TV Review: Broad City S3E03 “Game Over”

AbbiandTrey

Broad City airs at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.

In this week’s Broad City episode titled “Game Over”, writers (and stars) Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson turns their attention to a long running plot thread, which is how the hell has Ilana not lost her job at Deals Deals Deals. (A Groupon/LivingSocial knockoff.) It also follows Abbi’s first days as a trainer as she participates in the Soulstice Games and takes them way too seriously. Ilana  finally loses her job once an investor (played with a nice blend of professionalism and silliness from Vanessa Williams) has the bright idea to give her the company’s flagging Twitter once Ilana spills out a string of early 2000s Internet minutia and is simultaneously sexually attracted to and inspired by her pant suit outfit that she got on sale for 70% from TJ Maxx. (Add “Maxxinista” to a long list of Ilana nicknames.) Of course, this “promotion” goes terribly as Ilana’s lack of a filter doesn’t work well with a corporate Twitter account, and she has to leave the company. But her firing does give director Lucia Aniello a chance to pay homage to the closing song of Sister Act 2 in a cleverly choreographed dance number to “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” complete with colorful dissolve cuts and cameo from Whoopi Goldberg herself in character as Sister Clarence.

“Game Over” lets Ilana finally get some consequences for her horrible job performance at Deals Deals Deals while still being funny and not painting her former boss Derek (played meekly by Chris Gethard) and co-workers as one note villains. Even the man bun sporting “White Guy #7” and “Adult Braces” (formerly “Only Black Guy”) get a moment in the sun during the musical number that immediately starts once Ilana exits the building. Glazer’s performance as Ilana has a raw comic energy, and she sells the most outlandish outfits, including a puppy hoodie paired with red markers on her midriff to look like she’s wearing a human hoodie, but this energy can have a negative effect on the people around her, especially her deskmate Nicole, who is the queen of the shifty reaction glance.

doghoodie

Awesome dance moves aside, the real highlight of “Game Over” is the extra shading given to Abbi’s character when she reveals an uber fierce competitive side in her first Soulstice Games as a trainer. (Before this, we get to see her in action teaching skeevy old men water aerobics.) As a more introverted artist (with an occasional crazy side), Abbi has struggled to fit in the fitness obsessive culture of Soulstice where completely naked trainers immediately fall to the floor when another trainer spills a bottle full of supplements. After this, Abbi is totally cool with Trey (played by Paul W. Downs) showing her the private changing room to avoid the steroid infused fitness trainer butts.

However, she’s a completely different person once the Soulstice Games start with her non-stop trash talk towards both the laconic, beleaguered referee and her fellow employees. Ilana has to take one of her many breaks from work to give her “wife” a neck massage and remind her about the vanilla bean scented candles at Yankee Candle to let her cool down. This slow, meditative moments only has an effect for so long as Abbi is back into the fray with Aniello using a little boxing movie influenced slow-mo to show her whacking a fellow trainer with a pugil stick after one punching her. But, instead of going the obvious route and getting Abbi demoted back to cleaner of pube hairs, her fellow trainers are kind of impressed by her competitive spirit and start to treat her like one of them. Trey even gives her some free advice about steroids as Downs continues to making him an amusing supporting character with his sunny, irony free delivery of lines about everything from locker decorations to public nudity.

Glazer, Jacobson, and Aniello do an excellent job of giving the seemingly opposite plots of a field day for adults and Ilana destroying her career prospects a shared through-line of taking things too far.  Some intense, outrageous comedy from Jacobson channeling a feral berserker rage through Abbi with a side of a status quo shift in Ilana’s employment makes “Game Over” a fun, important, and slightly embarrassing episode of Broad City. Glazer definitely has a knack for cringe comedy, especially when she tries to proposition Vanessa Williams’ character, and only then realizes her days at Deals Deals Deals are done.

Rating: 8.6