New Beginnings in ‘Broad City’s’ Fourth Season

 

 

It is that time of year again, only “Broad City,” a program that usually runs in the spring, is back this fall. The dynamic duo remain magnetically comical and rambunctious, but there is no denying that some sort of shift has taken place. It could be the political election (the president’s name is censored after Clinton got a cameo last season). It could be the cast and creators branching out with different projects (the show’s writer and director made a movie together this summer). It could just simply be the overarching pressure of maintaining freshness mid-series. However, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer sideswipe all of it by making fans wait over a year for a return, putting the pals in a wintery setting as opposed to their trademark colorful and sweaty cheekiness.

The change of seasons in the New York buddy comedy is surprisingly noticeable and it surely relates to the overall sense that these are people in transition. In the first episode, viewers are brought back to the beginning of the girls’ long and storied history. Inspired by the cheesy Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle from the 90’s, “Sliding Doors,” it tells of the first day they met while still studying at Tisch School of the Arts and how their inseparable friendship was inevitable. It’s a perfect time in the series for an episode like this, reminding everyone what they are about before things start to look a little different.

Things are not that different, but in the second episode, they both are seen with job upgrades. Abbi works for Wanda Sykes and when a package is left for her at Soulstice (her previous, less-than-stellar gym cleaning gig) she must go back to the dreaded place. After arriving, she ends up getting to train Shania Twain while fighting off sexual tension between her and Trey (Paul W. Downs, who also writes and is dating part-time series director, Lucia Aniello).

Faring better than the other guest star, RuPaul shows up as a viperous restaurant owner who teaches Ilana how to have power over the place like he does. It ends with them smoking weed again on that same old couch, so anyone worried that the beloved characters are growing up too fast, and that they should too, can relax.

The series is somewhat of a popular culture phenomenon now and a great job is done of handling the hype with regularly gut-busting original material. Few programs have such a close creative bond at the core, and not to mention one so honest about alterations happening in their own lives and those of people in the country. Season four looks to be an excitingly transformative storyline that brings new changes to the show that is near and dear to the hearts of its fanbase. The two lucky charms might just brighten things up as it gets colder and darker going into the winter months.

“Broad City” airs Wednesdays at 9:30pm on Comedy Central and has been renewed for a fifth season. Lucia Aniello directed and co-wrote a comedy film with Paul W. Downs called “Rough Night” that features Ilana Glazer and was released to middling critical and commercial success by Columbia Pictures in June.

JESSE BAALMAN
jbaalman@lc.edu