March 13, 2015


Bored City: Why I'm Tired of Abbi & Ilana

Didier Baverel/WireImage
Didier Baverel/WireImage

I have to say it. I think might be the only girl who genuinely doesn’t enjoy watching Broad City. It makes me uncomfortable. I feel hungover just watching an episode, but without the deep satisfaction of knowing I made a few bad decisions the night before.

The show, now in its second season, airs every Wednesday night on Comedy Central. It's the brainchild of the undeniably brilliant Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, and started as a web series in 2009; it was much easier to stomach in small doses.

I was going to begin by saying “I hate Broad City,” but that’s not true. In fact, my cold heart softened after watching the latest episode (that my Hulu subscription would allow me to watch because I don’t own a television) of the disaster duo. I changed my mind...kind of. It was an episode that originally aired mid-February titled “The Matrix” that sucked me in, opening with a hallucinatory battle of the drums between Glazer and Jacobson. The elaborate open was followed by a pretty sick montage and Matrix throwback, complete with running green, neon code.

Then, when Abbi sprains her ankle after rollerblading, I softened even more. I broke my ankle recently during a bad date at a trampoline house (long story) and I have to admit, I literally felt her pain when I saw that swollen marshmallow of a foot. However, the love ends there. Perma-high Ilana and Abbi just can’t seem to win. Ever. And that frustrates the hell out of me.

The show is sharp, well-acted, witty, and relevant, but every time I watch it, I feel like I’ve lost 21 minutes and 19 seconds of my life that I'll never get back, a chunk of time where I haven’t learned or gained anything of substance or value.

I’m also not saying I didn’t make a video of myself crossing my eyes and repeating Ilana's hilarious “Mommy and Daddy” phrase to make my coworkers laugh during the comatose afternoon hours at the office. The show definitely has its moments.

For example, Abbi's Cabaret-style, musical performance was a revelation in the middle of the “FOMO” episode. She pranced around the bar, singing like a wobbly Liza Minnelli in her prime. I'm talking Glee meets GIRLS…but it was a once-a-season type of moment, unless you count Abbi's naked Lady Gaga dance. Having to watch the entire episode just for the gratification of that beautiful Midnight in Paris nod is almost like having to dig through Abbi's vomit for the diamond nose ring she swallowed the night before.

I am saying that no matter how much I try to like the show, I become frustrated with Ilana and Abbi's incessant failure to succeed in every episode.  

I get it. The over-the-top situational humor makes you feel better about your own problems, but we deal with that in real life. Every. Day. Bad shit happens all the time that is out of our control. Why would I want to be faced with this during my off time?  

I’d rather watch six friends marry one another and drink coffee or four friends talk about sex. Not two friends who are consistently down and out. It’s depressing. In an interview with Vulture, Glazer described the show as “a Rube Goldberg machine of fuck-ups.” Call me crazy, but I’d rather watch a Rube Goldberg machine that actually works. (Think OK-Go's epic video.)

I commend Jacobson and Glazer for being two creative, successful women in an industry dominated by men. I am thankful that my contemporaries have more examples of strong women with ambition who are able to see their goals through. It’s also comforting to see the evolution of television and the fearlessness with which Jacobson and Glazer tackle what were once prohibited topics, such as open sexuality and recreational drug use. 

I definitely feel like they should continue doing what they’re doing—I just won’t be watching them do it. I guess I’m just a sucker for a happy ending.