A Belated Goodbye to Broad City
Dear Abbi and Ilana,
It took some time before I was finally able to bring myself to watch the final episode of Broad City. And it took even longer before I was able to write this letter. I simply wasn’t ready to say goodbye to a show that has meant so much to me, but I am now.
To start: Thank you.
Little did you know that your web series conceived in a bar would become a TV phenomenon produced by Amy Poehler, but I’m so glad it did. (Yes, I read I Might Regret This and did not regret it.) You normalized “being Jewish,” helped me embrace my identity, and encouraged me to feel confident in my own skin; you modeled a meaningful female friendship, one that reflected the relationship I share with my absolute best friend, my soul sister, my non-Jewish-but-probably-secretly-Jewish-somewhere-along-the-line soulmate.
Abbi and Ilana, you are the kinds of Jewish women I wish I had seen more of while growing up. You are outspoken, you are creative, you are honest, you are real, you are independent, you are “cum queens.” Being Jewish makes you who you are and that’s something to be proud of. That took me many, many years to accept, and you helped me get there. During my teens and into my twenties, I pushed myself as far away as possible from the image of the “Jewish Woman” I had seen caricatured on the TV shows I watched as a child. But then, when I was about 17, Broad City came along. And your show changed my perception of what it means to be a Jewish woman and showed me just how important female friendship is and, as a result, changed my life.
Earlier this year, the show drew to a close and you (and your characters) moved on to new adventures. At the same time, a lot of stages in my life are coming to a close and changing as well. I accepted a two-year fellowship as an Education Fellow with the Institute of Southern Jewish Life and moved 10 hours away from my family and friends.
Like Abbi in Season 5, I saw an opportunity that I believed to be a pipe dream, applied, and actually got it. Like Abbi, I’m relocating to somewhere completely new, without my best friend (physically) by my side. Like both Abbi and Ilana, I’m now a twenty-something who’s in the middle of figuring her life out.
When I watched Season 5, Episode 8, in which Abbi tells Ilana she’s moving to Colorado for an art residency, I both laughed and cried. The plot’s similarities to my own life were uncanny and the episode resonated deeply with me and my best friend. Abbi and Ilana, your friendship reminds me so fondly of us. Broad City modeled just how meaningful, rewarding, and fulfilling female friendship is. Like your characters, Mia and I compliment and admire each other’s butts; if we’re not next to each other, we’re texting each other our streams of consciousness; she’s the first one I text in the morning and the last one I text before bed; we cheer each other on with shouts of “yas kween;” I fully believe she is my soulmate.
For the past decade, we have grown alongside each other and alongside the two of you, from your Season 1 to your Season 5, from our freshman year of college to our newfound freedom as recent college graduates. We didn’t get stuck in an outhouse and accidentally chain ourselves to a truck, or crawl through an air vent high on molly to get into a Lil Wayne concert; I didn’t give her a weed smoothie after she got her wisdom teeth taken out and she didn’t try to give me weed that she stored in her vagina. But just like you both, we’ve evolved together, in part because of each other.
Now, Mia and I are heading in different directions, but the culmination of Broad City makes me feel a little better. In the final episode of the show, as Abbi and Ilana say their goodbyes, it feels like they’re talking directly to me.
Abbi tries to comfort Ilana by saying “me and you—we’re still gonna be us, no matter what. That’s never gonna change. Even if we’re in different cities, that’s never gonna change.” Ilana responds, “It is gonna change. But this is still gonna be the most beautiful, deep, real, cool and hot, meaningful, important relationship of my life.”
My moving date has come and gone, Mia’s approaches quickly. And there won’t be new episodes of Broad City to help me escape from these realities. To quote Ilana: “It sucks. But also, it doesn’t. It’s gonna be great.” It’s gonna be great, Mia. I love you. No matter the distance, you’ll always be my best friend. And I know Broad City will always be there for me—and us—to watch over and over...and over... again.
Thank you, Abbi and Ilana, for everything.
With love, Rena
How to cite this page
Lubin, Rena. "A Belated Goodbye to Broad City." 3 July 2019. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 14, 2020) <https://jwa.org/blog/belated-goodbye-broad-city>.