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Rats, Tats, and Automobiles

On this week’s episode of ‘Broad City,’ Abbi invites her Tinder matches—all of ’em—to a party

Sara Ivry
March 10, 2016

I have a dream: The Guy from High Maintenance (formerly of Vimeo, coming soon to an HBO screen near you), makes an appearance on the most recent episode of Broad City as Ilana’s bike-to-deliver pot dealer. It’s not so far-fetched. Last season there was a bike-by buy while Abbi, woozy on painkillers, did Drew Barrymore impressions in a cab.

That reminds me of a song my kid learned in school: “Taxi, taxi, riding in the backseat, roll the window up; roll the window down / Put the money in the slot, thanks a little, thanks a lot; I’ll be walking across town.” I can’t quite get the tune, which annoys both of us. Arpeggios “R” Hard. It could be a tote bag slogan at Julliard. Soon we move to our familiar, dependable repertoire: Wheels on the Bus, Bah Bah Black Sheep. I’m trying to teach him Ma’Nishtanah... Passover looms, after all, but he’s unconvinced, and I’m left to wonder how I’m faring among the parents of the People of Zion.

Not Rastas, obviously, but let’s use it as a segue: pot, weed, herb, reefer, ganja—whatever you want to call it—figures big for the broads every week. In this week’s episode we find out where Ilana hides different strains: in a dildo, in a matryoshka doll, in a withering green pepper, in her hair. The variants go by a variety of names: Red Dwarf, Boggle Dragon, Stone Henge (said to elongate limbs), and Sour Diesel, which is “long-haul trucker approved, cab driver nemesis.”

Oh. My. God. As I write this I see the show’s narrative through-line, or subtext, that probably would’ve been obvious from the get-go were I in an altered state: vehicles.

Abbi, guileless as ever and using Tinder incorrectly, winds up inviting a bunch of guys to a party that Jaime and Ilana throw to recoup the 400 bucks they spent on an exterminator to kill a rat that’s been tormenting them. Guests—among them White Man #6, aka, the one with the man bun (now with modified ponytail) from last week’s episode—have to pay a $10 entrance fee.

All potential Tinder dates disappoint. One has bad teeth; one is an old man; the guy who used a picture of Denzel is not Denzel. Then there’s one who reveals a tattoo on his chest. A swastika, to which Abbi responds, “You should Uber.”

See? Cars.

But also: period panties; Lincoln’s masterly cooking; Lincoln’s masterly coinage of his would-be food truck, Lincoln’s Center; Jaime’s new-found self-acceptance and truth-telling (e.g. advising a friend to get rid of his mustache: “It makes you look like you touch the little children”); olive tapenade as olive branch; Ilana’s mid-party costume change into some kind of Joan Crawford-inspired madness; rodents; an intimate moment between Abbi and Trey; acknowledgement of cultural appropriation; and a bodega cat Ilana steals to get that rat bastard. She’s got the scratched neck and chest to prove it. (I only noticed the war-wounds during a second screening).

So much of what pushes Broad City so close to perfection are these nearly imperceptible details. Blink and you miss them. Finding them, I Spy-like, is fresh cherry on top.

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