Broad City, Season 2, Episode 4, “Knockoffs”
Written by Lucia Aniello & Paul W. Downs
Directed by Lucia Aniello
Airs Wednesdays at 10:30pm on Comedy Central
There’s something beautiful happening with Abbi on this season of Broad City. In season one, Abbi was the straight woman to Ilana’s antics, being dragged along on her escapades and exposed to things she’d never seen before. By the end of the season, some of that had changed, but there’s something altogether different happening now. Four episodes into the second season, Abbi is now experiencing sex acts that Ilana has only dreamed of. Now that’s character development.
There was a time when Ilana was telling Abbi that everything she does in bed, she’s already been through. Turns out that she hasn’t gone through pegging before, and she is ecstatic at Abbi’s opportunity with Jeremy. Pegging, for the uninitiated, is when a woman uses a strap-on on a man. This is often used for comic relief in a tricky form of homophobia, most recently in Chris Rock’s otherwise-entertaining Top Five, where the man reveals his sexual interest and lies down doggy style.
This scene happens in the episode, but luckily they manage to subvert your expectations by not (really) making fun of him for it. In fact, there’s so much else to make fun of Abbi’s longtime crush for. He’s a guy who says things like, “I knocked down all the walls. I hate walls.” and “I volunteered to teach some underprivileged kids how to do some woodworking today.” This guy, as Abbi points out, is very concerned with the particulars of his life, right down to his fancy, custom-made sex toys.
All this to say that Abbi is experiencing things that Ilana never has, and this new dynamic is unbelievably exciting. Not only does this put Abbi in the more knowledgeable position, but it creates an entirely fresh perspective on their friendship, strengthening it even further. Ilana has always been the wild one that brings Abbi along with her, advising her on new things and sharing her wisdom so that Abbi doesn’t make the same mistakes she has. This season, and most explicitly with this experience, Abbi is changing the dynamic and making new waves in how their friendship operates. The sheer joy and excitement in Ilana at this prospect is invigorating, because it’s not only at the specific act but at Abbi’s shifting self.
As Abbi is pegging and living with no regrets (“I kinda did it for Grandma Esther, you know!?”), Ilana is hanging out with her mom, played by the perfectly cast Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm). They have a ridiculous adventure looking for knockoff handbags (“All the good shit is always down a manhole.”), with Ilana’s grandmother’s shiva going on offering a backdrop to her mother’s obsession with the bags. It’s how she’s dealing with her grief. And luckily for us, it results in some hilarious moments showing us where Ilana comes from (including the great Bob Balaban as her father). Ilana’s dealing with some more straightforward material compared with Abbi this week, but this group together makes it all reach new heights, and nothing beats Ilana’s shiva outfit. There’s nothing else on TV right now quite as confident and willing to put it all out there as Broad City.
Bed, Bath and Beyonds:
- Abbi and Ilana are masters of street conversations: “At first I thought, ‘Do I have a long butt hair?’, and then I realized, no, it’s my head hair fallen down my back and into my butt crack!”
- I love the small, blink-and-you-miss-it jokes, like when they walk around a man in a motorized wheelchair and then moments later he stands up in the back of the frame.
- This exchange is perfect: “Cut or uncut?” “Cut.” “Oooh, elegant. And girth?”
- So is this one: “Don’t forget to wear a condom, Abbi.” “Ilana, one time and you tell your mom…” “That’s just how she says goodbye to people.”
- Some legitimate wisdom from Jeremy: “Bragging about not judging something just means that you think it should be judged.”
- “You have a kimono area.”
- “GO AROUND US YOU PATRIARCHAL MOTHERFUCKER.”