Four Marginalized Communities ‘Broad City’ Represented
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Broad City, one of Comedy Central’s most beloved sitcoms of the 2010s, has existed in some form or other for a full decade. Before coming to the cable network as a half-hour scripted sitcom in January 2014, creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson independently produced a web series of the same name from 2009 to 2011. The sitcom’s series finale aired March 28th, ending 10 years of a show that has immensely influenced comedy.
Leading up to the series finale and in the days afterward, people were abuzz about Broad City’s outsize impact on representation for communities that movies and TV, not to mention society at large, have often marginalized. Here are four of the groups Broad City represented most strongly.
Young Jewish people
Many popular TV shows have depicted white, Catholic or Christian (or at least religiously ambiguous) main characters. Following suit from shows such as Seinfeld and its rightful successor Curb Your Enthusiasm, Broad City pulled no punches about depicting modern cultural Jewish life. In the wake of the show’s finale, critics looked back fondly on its run as part of the era of peak Jewish TV and its use of Judaism for comic fodder that felt as genuine as it was pointed.
Much of news media often depicts millennials as an entitled, lazy generation. Broad City took these stereotypes and applied them to extremes, painting Ilana and Abbi as perpetually-broke young women incapable of (or uninterested in) holding jobs that amounted to career growth and stability. In looking back on the show’s run, critics have commented on how it toyed with the highly-millennial notion of “wokeness” and recalled its unfiltered addressing of how younger people react to the racism observed in older generations.
The women of the 1990s sitcoms that have paved the path for so much of today’s TV looked and act so differently than Ilana and Abbi did. Characters from Friends, Sex and the City, and even the overwhelmingly-male Seinfeld always kept up an outer appearance of cleanliness, perfection, and purity, even when they were the source of hilarious jokes or deep in the pursuit of love. Many have praised Broad City as a break from this trend — several, if not most, Broad City episodes portray Ilana doing things that many would say are disgusting for women (or people of any gender) to do.
At the outset of Broad City’s Comedy Central run, the relationship between Ilana and Abbi was ostensibly that of close friendship, even if Ilana unsubtly hinted at a deeper fascination with Abbi. In time, Ilana would go on to date women even though her main romantic partner throughout the show was a man, Lincoln (Hannibal Burress). The series finale, though, explicitly centered bisexual storylines, drawing praise from many publications as a perfect cap to an extremely queer final season.
What was your favorite thing about Broad City? How well do you think this final season put a cap on the show? Let us know in the comments!