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‘Broad City’ Ballers

Abbi and Ilana hit the club, hit the bottle, and get busy

Sara Ivry
March 31, 2016
Broad City / Facebook
Broad City / Facebook
Broad City / Facebook
Broad City / Facebook

Toward the end of the most recent episode of Broad City, as Ilana cuddles with NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, they start to talk about the WNBA, which Ilana doesn’t really even know it exists. Griffin tells her he steals moves from WNBA players all the time, adding that it’s “the best version of basketball there is.” Ilana responds by saying, “that’s women for you,” to which Griffin chimes in on cue, “always making stuff better.”

An overall commentary on the show? No doubt, although I’ve not watched every male-run buddy-buddy joint out there and so have little basis for comparison. Either way, it’s not just Abbi and Ilana’s excellence in portraying the intimacies of friendship, not simply that Broad City shows its stars face-timing while sitting on their respective toilets. It’s the general joy conveyed in each scene.

Midway through the episode, Abbi and Ilana roll into Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club, sauntering like OGs from a 10-year old Hype Williams video (probably the last time I watched a Hype Williams video, tbh). The music’s pumpin’. Joint is jumpin’. They’ve adjusted their wardrobe’s to DIY club chic; Ilana’s fashioned a do-rag out of her shirt and Abbi has made hers into a halter. They gyrate and chug out of what looks like an Absolut bottle. “In da clurb we all fam,” Ilana pronounces to Abbi’s confusion. Then, Ilana bumps into the Clippers forward and It. Is. On. Like Donkey Kong (that reference—heck, that saying—dates me too).

Earlier they attempt camping on Ilana’s roof—these broads are game for anything and that’s where the fun lies. For them, quite obviously, and therefore for us. They’re not hardcore urban foragers, that’s not what the camping’s about. They’ve both rented out their apartments Airbnb-style for the night, using the euphemisms familiar to anyone who’s ever looked for a place to live in New York City. “Treat yourself to a night in picturesque Astoria. Stop by the beer garden” reads Abbi’s ad (if it’s the Bohemian Beer Hall, why yes I have. It was a kick, thanks). Ilana sells hers as an “artisan’s nook in tolerable Gowanus” where “shabby chic meets Brooklyn funk,” which, she informs, she must state because of the smell.

Abbi’s renter is a scoundrel, a French one, and she calls upon Tre to help her in the middle of the night. He brings along his favorite DVDs: The Hangover Part III (“honestly, the best one”), Babe, and Ratatouille. A moment of praise here for Tre whose matter-of-fact optimism, in episode after episode, is unwavering, irrepressible, and entirely endearing. Where can I get a Tre in my life? His never-flagging happiness ever slightly embarrasses the so easily embarrassed Abbi. Earlier in the evening, she’s unable to say the word “fingering” out loud to Ilana, so encumbered is she by her own sense of decorum. She tacks between embracing the bawdy and recoiling from it.

Usually the former wins, to the latter’s chagrin. She gets with Tre (sorry, spoiler haters) but doesn’t tell Ilana.

Ilana, in turn, tacks between bawdy and bawdier. It’s what makes her so delightful. She has not a whit of trouble telling Abbi about her night with Griffin. Because she “could not receive” him, as she explained to him, they got creative: yoga stretches, licking arms, piggybacks. More, too. But nothing off-color on-screen. She tells her sometime partner, Lincoln, about it. Now, he boasts to a street vendor while wearing Griffin’s sneaker as a “Murse,” a male purse, that he and Griffin are “Eskimo brothers.” Is that a thing? In college, in the last century, we called it Unga Tonga, when two people had a mutual sexual partner.

By the episode’s end, he’s nothing short of elated. So was I. For under 30 minutes, there is, like Griffin’s WNBA, nothing better.

Sara Ivry is the host of Vox Tablet, Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast. Follow her on Twitter@saraivry.