Broad City: What We Can Learn From Abbi and Ilana

Illustration and feature illustration by Kirsten Samanich, @kir_andloathinginlasvegas

Illustration and feature illustration by Kirsten Samanich, @kir_andloathinginlasvegas

When I was given this assignment, I automatically assumed the “we” in the title referred to women. I couldn’t come up with anything. As an avid female consumer of the show, I couldn’t think of a single thing I had learned, apart from the proper usage of nature’s pocket and how to get the best deal on knock-off bags. Instead of gaining valuable insight into the nature of female friendships and learning from characters as they championed their enemies (damn you Bevers!), I found myself shouting “YAS QUEEN” without respite.

Which leads me to my point: I didn’t learn jack shit from Broad City because I am Broad City.

But you know who can learn from the duo? MEN.

Yeah, I said it.

Because Broad City is the first show that painstakingly, accurately, and completely depicts young females’ friendships with each other. I have seen glimpses of the kinds of friendships in shows like Friends and Girls, but the former is soaked in the sound-stage prison of sitcom land, and the latter cloaks almost all relationships in a veil of whiny discontent that makes my skin crawl.

Broad City is special. Abbi and Ilana are not cooky, lovable, scripted, self-loathing, imperfect beings on a rocky road to self-acceptance and ultimately a fulfilling romance. About half of that is true; these girls are imperfect and want to be loved (read as: get laid), but they’re pretty set. They’re happy. They’re struggling, but they’re having a great time doing it. They’re flawed and awkward and loud and obnoxious and they’re not trying to do anything about it. Why should they? They’re queens.

So okay, maybe I could have written, “The ladies of Broad City taught me that I’m a queen and that being flawed only equates to being fabulous.” But that’s terrible writing and also untrue. Because you can’t teach a woman how to be a queen—she has to find out for herself. (And she will!)

But men on the other hand should listen up, because Broad City does what no other show to date has managed to do: portray 20-something-year-old women comfortable in their natural personalities and comfortable with each other. By nature of men being men, they will never be able to participate in a female friendship and therefore have no idea how we behave when we’re alone with each other. It’s not always terribly different from how we interact with men or with each other when men are present, but there’s just something special about lady magic. Men deserve to know about it.

They also need to know that we’re gross, inappropriate, and awkward as hell. We poop. We fart. We curse up hurricanes. We’re horny. We sometimes get stupid around boys. We’re improper and crude and would rather not cater to anyone’s comfort levels (although some of us are still working on shedding that socially-imposed notion of politeness). We’re greasy and forget to shower. We dance around our apartments naked and it’s not always sexy, but it’s always awesome. And we love it.

So dudes, abandon the idea of a manic pixie dream girl, forget about the damsel in distress (which, like, it’s 2016 and that should be long gone), and please don’t ever think we’re anything but downright disgusting.