Broad City Teaches Women to be Their Nastiest, Unapologetic Selves

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With today’s unpredictably high-paced internet age, turning thirty has entirely different implications than it did even five years ago. In Broad City’s 2019 fifth and final season, Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler embrace these difficulties with their signature over-the-top and in-your-face humor.

Since its original inception in 2010 as a web series, Broad City has been noted for its accuracy for depicting the millennial’s experience in an unforgiving city. Abrams and Wexler are two free-spirited yet struggling artists in New York City, who survive by conjuring up increasingly chaotic methods to pay their rent. (Examples include starting an illegal smokers-friendly office space in the middle of the street, and attempting to revive bitcoin).

Broad City is also known for pushing boundaries for women in comedy. With Abbi and Ilana, the phrase “TMI” is simply not in their vocabulary. The two are unafraid to talk about anything, and no topic is off-limits, especially concerning their bodies. Subjects such as period stains, pubic hair, and STDs are discussed and depicted casually, without shame. (The two tend to enjoy face timing each other while having sex and making bowel movements). Abbi and Ilana demand to take up space and assert their dominance just as much as any man would, dismissing the pressure to act like a dainty, proper lady. The two promote the message of what it means to be a nonconformist, while still caring about the wellbeing of others and giving back to their community.

In season five, the two are coming to crossroads in their lives in both their careers and relationships. “I’m just saying, you need to grow up a little bit,” Abbi gets truth bombed by a successful young doctor in Episode 7’s pitiful breakup scene. As the season’s plotline unfolds, it is clear that the two have no intention of submitting to a suburban, white picket fence life in the near future. While Ilana is aware that age is relative when it comes to one’s path in life, Abbi lets the pressure from society that says women need solid careers and families by the age of thirty to get under her skin.

Season five is riddled with unapologetically liberal sex-positive themes and the irreplaceable bond of women supporting each other. (Like going bra shopping and helping each other carry abandoned toilets to their apartments). It is also topped with Ilana’s shameless oversharing and grotesque nature as an effective foil to Abbi’s fumbling awkwardness and repressed demeanor, a dynamic that has become Broad City’s defining trait.

However, the concluding three episodes include a significant tone shift, depicting some of the show’s most sentimental, “real” moments. In episode eight, Abbi announces she is moving to Colorado for an artist’s residency, forcing viewers to accept the “conscious uncoupling” of

their beloved (and slightly co-dependent) dynamic duo. “I could do this with you forever, but I don’t want to,” explains Abbi.

Just like Abbi and Ilana’s intense bond, Broad City was never a show that was meant to last forever. Five has proven to be the perfect number as the show runs its course naturally, without faltering in quality. Viewers were also able to learn how women can truly thrive and blossom when they support each other in a patriarchal world. Audiences also receive insight on how to persevere forward despite any friendship’s natural ups and downs, and the art of letting go when necessary. The show sheds light on women’s authentic experiences, not just the glitz and glam, but the aches and cramps as well, while showing women that they don’t need to answer to anybody. With Broad City’s final message, viewers are taught that success is subjective, and not to judge themselves for moving at their own pace.