When Broad City started back in 2014, there was no shortage of eyerolls. Did we really need another show about millennials making their way through New York City? Well, now we know that the answer is “yas, queen,” because a television landscape without Broad City would be bleak indeed. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have managed to capture lightning in a bottle, albeit stoned, erratic lightning. There isn’t a more consistently hilarious show on television, and the season three premiere is a prime example of everything that the show does so well.
There isn’t a single wasted shot in “Two Chainz,” which throws viewers back in the zany, yet incredibly low-stakes, world of the show. The opening sequence, a split screen view of what goes on in the two women’s respective bathrooms is a great reminder of not only Abbi’s quest for meaning and Ilana’s in-your-face hedonism, but also of the next-level friendship these two share. There aren’t nearly enough female friendships on television, and the weirdness that binds these two is the show’s beating heart. Not only that, but Abbi and Ilana feel like people you know. They don’t live in insanely huge apartments, they repeat outfits, and they have believably mediocre jobs. If you’re tired of the romanticized version of life in New York City fed to you by romantic comedies and sitcoms, consider Broad City your antidote.
Somehow, Broad City is able to take the most mundane things and turn them into the background for something nearly avant-garde. In this first episode, the plot revolves around Ilana losing her bike chain key in the sewer and consequently getting trapped in the comically large gold chain, making their quest for a bathroom even more desperate. That’s really it. However, with that simple premise, they examine the pretentiousness of brunch, the madness of pop-up sales, and how insufferable most modern art galleries truly are. All the while, Murphy’s Law proves to be painfully true along their way, with New York becoming some sort of Rube Goldberg style labyrinth of misfortune and bad choices.
Broad City also has a unique style in that almost nothing sticks. At the end of every episode, the show hits the reset button, with none of the ramifications from the decisions made ever really having any consequences. Each day’s madness is wiped away with a “thank God we survived that” bong hit. However, that is part of the show’s appeal. Television has a tendency to portray even the smallest things as the kickoff for a seismic shift, but on Broad City, a day is just a day. Chances are, your devastatingly embarrassing moment isn’t going to ruin your life, no matter how cringingly awful it is in the moment.
But just because they live in a consequence-free world doesn’t mean that Abbi and Ilana have an easy time dealing with embarrassing moments. There’s a moment in the premiere involving spraying ink and a giant magnetized ballsack that’s equal parts awkward and hilarious. This style also makes it really easy for new viewers to pick it up at any time. While newcomers should certainly go back and watch the brilliant first two seasons, starting with the season three premiere won’t present any problems and might even be the perfect jumping on point.
Plus, Broad City is just funny. Between the sight gags, pop-culture references, and believable interplay between the two stars, you can’t look away for a second for fear that you’ll miss something. I don’t think there’s been a show since 30 Rock that has managed to so skillfully cram that many jokes into the traditional 21-minute episode. Jacobson and Glaser play off of each other remarkably well, blending intelligence and absurdity in ways that elevate it above other comedies. Instead of going for the obvious joke, Broad City always finds ways to twist a familiar formula and make something fresh with it, which is becoming more and more of a rarity. We need Broad City. Because on top of making us cackle on a weekly basis, it gives TV a shot in the arm.