Goodbye, Broad City: A Tribute to Abbi and Ilana

Ilana and Abbi hold hands on Brooklyn Bridge

It’s been one week since the Broad City series finale and I am only now able to process my feelings about the end of such a meaningful show. Broad City reflected my city-dwelling mid-twenties life for the past five years and, although I am sad (read: devastated) to see it go, I find myself feeling overwhelmingly grateful for the way it captured such an essential moment in time for this generation.

Goodbye, Shenanigans

For me, Broad City’s charm comes from its ability to make the most outrageous situations seem somehow realistic. For example, take the recent eye infection episode where Ilana develops a horrendous eye infection due to a drop of “water” from an apartment’s air conditioner. Her lack of a primary care doctor leads her to go to a veterinarian for treatment instead, which is honestly something I would consider if I happened to know a vet.

Ilana looks at her eye infection through her phone camera

The chances of a droplet of air-conditioning fluid dropping straight into my eye and leading to a putrefied infection may be small, but the chances of me not having a primary care doctor due to a lack of job opportunities with good benefits is very high.

Although the way these storylines play out are a bit ridiculous in nature, the episodes are always grounded in this truth: 20-somethings trying to make it in a big city are often forced to live in a perpetual state of “barely making it.” But Broad City perfectly reflects the way this becomes a normal part of life. It’s not until the very end of the show that Abbi and Ilana consider the idea that maybe they deserve more.

Goodbye, Broken Toilets

Some of my favorite moments from the show come from scenarios that I have actually dealt with in the past: inviting friends over to an acquaintance’s apartment just for laundry machine access, sprinting through the city for a breakfast sandwich, viewing sketchy apartment rentals, and not being able to flush my own toilet. I’m not sure if all others can relate to these things, but I’m here to tell you that there is a large portion of us for which this is a part of our everyday lives.

Note reads: Can't Flush. Wanna die.

Which is why Broad City provided such a lifeline for me over the past five years. They were able to take these situations that are actually awful to deal with and make it funny. Abbi and Ilana dealt with failure with warmth and a willingness to let it all go. Always ready to move on to the next city adventure (because a new ridiculous situation is always bound to happen).

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we aren’t alone and we will get through it. So you lost your favorite sweatshirt? At least you didn’t put up “Missing Sweatshirt” signs that led to a local news report that claimed you were missing instead. Have a bad trip? At least you didn’t hallucinate in your local Whole Foods and end up spending $1500 that you probably don’t have. Hate your roommate? At least they don’t have a boyfriend who develops bed sores from sitting on your couch for too long. With Broad City, Abbi and Ilana were there to remind us that, while it could always be worse, friends can always make it better, too.

Ilana and Abbi sit on stoop in fancy outfits

Goodbye, Yellow Hats

Finally, the show felt so unique and refreshing in the way it was able to celebrate sex-positivity and queer identities. Abbi and Ilana’s sexual preference never felt like an after school special. In fact, they worked hard to make sure they stayed true to character when Abbi started dating a woman. Ilana was curious about her preference but never asked her to choose a label.

Meanwhile, Ilana has been casually in love with Abbi from the start of the show. This is portrayed in a way that is both taken seriously and used as a confidence-building tool between friends. Abbi would never have known she has an ass of an angel if it wasn’t for Ilana’s love! This nonchalance around queer identities is still rare on television but also an appropriate reflection of the growth of liberal attitudes in the younger generation. Amongst friends, I have been on the receiving end or witnessed many coming outs where the reaction is more of a “cool” than anything else. Broad City was one of the first shows to truly reflect this sentiment.

Cheers to a queerer future!

So *raises Ilana’s marijuana-infused cocktail* here’s to Broad City and all the joy it has brought millennials (and others) everywhere for the past five years. As the final scene reflected, I am ready to pass the struggling 20-something baton to the next pair of angel-assed, freely-queer, city-dwelling best friends.

About Nikki Tantum

Nikki has always known two contradictory things to be true: queer TV can save lives and queer female cop/agent characters will be the death of all of us (looking at you Officer Haught, Director Danvers, Detective Sawyer, and Sameen Shaw). Her first dive into fan content was when she ran a secret Xanga blog dedicated to pictures of Lorelai Gilmore in the 7th grade. She has never looked back.

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