Navigate to News section

Twerking at the Food Coop: A Beloved ‘Broad City’ Tale

Veering from GMO to HPV with Ilana and Abbi

Sara Ivry
February 25, 2016
Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central

Mocking the food coops of Brooklyn is like shooting fish in a barrel. But I forgive Broad City for this slight transgression because I’ve never seen anyone try to twerk in one, and certainly I’ve never seen that at 6 am, when I woke up today to watch the show’s most recent episode.

I’m a food coop member (as if you couldn’t guess), and yes, I love it for the inexpensive fresh produce, the amazingly affordable ice cream, the opportunity to chit chat with celeb members like Gaby Hoffmann, Cutty from the Cut, and Joie Lee. I’ve mocked it myself more times than I’m proud of and, like Abbi and Ilana, I’ve been berated by the holier-than-thou.

For me the dressing down was over my inferior egg carton stacking. Another time I was corrected for my pronunciation of shallot (yes, a friendly know-it-all told me it’s “shall-OTT,” emphasis on syllable two; no, he was not French and yes, he was, is, and always will be wrong). On yet another occasion I was rebuked for dishing with a friend about Adrian Grenier (also a member). To all those scolds, I say: Nuts to you! And not even bulk barrel ones, you lousy mopes!

Abbi and Ilana’s rebukement—from the always amazing Melissa Leo as a menopausal, haggard, and self-righteous nursing mom—comes for other reasons. Ilana can’t make it to her shift and gets Abbi to pretend to be her to do work.

Owner-operated, people! You do the time—you get the lime (organic, natch)! I just made that slogan up, but it could almost be official. This is glorious Bernie Sanders territory! And those are the rules.

The gals, my would-be pals, break ‘em. That’s why this show rocks so hard it’s like the granite state. Ilana schools Abbi on how to be her. How to mug in near Stooges (Three, not Iggy Pop ilk) ecstasy. How to break into her singular brogue. How to invoke her royal-ness. Sometimes I worry, will Ilana get stuck one day in one of her sudden accent changes and be incapable of returning to her original Long Island self?

When Abbi tries out those verbal gymnastics you realize how intrinsic they are to Ilana, how seamlessly her personas flicker in and out, how—yes—organic they are.

But Abbi’s a Phishhead, ultimately, not a wanna-be Latina homegirl. I knew a Phishhead once; she’s embarrassed about it now, and I swear on all that is good and right that I speak not of myself here. Anyway, Abbi can’t keep her cover while Ilana’s getting an HPV vaccine at her pediatrician’s, ferried there by Lincoln, her boyfriend, who drives a Prius and admits to infidelity involving almond oil (was it from Whole Foods? A Met? Where it was sourced, we can only guess).

It’s an admission that so pleases Ilana she nearly does a hand-stand on his car. You half expect her to do a back flip. She’d stick the landing—I’ve no doubt. The Broad City girls always do.

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