To quote a girl group that has been back in the news lately:
“Goodbye, my friend
(I know you’re gone, you said you’re gone, but I can still feel you here)
It’s not the end
(I gotta keep it strong before the pain turns into fear)
So glad we made it
Time will never change it, no, no, no”
While the connection between that Spice Girls song and the Broad City series finale (appropriately titled “Broad City”) probably wasn’t Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s intent, when there’s a Spice Girls song that applies to a certain situation, it’s always worth noting.
When I reviewed the fifth season of Broad City (based on a handful of episodes), I noted how this final season is all about maturity and growing up. The season premiere, “Stories,” ended with an intellectually pseudo-intellectual realization from the Abbi and Ilana that they’re missing out on actually making memories by focusing too much on their phones and letting everyone know how great of a time they’re having. Since then, the girls have continued to run around the city like Cheese (aka Lindsay) said they did, “with [their] little foibles and [their] little mishaps and [their] little shenanigans,” but they’ve been doing it all with more of a purpose. They’ve truly been focusing on themselves, though not in a self-involved way: Abbi started to really focus on her art and explore her sexuality, while Ilana decided to go back to school and learned to accept her loved ones moving on to live different lives from her. This season has answered what the “mature” version of Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler look like, without completely changing everything about these characters.
(Also since writing about the season, I’ve of course seen the Abbi hat episode. Good episode. Not so much a good hat, but definitely a yellow one.)
“Broad City” the episode is pretty smart to shove in as many foibles, mishaps, and shenanigans as it possibly can for this last hurrah. And naturally, the episode reminds us all that New York City is the third broad, whether it’s in the form of bodega/deli bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, walking the Brooklyn Bridge with a toilet, or taxi drivers who are just completely over everything (whether it’s a girl trying to bring a toilet into the cab or another girl wasting his time on an emotional farewell). While the series ends on the idea of there being far more stories and misadventures for other broads in the city, the idea of Broad City the series being set anywhere else but New York City — a main character in its own right, okay? — is near impossible. Abbi had to move to Colorado, as the only way to end this series was either for at least one of these women to no longer live in New York or for both women to Thelma and Louise themselves off the Brooklyn Bridge. (This episode’s opening title card already has animated Abbi and Ilana running off into the sunset.) The former is how things go, but the latter is clearly an option for Ilana. “Broad City” shows that growing up doesn’t necessarily have to mean growing apart — even if you physically have to be away from your best friend — and it doesn’t mean you change yourself completely. “Abbi + Ilana Forever.”
As any series finale tries to have some sort of meaning to leave the audience thinking about long after the show is gone, “Broad City” has Ilana searching for meaning when it comes to her and Abbi’s final day together in New York. It starts with the failed BEC hunt, but then there’s Ilana’s philosophical waxing about the $10,000 toilet being their true final adventure. It’s almost always truly small, weird adventures, but Ilana presents them as the biggest thing in the world to Abbi, and that ultimately ends up falling in line with the “end of days” style promotion for this season.