The hit comedy series—written by and starring Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer—returns this week for its third season, and it’s as funny and vital as ever. Seriously, set your IQ boxes. If you don’t have Foxtel, sign up. It’s worth it (while Broad City is on, anyway. The rest of the time it’s kind of a coin toss).
The third season premiere, ‘Two Chainz’, sticks to the established template of highlighting a day in the life of the series’ leads as they navigate their heightened version of New York City. The episode is light on plot, but this feels intentional; once it’s established that Abbi has ruined the outfit that she intends to wear to a gallery opening while Ilana has lost the key to her bike chain, the episode is free to send the girls careening pinball-style from location to location, spurred on by the cause-and-effect chain initiated by these minor mishaps.
Employing such a simple setup allows the episode to reintroduce these characters and the world they inhabit. Or simply introduce them, for viewers out there who haven’t seen the first two seasons. If you are such a viewer… what is wrong with you? Where have you been? I mean, I know there are a lot of “must-watch” shows out there, but you gotta PRIORITISE, MAN.
Jeez. You people.
This episode focuses on simplicity—these are the lead characters, this is their world—extends to the supporting cast. Lincoln (Hannibal Buress), Ilana’s love (?) interest (??) shows up in one scene, while the girls’ roommates Bevers (John Gemberling) and Jaimé (Arturo Castro) are glimpsed only briefly, and their respective workplaces aren’t mentioned at all.
What this allows for is a showcase of all the comedic styles of which the show is capable. The episode finds space for big comedic set-pieces (there’s a scene involving a portable toilet which made me laugh so hard that I sent my laptop hurtling across the room. You owe me a new laptop, Comedy Central), awkward cringe comedy, and hilarious physical comedy; all representing the best of what this cast and crew is capable of. It’s glorious.
Key to the episode’s success—and to the success of the show in general—is the amazing chemistry between Jacobson and Glazer. The real life friends and long-time collaborators, who honed their writing and performing skills during their time at the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade improv school, have created a world that can be cartoonish, surprising and unapologetically broad (oooooh, I get it now), but has at its centre a relationship between two broads (oooooh, I get it now) that is warm, funny, endearing and enduring.
‘Two Chainz’ is Broad City at the height of its powers, and also serves as a great first episode to show your weirdo friends who haven’t yet gotten on the bandwagon. But, for real now, why are you hanging out with those people?
Final thought: I don’t like to spoil individual jokes in these things, but the casual reveal of what Ilana named her bike gave me a genuine, honest-to-gosh giggle fit.
Broad City Season Three - Mondays from February 22 at 9.30pm AEST on Foxtel's The Comedy Channel.
Daniel Hall is a screenwriter and pop-culture commentator who has written about a variety of shows for a variety of websites.
Twitter - @danieljohnhall