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The Broads are Back

That’s right. The much anticipated third season of Broad City is finally here! YAS KWEEN! After a hiatus which ardent fans like myself would classify as an eternity, Abbi and Ilana have at long last returned with their shenanigans, their pot, their feminism, and, as we learn from season three’s opening sequence, their multi-faceted bathroom use.  Yes, all that we love so much about this show is back, and it’s here to stay! Comedy Central renewed Broad City for two more seasons before the third season even started; I think that calls for another resounding, YAS KWEEN!, don’t you?

Broad City’s prodigal return to the small screen has gotten me thinking about why I, and so many others, love this show so much. The first thing that comes to mind is something that Jon Stewart said in an interview with Abbi and Ilana (the real people, not the characters) on The Daily Show. He said: “What I love about that show [Broad City] is joy…It is such a rare quality in this stupid stupid business that we’re in to bring a joyful expression of your comedy to the screen.” I could not agree more. There is something about the DNA of this show that exudes joy. I can’t speak for all viewers, but this show just makes me happy. I always have a huge, dumb smile on my face while I’m watching it. It’s hard to pin down exactly what it is that makes Broad City so joyful, but I would argue that it’s some combination of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s real-life comedic partnership and friendship that translates so well on screen, and the show’s commitment to levity, even when addressing more serious topics.

Another big reason why I love Broad City is because of how it treats Judaism and feminism as subjects. Abbi and Ilana (the characters, but also the real people) are both Jewish, feminist-minded women, and these identity aspects are integral to the show. Broad City is full of Jewish elements, like when Abbi and Ilana attend Ilana’s grandmother’s shiva. It’s also not lacking in feminist moments, like when Abby decides to ask out her old high school crush via Facebook and says, “Why are we waiting for guys to come to us, Ilana? Did Amelia Earhart wait to be asked to fly around the world? Definitely not!” Despite plenty of moments like these, I would not call Broad City a “Jewish” show, or a “feminist” show; it doesn’t try to hit you over the head. The show has a familiar story: two young women trying to make it in the big city. It just so happens that they’re Jewish feminists.  

There aren’t many Jewish references in the first episode of the third season, although Abbi is wearing a “challah back” shirt for part of the first sequence, but this episode definitely doesn’t underdeliver on the feminism. At the very beginning of the episode, Ilana is late to meet Abbi for brunch because she got caught up reading articles about Saudi women who have to ask permission just to go outside, and she was extremely upset about it. Abbi and Ilana discuss what an injustice this is, but then, like many people in their 20’s who value social awareness but nonetheless are very preoccupied with their own lives, get distracted by how unfair it is that the brunch place no longer has bottomless mimosas.  The Saudi women are not forgotten though. When Ilana later gets her bike chain stuck around her waist, she says, “Having this twelve pound chain around my waist for a few hours is nothing compared to the metaphysical chains of those Saudi women…” While this line is delivered in a funny and kind of silly way, it’s Ilana recognizing her own privilege, and that’s an important lesson! This is an example of perhaps the most important reason why I love Broad City. It’s one of the funniest shows on tv and so enjoyable to watch, but it also has lessons to teach and messages to deliver.

I could talk about so many more reasons why I love Broad City, but I’ll save those for my memoirs. For now I’ll grab my Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and my Kanye blanket and settle in for another great season with these badass Jewish feminist broads. 

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Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer
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Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer at Internet Week New York in May 2015
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How to cite this page

Klebe, Larisa. "The Broads are Back." 24 February 2016. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/broads-are-back>.

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