Broad City, Season 2, Episode 5, “Hashtag FOMO”
Written by Chris Kelly
Directed by Jeff Tomsic
Airs Wednesdays at 10:30pm on Comedy Central
Alter egos for characters in comedy television series is nothing new. Indeed, Abbi’s Val is a similar kind of double life persona as Ron Swanson’s Duke Silver on Parks and Recreation. There’s something special about Val, though. Maybe it’s because, as has been pointed out by many others online, that crazy lady back in the season premiere screeching, “VAL!”, on the subway wasn’t so nuts after all. Maybe it’s because it allows Abbi Jacobson to break out a ridiculous Prohibition-era accent, strut around like an old-timey diva, and swallow diamonds with aplomb.
A crucial aspect of this episode is something previous reviews have pointed out is happening this season: the Abbi revolution. This isn’t a whole new Abbi, so perhaps evolution would be a more apt word, but nevertheless, she is growing and showing sides of her that the viewers have never seen before. In “Hashtag FOMO”, Abbi and Ilana are on the hunt for the “Narnia of partias”, the best party they can possibly find in one night, hopping from a 7 to an 8.5 and so on. This is a great display of the power of a friendship like theirs, because you aren’t going to go party hopping like this without a close friend you can count on to not let you pick that earring up out of your own vomit the next day.
It also makes for a restless episode, never staying still for too long (which often comes through via Jeff Tomsic’s addictively colicky direction). After starting off in their workplaces, the episode shifts gears to follow their drunken adventure from party to party. They start with Trey’s Port Authority-adjacent gathering, to which Ilana brings a fake bottle of wine and has another female personal trainer by turns flirt with her and love how weird she is (she asks if Ilana ever straightens her hair, and Ilana agrees at first: “Wait, do you mean my head hair? No.”). They make their exit with another Abbi excuse, this time about a tapeworm that she has in her butt: “I feel like it’s moving.”
Then it’s over to Jaimé’s party, where they meet his boyfriend and Ilana goes off on straight people who fetishize their gay friends by saying they’ll officiate their wedding (Ilana has no chill for you, straight people). Then the hottest person at the party leaves, so it’s off to Lincoln’s place for discussions about micropenises and micropickles. Once someone starts blowing their nose, Ilana demands they leave, so they hit a rooftop party with a pair of straight guys making out and someone else on stilts. After that 10 party, they stumble out and Abbi leads them down an ugly hole into an underground bar where she becomes…
VAL! And what a fantastic, hilarious, wonderful transformation. Ilana has developed an increasing sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) with Abbi’s life consistently surprising her this season, and it seems we may have reached the peak with Abbi’s three-year drunken secret, performing and charming the men and women of that surreal bar and exuding (alcohol-assisted) confidence. As Val intones to Ilana, “You always worry about missing out on life, you never bother to actually live,” which serves as a quasi-thesis for the madcap episode and its finale. Ilana has missed out on this entire strange part of Abbi’s life, but with the truth revealed, she feels as though she is FOMOing no mo’. This whole bizarre sequence is a uniquely fresh experience, as the next step in the development of Abbi and Ilana’s nuanced relationship.
Bed, Bath and Beyonds
- The new employee that Abbi starts the episode training as a cleaner at Soulstice ends the episode by telling her that she’s been promoted to a trainer after asking Trey once they were drunk. Then she throws her cleaner shirt in Abbi’s face. Abbi needs to buck up.
- “Someone barfed on an exercise ball, and then it bounced down two flights of stairs.”
- FOMO has been around for a while, but don’t be surprised if you start hearing it all the time now.
- “If we did have to kill ourselves, how would we do it?” “I’d shoot you in the face and shoot myself in the heart.” “…You said that really fast.”
- Ilana asks the bartender how long Abbi has been coming there as Val. “For over 100 years,” he says to Ilana’s shocked face. “No, I’m just kidding, it’s more like 3 years.”
- “We gonna get it outta there, and it’s gonna get done.” #bless Hannibal Buress