting battered around by the city: the indignities of aborted booty calls, crowded office bathrooms, birthday brunches, and laundry-sex breakups.She tends instead to Abbi’s emotional needs, and tries to tempt her into a threesome, or a twosome. Ilana spent a lot of time alone at home watching TV.Abbi, the character, is more vulnerable, self-doubting, and vestigially square. was mostly spent growing up on Long Island, in the hamlet of St. She remembers standing on her tooth-brushing stool when she was four, facing the bathroom mirror, and pretending to teach an aerobics class. They were also paying for an improv coach, rehearsal space, and performance space—no way to make a living.
Men have managed to get away with prolonged adolescence, on the screen and in life, in a way that women haven’t.
In other respects, the fifteen-per-cent number seems right, insofar as “Broad City” depends more than anything on the women’s personalities and on the chemistry between them.
“The rule is: Specific voices are funny, and chemistry can’t be faked,” Amy Poehler, the show’s executive producer, told me.
(The next season, which they have just finished writing, shoots this summer and should air early next year.) The enthusiastic response—rave reviews, an average of 1.3 million viewers per episode, and about that many posts on Buzz Feed—seems to arise not only from the calibre of the comedy but also from the apparent authenticity of the women’s affection for each other.
People find themselves wanting to be Abbi’s and Ilana’s friends, too—“to live inside that secret-handshake vernacular,” as Carrie Brownstein, the co-creator of “Portlandia,” a distant cousin of “Broad City,” wrote in a tweet.
Jacobson and Ilana Glazer play best friends on TV, on a sitcom called “Broad City.” They are its creators, head writers, and stars.