Back in April of 2018, it was announced that Broad City’s fifth season would also be its final season. A little less than a year later, the time has come to say goodbye to Abbi Abrams (as played by series co-creator Abbie Jacobson), Ilana Wexler (as played by series co-creator Ilana Glazer), and of course, the third main character of the series: New York City.
Uproxx recently spoke with Jacobson and Glazer about Broad City’s fifth and final season, including their Instagram Story-framed season premiere, their mixed emotions about finally ending it all and saying goodbye, and just what to expect on this final countdown of 4 and 3 and 2 and 1.
On ending the series on their own terms:
Abbi: We chose it, we’re happy about it.
Ilana: Yeah, it was really cool… Comedy Central has been such generous collaborators for the entire duration of the show, and they were really understanding and eventually supportive of our decision to end after five seasons. We love the show and feel it has a certain level of potency that we think it deserves and know that we could give it through this season. And they got that and understood that and supported it.
Abbi: But it’s definitely bittersweet. But I think ultimately we’re like, this is definitely the right call.
Ilana: Yeah, go out on a high note.
Abbi: Yes. Exactly.
Ilana: Women [creators] so rarely get the opportunity to end on a high note and it’s a privilege to do so.
On the fifth season premiere, “Stories,” and the entire Instagram obsession:
Ilana: We were just talking about this and … “The Matrix” in season two. Instagram wasn’t what it was. Stories weren’t invented. I don’t even know if Instagram existed at that point. It wasn’t as handheld and obsessive. Facebook was more the social media mode.
Abbi: It was more like you just get in a Google hole, you just get lost on the web in general. And this was just … I think, I don’t know if you guys are feeling it, but I feel like it’s really Instagram right now. We are all on this thing all the time. I love the episode because I love watching these characters. It’s way more intimate because we’re talking right to the audience. And it’s such a cool way of telling a story, but it’s just scary at the same time. We were talking about them potentially releasing it in some [different way].
Ilana: Well they will on Instagram TV or whatever. We are on Instagram because it’s so much part of our industry. I was telling Abbi that I said [to my husband], “Did you see what I sent you?” He’s like, “On what?” He doesn’t even know what I’m talking about. I’m like, “Instagram, you idiot.” He’s like, “I haven’t checked it for a few days.” I’m like, “Me neither.” It’s crazy. No, he’s for real. He doesn’t care.
On exploring Abbi’s sexuality this season:
Abbi: Yeah, I think it was important to [Ilana] too, but it was really important to me. It’s just very directly pulled from my own life and where I always dated dudes and then all of the sudden I was dating women, and so much of the show is from our lives’ seeds. I was so excited to put that on the show. And the show in general is so queer and fluid and open but it’s definitely more Ilana’s character and Jaime. And Abbi is not the opposite but sort of seen as more hetero in general. I was just so excited to put that in there and it feels really real. That’s so important to put that.
Ilana: It was important to me too to allow … The character surprises herself.
Abbi: As I did in my real life. I was like, “Wait. Yeah.”
On life after Broad City and the blurring of lines between actor and character:
Ilana: I think it’s really, really, really hard. I think the volume, it’s just a lot. … It’s not like I won’t miss the flow and rhythm of the show but… We’ve just been doing this for 10 years straight, from the web series, and I’m excited to see what life is like outside of Broad City. This has been a third of my life, this show. I don’t have an adulthood without Broad City. It’s not like I won’t miss it, but it’s just taken 11 months of the year for seven years, six years.
Abbi: I won’t miss this — but I think it might still continue — just the confusion… I’m talking about the fact that my name is the same as [the character’s] name and that decision made it so much more real. But it is something that has been so confusing to us in figuring out who we really are and how we’re different from the characters and trying to define ourselves in our own lives versus also making this show about their lives 11 months of the year. Just a lot of push and pull…All we set out to do was to make this thing that people would relate to. But then when we’re living in the regular world it’s so confusing for people to feel like they know you. So it’s simultaneously incredibly flattering but then so confusing for me sometimes. Because I really am like, “Did we go to high school together?” Kind of the way that people feel about the characters, which I love. I’m contradicting myself but it’s a confusing area for me.
Ilana: It’s funny, it’s hard to answer because I will miss the show. But it is perfect timing that it’s over now. I’m very of the mindset of I wouldn’t change a thing about it, but it needed to end. But I’ll miss it.
On the last day of filming:
Abbi: We shot it in order as much as we could this season, which usually we don’t. It’s usually block scheduling based on locations and actor availability. But we shot it in order as much as could and especially that last episode we shot last. We were like, “We want this scene to be last. Figure that out, AD team.” And every producer that isn’t usually there was there — everyone came.
Ilana: It was 5:00 AM in Queens and … Brooke, our eight months pregnant producer is like, “No, I’ll be there.” I was like, “Get in bed.” “Nope, I got to be there at 5.” She was there.
Abbi: She woke up at 4:00 and came.
Ilana: Way out in Queens.
Abbi: That whole night was shooting the last episode and then the last scene was just us and it was really intense.
Ilana: It was incredibly emotional. We were weeping, looking into each other’s eyes, holding hands, holding each other. We were talking as the characters and yet describing ourselves and our journeys as creators. It was amazing. Honestly, it felt like this trip or a dream. It was divine.
Abbi: We shot on the sidewalk. … It’s not a huge scene of action. And we’re shooting and video village — where the directors and everyone sits and watches — usually doesn’t have to be right there, but now that I’m thinking about it, it was. Our crew was huddled as close to us as they could for that last scene. They were right here and it was really special.
Ilana: It was just really interesting. But we’ve become family with these people. Rocco, our grip, is weeping. The gaffer is weeping. We were all crying and hugging, and we acted until the sun came up. It was amazing.
Abbi: And it was Lucia Aniello directing, who directed our pilot. Yeah, it was just really a perfect ending.
Ilana: It was really such a privilege to experience that. I feel so lucky to have been me in that experience.
The fifth and final season of Broad City premieres Thursday, January 24th, at 10 pm ET on Comedy Central.