Finally, US comedy Broad City is being shown in the UK. If you tuned in to Comedy Central on Tuesday night, the show’s UK premiere, you’ll have been introduced to Ilana and Abbi already – two girls in their early twenties running the usual gamut of sex, friendship, drugs, work and parties, while trying to make it in New York.
Abbi is an artist who works as a cleaner in a gym, also harbouring secret dreams of becoming a trainer there. Ilana “works” at a Groupon-esque company called Deals Deals Deals, where she spends more time sleeping in the toilets (or with her eyes open at her desk) and pissing off her manager than doing her job. A recurring highlight of the show is her colleague Nicole, who makes disapproving, eye-rolling audio notes about Ilana’s behaviour on her phone. Essentially, Broad City reflects the grim realities of dead-end jobs and struggling to get to where you want to be – surely something that a whole heap of us can relate to.
The show’s charm is in how it can turn something mundane into hypersurreal laughs. When Abbi misses a delivery she’s meant to sign for for her neighbour Jeremy (who she happens to find mind-alteringly hot), her trek to a deserted warehouse in the middle of the Hudson river leads her to Garol, a skeletal old woman eating yoghurt who’s convinced her supervisor is watching her despite her desk being the only thing in the huge, dusty space. Getting locked out of Ilana’s apartment before Abbi’s first art show (in a sandwich shop) results in the pair getting maced and Ilana hauling a huge sack of bagels out of the bin.
Music isn’t a huge part of Broad City – there isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of, meaning the focus isn’t taken away from Ilana and Abbi’s on-screen antics. But when it does creep into the show, it’s brilliant. The whole premise of the first episode is the girls’ hustle to make enough money to see Lil Wayne that night, while Ilana’s “friend” Lincoln (Hannibal Burress) pays tribute to Amy Winehouse on the way to a wedding in Connecticut in touchingly funny form: “I’m not over Amy Winehouse. It’s like we knew it would happen, but we didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t “know her” know her, but I still miss her.”
If you’ve yet to enter Broad City’s world, be prepared – it’s by far the realest show on TV right now. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson – the programme’s stars and creators – aren’t afraid to show 20-something life in all its horribly awkward glory, with little of Girls’ slightly whiny air of privilege. Nothing is too gross or embarrassing to be glossed over, but equally the duo never ask you to feel sorry for them, asking instead that you laugh at – and with – them.
Broad City is on Comedy Central, Tuesdays, 10pm.