While living in China I had limited access to the Internet. Google was hard to live without but the true struggle was not having access to television. Luckily, the Comedy Central app worked for the first few weeks and that is when I discovered ‘Broad City.’ I binged watched the entire first season and it was magical. Before moving to China, I had never lived in a city, and there was something comforting about watching these two women fumble their way around town while I was doing the same thing myself. For instance, in the first episode of season two, they flawlessly capture how hard it is to get your stuff home via public transportation, whether it is a Bed, Bath and Beyond in NYC or an Ikea in China. Not only do they depict these struggles so well, but I think a lot of the show’s success comes from the relatability of their friendship. The conversations they have are just variations of my own.
‘Broad City’ was created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, who also star as the two main characters. When I asked a male friend to watch the show he described it as two girls just hanging out and smoking pot, and I think that is pretty accurate. They skeem ways to get money for Little Wayne tickets, attempt to do their taxes and steal an air conditioner from a freshman dorm. What started as web series bloomed into a show with the help of executive producer and director Amy Poehler. The Wall Street Journal described Broad City as a form of “sneak attack feminism.” Jacobson later elaborated, “if you watch one of our episodes, there’s not a big message. But if you watch all of them, I think, they’re empowering to women.”
And I do feel empowered! Although, I believe this show is about everyday feminism more than a sneak attack. They may not being using classical feminist rhetoric, but instead they are depicting real conversations that happen between women in their twenties. Not only are these two women navigating New York and their everyday life, they also are dealing with mid-twenties’ complexes: what am I doing with my life? Where am I going and why are all my friends having babies and getting married? They mock objectification and discuss the awkwardness of sex.
There is no “good” vs “bad” feminism, there are just women trying to figure everything out. As someone who identifies as a feminist, I often struggle to reconcile this idea in my life. A causal relationship does not necessarily mean that I am casual about equality. These ideas are not mutually exclusive. Feminism does not exist in a vacuum; it exists in the conversations we have while just sitting around doing nothing as well. What makes ‘Broad City’ so relatable is the friendship and they way that they depict the support system between the two women. And they’re hilarious! If you follow them on Twitter, they spend much their conversation tweeting back and forth at each other, probably in the same room. This is a unique thing to capture, and although my friends and I usually do not do things like apply for jobs on craigslist, there are other images, like them sitting on a street drinking, that are so nostalgic.
Since returning from China, season two of ‘Broad City” has debuted and it is brilliant. You can find all the episodes on Comedy Central’s website. Also, make sure to check out Ilana and Abbi on the cover of the latest issue of Bust.