"2016" - Broad City Review

Broad City
Season 3, Episode 5

Chad White

I’m a bad as queen. Kyah kyah kyah!

When I first caught wind that Hillary Clinton was going to appear on Broad City, I felt it was just one of those lame attempts to appeal to a sector of her potential votes. It was, ultimately, but the episode she appeared in happened to be top notch. It was more Oprah in 30 Rock and less Nancy Regan in The A-Team. On top of that, Ilana got some real growth as a character as her arc progressed to her finding a job that she was perfect for. Abbi, herself, found that things could be better for her if life were a bit fairer.

“2016” is a very loud episode. From the get go, the story is full steam ahead with Ilana gripping that she still has no job only to be proud of the fact that she applied to the of them. Abbi, on the other hand, is determined to take a decent driver’s license photo at the DMV. Their lives, as I’ve said in the last four reviews, are always connected. Their world, when together, is different from ours. It’s as if no one is as important as the two of them when they’re in the same room. This helps their dynamic greatly because they don’t see how wacky the outside world can be. Even in the cold open, we get an almost slap stick style joke with a wheelchair bound lady falling down the steps in the background of Abbi and Ilana’s conversation. The foreground, meanwhile, hosts a textbook Broad City conversation between the two as they spitball app ideas. Dual views are needed because both parts of the scene are filled with great jokes (I wouldn’t doubt that’s part of the reason why Comedy Central aired this episode twice in a row. Yeah and Hillary Clinton too).

As the two part ways, two major views of the world are formed. Abbi visits the DMV, she experiences a Walking Dead or Mad Max-esque wasteland where dwellers stand slouched and full sentences aren’t formed. The lighting changes in accordance with the situation as Abbi fights for survival. She doesn’t make it out intact, though, with a terrible hair cut – thanks to a burned hair dresser – along with a crick in her neck. Abbi gets the butt end of the stick of life if not for the one moment she needed the best of luck. Ilana fared better when she finds a job working for Hillary Clinton’s campaign office. She proves to find her calling in life – it’s funny because she’s a cold caller – as she, for the second time this season, finds an adult female figure of whom she is reminiscent. Her triumphant “Vote for Hillary. YAS YAS YAS” was particularly great. But Ilana is perhaps the more spirited of the two as, beforehand, she stoops to such levels as performing for tips on the subway and bike messaging.

One of the best things about Broad City has to be the side characters that are interlaced throughout Abbi and Ilana’s lives. What’s more interesting is how much these characters can affect the outcome of story and development. Both Abbi and Ilana have their own defining elements but it’s necessary that they’re counterbalanced with opposing forces. For the negative Abbi, she gets her charming and darling chiropractor, played by a chipper Alan Alda. He seems to be a miracle worker as he cures everything that’s wrong from bad haircuts to singing up online for the DMV (which proves to be a waking Heaven on Earth). Ilana, on the other hand, has the dour and over worked temp agent played by Rachel Dratch. She’s the epitome of sad as she deals with all manners of hell like being two months pregnant (and huge) and the inability to microwave a potato. Ilana also has to deal with Hillary’ campaign manager, played by Cynthia Nixson, who loves her enthusiasm but quickly tires of the “YAS’s.” Oh, and the highly hyped Clinton cameo took only one minute of screen time, if that. But part way through it pays off. It’s still more than Michelle Obama’s twentyish seconds on Parks and Recreation.

Should you watch “2016?”

So far, season three of this show has proven to be miles ahead of an already astounding previous two seasons. The world is unique, the characters know how to play, and story arcs are always welcome in a genre that mostly deals in situations. A one minute Hillary Clinton cameo is really all we could ask for. It may have been short but it was worth it.