Remember when Girls first came out and everyone was all, “Oh, this is so REAL,” “the zeitgeist”, “omg true life”? For half a second we thought we’d arrived, that finally television was giving us raw, unabridged representations of young women as we’d never seen them before. And then came the reality of the reality, which is that Girls is barely as provocative as it first promised to be, and that it presents some genuinely one dimensional women under the guise that “flawed” equates to “real”. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t (duh)–and from what I can tell in general conversation and from criticism online, Girls has fallen out of favor with the very demographic it purports to represent.
Girls is bland, predictable and the female friendships it orbits are horrific. I wouldn’t wish those sorts of friendships upon a bag of assholes (or even the show’s characters, for that matter). But when Broad City made its way to Comedy Central the promise of Girls was fulfilled with 10 glorious yet tragically short episodes where we got to watch two girls doing what girls do in their 20s–be total fucking dirt bags while loving the absolute shit out of one another.
Since we lost television’s favorite BFFs, Leslie and Ann on Parks & Rec, we’ve never needed Abbi and Ilana more than we do now. They are, in fact, bizarro, replace-government-with-weed, big-city Leslie and Ann. They do the things young women in New York do. They birth used condoms, clog toilets, fumble crushes, gobble drugs and discuss their bodies liberally with one another. Their adventures range from the completely feral to the surreal, their language is foul and they’re blindly un-empathetic to the world around them in the most un-entitled way possible, which makes them, as disgusting and oblivious as they are, completely endearing.
The most endearing thing about them however, is their friendship. The way that they always put each other first, how they encourage one another in douchebaggery and all other affairs of life and love, and how at the end of the day, it’s two girl friends rambling through life together, against the odds. It’s the kind of solidarity we so rarely see on television. Girls, on the other hand, is a completely atypical representation of women–it doesn’t deviate from the self-serving, bitchy and hyper-competitive female stereotypes we’re used to seeing. Rarely is the ultimate aim of a woman on screen to just be with her buddy–more often than not it’s to get the guy–which is where Broad City truly bucks the trend.
Nothing is certain in Broad City. The characters are messy, frenetic and oftentimes hilariously hopeless. And yet there’s a tidiness, an even keel, and an incredibly hopeful premise at the very heart of Broad City: the friendship between it’s two female protagonists.