Season 4, Episode 9
I may be a dumb white bitch, but I'm not that dumb. And I'm not really a bitch.
For all intents and purposes, Broad City is about two struggling 20-somethings in the greatest city on Earth. They have their ups and downs in life but change isn’t really a factor for them. Ilana could lose Lincoln and Abbi could work at a design company for episodes at a time but those arcs end and everything goes back to normal. Right now, one of the arcs has Abbi losing that coveted position and – better yet – Ilana showing off her newfound wealth. The show posits the very question periodically: can one of the girls of Broad City be successful? Will it last? The only response for either questions is yes, but only for a little while. Still, this show has proved time and again that comedy can work with failure as well as success.
“Bed Bugs” takes most of Ilana’s goodwill from the last few episodes and shoves it down the tube. She wants to provide for her friends, gifting them with ridiculous (read: expensive) surprises like a puppy for Lincoln and a refurbished iPad for Eliot. But even those gifts are upended by Abbi’s: a $1,400 bag. But Ilana tells Abbi to take the bag as it will instill confidence for her to find a new job. This season’s Ilana is a giver. The job at RuPaul’s restaurant is proving to pay off. That is until the manager informs Ilana of the bed bug problem (brought on by another server’s turning the eatery into a brothel during the twilight hours). An unforeseen blow is one of the toughest hits in terms of comedy. This one resets the show to day one status in a few lines of dialogue. But that’s not the story; the bed bugs force Ilana to find place to stay during fumigation. All of her friends and family rightly say no.
Abbi, on the other hand, is going through a rough patch. She’s dressing like a homeless, carting around to-be-sold recyclables that will only net her a few dollars. She tries to bring the bag inside a local bodega only to be told to leave as the clerk informs her the bag is leaking ("There's loose juice all over the place"). At least she still has her spirit about her. Ilana’s gifting of the expensive bag is what sets in motion a revitalization of Abbi. She cleans herself up, finds a new job and isn’t as creeped out as she should be when a pedestrian touches himself in front of her (he promises it’s the hotness of the bag).
And then Broad City takes away from its characters again. Abbi’s bag is stolen by Steve Buscemi’s robber character. This is after he mocks her for keeping such a low amount of money in her bank account. For a bad guy he sure does have a lot of good financial advice. Abbi holds her cool in the situation though. Her statement defending her bank pin is great ("I don't usually have a gun pointed at me...bitch"). Abbi is then saved by a bodega worker she previously blew off. But, with the bag gone, the good will is gone too. Abbi’s new job is nothing more than security guard at Anthropologie.
Should you watch “Bed Bugs?”
Gags from earlier in the season like RuPaul’s manager and the convertible from Florida come back in spades. Ilana and Abbi both get a taste of the good life. This is another solid episode of the show that refuses to let its characters be happy. Seriously though, can these characters ever catch a break? It’d be nice to see them win one.