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‘Broad City’ Season 2 Reviews: Abbi and Ilanna Are Back, as Raunchy and Right-On as Ever

'Broad City' Season 2 Reviews: Abbi and Ilanna Are Back, as Raunchy and Right-On as Ever

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s “Broad City” returns to Comedy Central for its second season tonight, after making a slew of critics’ Top 10 lists in 2014, and though viewers may be bundled up tight for the winter months, the show wastes no time in stripping down. It’s hot — “swamp ass” hot, to use a repeated term — in the first episode, the better to underline Jacobson’s perpetual bodily discomfort and Glazer’s oversharing ease. We have to wait until the second episode for the first appearance of a strap-on, but there are fluids and flab galore, thanks to Abbi’s roommate (sorry, roommate’s boyfriend) Bevers (John Gemberling) and guest star Seth Rogen as a potential sex partner they call “male Stacy.” Like a lot of Comedy Central’s sitcoms, it seems more designed for binge-watching than single serving — once you’re in Abbi and Ilana’s world, you kind of want to stay there. (An extended gag in the first episode has the ladies buzzing through Bed Bath & Beyond, where it turns out Abbi is such a beloved regular customer she’s developed elaborate handshakes with the staff.) But there’s always the first season to watch and rewatch until another new episode comes along.

Reviews of “Broad City,” Season 2

Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone

The world might look at Abbi and Ilana and see a couple of losers. But they only have eyes for each other, and what they see is twin goddesses. These broads are so in sync, they barely even notice the rest of the world. They’re acting out the Nineties hip-hop video in their heads, in every detail of their lives – dancing around the apartment naked, hassling cops, ogling basketball players. It’s all there in the moment Ilana asks at a party if anyone’s seen her friend: “Chocolate-brown eyes, ass of an angel?”

Ken Tucker, Yahoo!

We haven’t seen a friendship like this in TV or movie comedy before. You have to reach back to much older duo teams for comparisons — and most of those are, inevitably, male, because “Broad Cit”y is working in territory that is at once new and connected to a great tradition. There’s some of Abbott and Costello’s verbal confusion and emotional interdependence; some Laurel and Hardy slapstick; a bit of Rowan and Martin’s absurdist laugh-ins; and the sibling rivalry of the Smothers Brothers transmuted into occasional, sisterly bickering. With her curly mop and fondness for pulling a long face, Ilana has a bit of Harpo Marx in her; with her neurotic sensibleness, Abbi’s persona connects to writer-performers ranging from Elaine May to stand-up-comic-era Woody Allen. Mostly, however, Abbi and Ilana are their own creations. Neither plays the straight-man; they are, simultaneously, specific women and Everywoman, in their own minds and in ours.

Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture

There’s really no scenario or environment whose propriety they feel obliged to respect. But they’re not being willfully destructive, for the most part. It’s just who they are, and how they are; what happens is what has to happen. They chafe at rules, especially ones that don’t make sense to them, and even ones that do. Abbi submerges the contempt she feels for her janitorial job at the health club, but Ilana can’t disguise the contempt she feels for her office gig at Deals Deals Deals; she hasn’t done a lick of work there since the show began, and her dismissive attitude toward every one of her superiors — none of whom can bring themselves to fire her, for some reason — is turning into a nearly surreal modern riff on Bartleby the Scrivener: I prefer not to; now fuck off.

Andy Greenwald, Grantland

What was funny before has taken on a fantastical gleam; nothing is taboo, everything is out in the open. Ilana and Abbi twerk on rape culture, peg dudes, and free wage slaves. What could, in more melodramatic hands, be seen as hot buttons come off here as cool keys. “Broad City” plays with the Zeitgeist like a saxophonist on the subway. It’s fully high on its own supply.

Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

It’s not a traditional “women in the city” sitcom like so many people tried to find fame with in the post-“Sex and the City” days. It’s something different, something stranger, something more relatable and bizarre at the same time. Not all of Jacobson and Glazer’s bits work, but I love that they’re constantly trying new things to see what does. Television so rarely allows for the kind of comedic experimentation we’re seeing on “Broad City.”

Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“Broad” applies to the show’s tone as much as to the gender of its stars, presenting New York City as a surreal hellscape where simply getting from place to place can be a nightmarish ordeal, but also a treasure trove of hidden wonders if one knows where to look. The season opens with a subway trip that quickly begins to resemble “Snowpiercer,” and in the third episode, Ilana and her mother (Susie Essman, perfect casting) go on a search for counterfeit purses that eventually takes them into the sewer system. (Ilana’s mom, excited: “Now we’re cooking with gas. All the good s— is always down a manhole!”)

Matthew Poland, Slant

Rather than underscoring a lack of narrative direction, the show’s sketch-comedy quality highlights a welcome unpredictability; it’s never clear where a particular episode will wend, and in a series so open to possibility, sexual and otherwise, that fickleness is an asset—and one that often leads to perceptive commentary.

Moze Halperin, Flavorwire

It speaks to the sweet insularity of Abbi and Ilana’s friendship — the most fleshed-out aspect of the show — that the rest of the world seems to be a strange joke. Not all of the jokes land, and the jokes’ journeys often outdo their punchlines — but there’s enough brilliance to lead you to want to watch until you develop your very own “couch sores.”

Sonia Saraiya, Salon

“Broad City” is more a state of mind than a TV show. It’s got an aesthetic and a worldview that you’ve kind of got to settle into—one where talking about paper towels jammed into butt cracks is on the level, right next to Ilana fantasizing about having Abby “peg” her (that is, fuck her with a strap-on, in the ass; this show is not playing) and the women encountering a turd in a subway car. “Broad City” isn’t just raunchy, it’s outright gross — the show’s bread-and-butter is bodily humor, often delivered by and specific to women. 

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