See "Broad City," starring Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer, this Wednesday on Comedy Central. Credit: Lane Savage
There have been many depictions on television of young people making their way in New York (see: "How I Met Your Mother," "2 Broke Girls," "Friends," etc.). However, it could be that the most accurate take on the city's 20-somethings comes from Comedy Central. "Broad City," the humor network's latest sitcom offering — executive produced by Amy Poehler and premiering Jan. 22 at 10:30 p.m. — is silly and quirky, yes. But it is also a warm and realistic portrayal of modern,aimless and adventurous post-college life.
The show focuses on two friends: Abbi, who cleans toilets at a gym, and Ilana, who sleeps through a desk job at an Internet deals site. Abbi dreams of getting a date with her neighbor. Ilana dreams of making out with Rihanna. They have no responsibilities or money, and their biggest challenge is scoring tickets to a Lil Wayne concert.
The show rings true because it's inspired by the lives of its creators and stars, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, who first launched "Broad City" as a successful web series in 2010.
"They're from where we're from and went to school where we went," Jacobson says of their onscreen doppelgängers. Glazer elaborates with an example from an episode: "Ilana tries to get medication from a veterinarian, which one of our writer friends did successfully." When the character Ilana tries to do the same, she fails, as she and onscreen Abbi do in most situations. In fact, the most success they seem to achieve is stealing office supplies, returning them for store credit, and then exchanging that credit for an eighth of weed.
It should be noted that the "Broad City" girls are merely heightened versions of their creators, not facsimiles. The biggest difference between them is that, while their doppelgängers will never succeed, their creators certainly have.
Jacobson and Glazer, 29 and 26, may need to see their characters hit their 30s. Jacobson imagines how that might look. "They'd be financially stable and have more freedom," she supposes. "So instead of a storyline about using a public restroom in a Whole Foods, it would be in a Bloomingdales."
Big-name guest stars
Jacobson and Glazer, veterans of the New York comedy scene, have packed the series with familiar, hilarious, guest-star faces:
Fred Armisen: He manages to make a creepy Craigslist-soliciting man-baby appear adorable in the first episode.
Rachel Dratch: In the third episode, she's triggered into a frenzy by the mismanagement of the jar in a count-how-many contest.
Janeane Garofalo: She doesn't flinch at the sight of horrific hemorrhoids (also in the third episode).