Broad City is the best feminist show on television. That’s a big statement, but I’ll stand by it.
This 30-minute Comedy Central show tells simple stories about Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer), two women in their early twenties who are best friends living in New York City, with crazy roommates, dead end jobs, and no money. It doesn’t try to be anything more than this, and by not making huge statements it hits on something very special.
I was sitting around at New Year’s showing a few of these episodes to some girlfriends and I kept hearing the same comment: “This is about my life!” It doesn’t matter that none of us lives in New York City, shares a space with an insufferable roomie, has to clean toilets in their workplace, or spends half the time high, because the show resonates on another level. There are not many shows out there with women in the main roles, especially not one where a pair of best friends are the focus of all of the plot lines. But just having women as the main characters does not make a show transcendent. All of the women I’ve watched the show with have found moments in the show that resonate with our daily experiences, pasts, or even just things that we have thought but never had the guts to say out loud.
I appreciate a lot of different things about this show, and I’m not sure what I like most. Maybe it is the simplicity of the plotting, with many episodes just being about these two women hanging out. Maybe it is the body-positive attitude that Abbi and Ilana showcase, always complimenting each other, but not in a way that feels like “this is what girls do.” Or maybe I love it because of the openness of the dialogue and sexuality — most shows on TV try to make sex look like this racy thing that happens secretly between two people at home and in the dark. Broad City shows it as just another thing that people do that’s much more normal and casual than television would have us believe.
At the core, I love this show because it is simply an open show about women. It doesn’t try to say anything deep and make the story lines beholden to heavier themes. I have probably watched all of these episodes a half-dozen times already, even though only one season has aired. And each time I come away finding something new that I love about Abbi and Ilana. They don’t apologize for who they are. They don’t back down from what they want. They don’t care what others think of them. They are content in their situation, often not even trying to “better themselves,” which is so often the plot line for characters not moving forward in life. Abbi and Ilana are exactly the type of women that we should be seeing more of on television.
So go out now and find the first season of Broad City on demand, online, my living room, or wherever you can find it. You won’t be disappointed and you can start watching the new season with me on January 14th.
Images via screenrant.com and vulture.com