TV Review: Broad City S3E07 B&B-NYC
Broad City airs at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.
On this week’s Broad City, writers Paul W Downs and Lucia Aniello introduce a couple drama bombs into an episode about sub-letting and sex with NBA players. (Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers spends more time sans clothes than with them on.) First, there is the loss of most of Abbi’s worldly possessions as her charming French boarder, Henri, isn’t what he seems and runs off with her stuff for seemingly no reason. In most stories, this would be the setup for a steamy Euro-romance, but Downs and Aniello just make it an instance of being robbed in New York City with the police assigned to Abbi’s robbery running off to apprehend “a black male pretending to read on a bench” in a darkly satirical takedown of systemic racism.
The second drama bomb happens in the slow fracturing of Abbi and Ilana’s relationship, but it’s played pretty slow and subtle until Abbi lies to Ilana’s face about being alone. This is because she decided to have sex with her co-worker Trey (played by Downs), who she calls to keep her company after the break-in. Downs and Jacobson have a kind of breezy, yet slightly awkward chemistry that stems from their mismatched interests. Trey is into fitness (He said he’d have his “cheat meal” at Remy’s restaurant in Ratatouille, the movie that he and Abbi watch.) beyond it just being his job while Abbi cares more about art. However, Trey is interested in Abbi’s art and even amuses her by pretending to be a cubist painting. But there is something off about their pairing, and this is possibly why Abbi lied to Ilana about having sex with them when they are usually super open about their sex lives. Hopefully, it will be expanded upon in later episodes.
However, this lie isn’t just an attempt to create drama for drama’s sake. Director Lucia Aniello hints at it throughout the episode as Abbi and Ilana (who are killing time until their tenants leave because they have nowhere to crash) overhear a loud, obnoxious pedestrian talking about a private party at the 40/40 Club (an upscale sports bar owned by Jay-Z), and in true Broad City fashion, find their way into this elite establishment complete with hair whipping waitresses. Aniello uses some swag-filled slow-mo to show how joyful Abbi and Ilana are to be drinking and dancing at such an amazing place, and Glazer and Jacobson pull some crazy faces and dance moves while definitely showing that they don’t belong. However, when they interact together, Abbi and Ilana aren’t on the same page and act the exact opposite of the cold open where they were video chatting while in the bathroom. For example, Abbi is too busy laughing at Henri’s “texts that could be sexts” to consider the offer of a three way with Ilana and Blake Griffin, and Ilana ends up putting her phone on “Do Not Disturb” and isn’t there for Abbi when her place is robbed. There could be trouble in paradise.
But along the way, there are a lot of laughs, especially during Blake Griffin and Ilana’s “sex scene”. It opens with Ilana freaking out about how well-endowed Griffin is and then realizing that traditional sex won’t do, and this leads to a semi-montage of different roleplaying scenarios, including drinking tea in chairs, yoga poses, piggyback rides, and Griffin swaddling Ilana like a baby. As well as being an uproarious example of physical comedy, it also shows that fun, sexual activities don’t always have to involve penetration. Downs and Aniello definitely deserve kudos for their creativity and end Griffin and Ilana’s time together with a stealthily feminist discussion about how Griffin thinks that WNBA players are secretly more talented than him, and that he steals move from them all the time. This line is pretty relevant with the whole situation of the more successful (They’ve advanced past the quarterfinals.) US women’s national soccer team getting paid far less than the men’s team.
“B&B-NYC” gets a little sad and serious with Ilana and Abbi’s relationship dynamic even though it features crazy sex with an NBA player, slow-mo dancing, Pixar movies, and Lincoln (Hannibal Burress) using one of Blake Griffin’s Jordans as a man-purse. It’s just a tiny lie, but it will be interesting to see what happens with Abbi, Trey, and Ilana going forward as Broad City embraces small, shifting character arcs (Abbi and Trey previously connected and kissed at a party in “Rat Pack”.) instead of standalone picaresque stories like in the last two seasons.