'Broad City' recap: 'Knockoffs'
Ilana's deceased grandma inspires Abbi to try something new in the bedroom.
A couple weeks ago, Ilana weirded out her coworker by asking if she ever finds long hairs coming out of her butt when she’s in the shower. Anyone with both long hair and a butt knows this is a common phenomenon including Abbi, who calls back to that conversation in the beginning of this episode when she details how she at first thought her butt was just growing unusually long hairs. Ilana responds with matter-of-fact glee because she’s familiar with Abbi’s situation and because she’s happy to talk about. And this is just one of many instances that prove, yes, Abbi and Ilana are soul mates.
But this episode isn’t all about Abbi and Ilana: It’s more about their interactions with neighbor Jeremy and Ilana’s mom, Bobby (Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Susie Essman), who is just like Ilana. Besides both having a beautiful mop of short curls, the two are similarly disinterested in rules or risks, similarly interested in Abbi’s butt—and both will do whatever it takes to get what they want, whether it’s weed or, in Bobby’s case, bags.
Ilana’s family—including her dad, played by Bob Balaban, and her brother, played by her real life brother, Eliot Glazer—is hanging out in the city because Bobby’s 92-year-old mom just died and she wants to pick up some cheap bags from Chinatown before heading to Long Island to sit shiva with the rest of the family. Abbi goes off to go on her date with Jeremy, which gives Ilana and Bobby plenty of time to hang out one-and-one and show just how perfect of a pairing the two are.
They fight over how attractive Jay Z is—Bobby’s not into his lips—and warmly reminisce about that time Ilana got pink eye as if getting pink eye is something fun (looking at Bob Costas’ broadcasts from the Sochi Olympics, it’s probably not). Their rapport is similar to Abbi and Ilana’s, but with an added dose of crazy since Bobby is a bit—okay, a lot—louder and more opinionated than the comparatively demure Abbi.
While those two are out getting into vans and descending into manholes all to get a few handbags, Abbi’s hanging out on Jeremy’s couch and drinking homemade beer. After very little conversation, they kiss—but Abbi cuts it short to say, out loud, “I’m kissing Jeremy.” This is the first moment in an ongoing series of very, very cringe-worthy moments that are about to take place in Jeremy’s apartment.
The next moment comes when the two are having sex and Abbi suggests switching. By this, she means switching positions so she’s on top—but Jeremy gets excited and thinks she means switching. The kind that involves putting on a strap-on with a mint-green dildo, one that he presents to a shocked Abbi who runs to the bathroom to call Ilana.
Ilana responds by first putting the phone down to twerk on the wall out of joy, then by talking about how her late grandma Esther did everything she wanted in life and how Abbi should just go for it. So Abbi goes for it. (Jeremy, you owe Grandma Esther.)
Everything seems to go well, but the next day Abbi accidentally ruins the dildo by putting it in the dishwasher. Luckily, she finds one that looks exactly like it at a sex shop—and that costs $79.99, which is probably not technically in her price range seeing that she spent more than $1,000 on her Whole Foods shopping spree last week. But she buys it anyway like the responsible sex partner she is.
Jeremy is extremely peculiar about his dildos, though, and somehow immediately notices it’s not the same one. That one, he says, was customized, and he’s not about to put some random dildo in his butt. Before, Jeremy seemed like a cool guy who did cool things like build stuff and volunteer. Now he seems like a rude weirdo who’s strangely elitist about his dildos. To make it even worse, his fight with Abbi ends with him telling her to stop blasting Alanis Morissette’s “Thank You.” Can we get Male Stacey back?
Before this whole conflict, Abbi took some time to head to Esther’s shiva and ended up revealing her whole strap-on adventure to Ilana and Ilana’s parents, who are surprisingly supportive and interested. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising given that Ilana doesn’t seem to even be aware of “TMI” as a concept, but, then again, they’re technically sitting shiva and sex doesn’t seem to be the most appropriate topic for a memorial. But, hey, Esther did seem to be quite the sex enthusiast, so she’d likely appreciate the conversation.
They eventually leave, and Ilana and Bobby end up getting arrested after lying out their cheap bags on the ground while looking for a ringing cell phone. Their time in custody doesn’t last long, but that doesn’t stop them from bitching out the increasingly impatient policemen.
All this time, Bobby has been pretty emotionless about her mother’s death. But after she and Ilana are left bagless on the sidewalk, she breaks down about how she needs more bags. “Mom, the bags are gone,” Ilana tells her. “Let it go.” They share a sweet moment that’s really more about Grandma Esther than the bags, but it’s interrupted when a guy yells at them for taking up the sidewalk—which they respond to by yelling back. Typical (and amazing) Wexler women move.
Both storylines had some uncharacteristically serious moments, but the show handled them well by letting them last just long enough to be poignant—like when Ilana comforts her grieving mom—before cutting them off with a joke. Sometimes it’s good to inject some darkness into otherwise relatively cheery shows, and this episode proved that Broad City can combine lighter topics like anal sex and heavier topics like death into one half hour. And, better yet, they can do so successfully.
The end of the episode ended on an optimistic note though with Abbi and Ilana casually talking—and with Ilana shamelessly flirting with her uninterested best friend. It’s (probably) what Esther would have wanted.