“Broad City” Delivers Fresh and Funny Female Perspective Sans Snark

Rebecca Edwards | Mar 3, 2014

Broad City

In what is becoming an ever more crowded landscape of “slacker” comedy featuring unmotivated 20-somethings muddling their way through post-college life, Comedy Central’s “Broad City” is a standout. Based on a web series started by real-life besties and co-creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, “Broad City” is a surprisingly charming slice of life filled with uncomfortably familiar awkward moments and plenty of unfiltered rambling.

This poor, little white girl premise has been done before (think “Two Broke Girls”) but never with such a sincere – and genuinely funny – voice. As alums of Upright Citizens Brigade Jacobson and Glazer certainly bring a fair share of sketch comedy shtick to the table – but the engaging, earnest brilliance of the two main characters helps “Broad City” rise above the gags into a realm of subtle satirical bliss, which is where the show really delivers.

While the show has been lumped in the same category as “Girls” by some, “Broad City” feels like a lighter, more airy version that still dares to show the “ugly” side of modern femininity but does it in a less club-over-the-head kind of way. Jacobson and Glazer play fictional versions of themselves, and even share their real first names with the characters they play. In each episode Ilana and Abby give viewers a glimpse into their hardscrabble New York City existence, along with an irresistible earful about what they think about nearly every little thing.

One of the most refreshing things about the show is its ability to explore the mundane “white people problems” the girls face in a bright, funny way that has appeal outside the circle of other entitled, white 20-somethings. Shows like “Two Broke Girls” and “New Girl” have explored the same themes but in an almost simpering, apologetic way that just dares you not to think they’re edgy. “Broad City” is naturally edgy and slightly risqué but done in such an intelligent, almost laissez-faire, way that you fall in love with these girls before you even have time to realize how off-sides some of their behavior is.

With the addition of Amy Poehler as a fan, guest star and co-executive producer, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the fresh, foul-mouthed voices of the brash, pot-smoking lead characters. This trio of funny ladies joins the ranks of other Comedy Central projects headed by women, like “Inside Amy Schumer,” but while the girls recognize that they are being viewed as feminist heroes, they don’t let that moniker influence how they approach a subject or a joke. In fact, in an interview with “The Michigan Daily” Jacobson said, “… while it’s great to be described that way, we’re not female comedians. We’re not female writers. The show is a comedy about people.”

And that might be the magic ingredient that makes you want to sit down and spend some time with these bawdy, but quite sincere, characters. And if you haven’t checked them out already, I challenge you to tune in and not be drawn into the shameless world of these two genuinely funny broads.

How much of a difference, if any, do you think gender plays when it comes to what we think is funny?

Photo Courtesy of Lane Savage/Comedy Central

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