TV Review: Broad City S308 Burning Bridges
Over the past 28 episodes (and a webseries), we’ve had the chance to hang out with Abbi and Ilana through their misadventures, awkward moments, and epic journeys. “Burning Bridges” uses this built up good will and characterization and just lets the emotions come out. Because this is a turning point for Broad City as a show and Ilana and Abbi as characters, it fitting that Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson are on writing duties on an episode that shifts the status quo. Abbi and Trey’s (Paul W Downs) one month sex friends thing ends, and the longer, more emotionally resonant relationship between Ilana and Winston (Hannibal Burress) is also over. And it’s not like they’re friends or anything because their former open relationship complicates. I hope that Winston makes a cameo or two as the series continues because Burress’ matter of fact, deadpan delivery is great, and he has a great callback gag in this episode as he is still lugging around Blake Griffin’s basketball shoe as man purse.
But first, the funny stuff. Director Lucia Aniello leads off with a split screen cold open, but switches things up by using a 360 camera effect that you may have seen in those annoying ads on Facebook. The open itself is a simple, yet funny as Ilana has to take a drug test at work and using Abbi’s urine even though she smokes a lot of weed as well. It’s also connected to this episode’s conclusion with the shared drug as companionship motif because they might lie to each other and have relationship struggles, but at the end of the day, they’re still just two friends smoking weed in the bathtub Wait this paragraph was only going to talk about funny things in Broad City, but the feels keep creeping up, which is basically the experience of watching “Burning Bridges”.
For example, the tense, painful for anyone who has tried being in an open or polysexual relationship conversation between Ilana and Winston is preceded by a sunny tracking shot montage of Ilana blithely going through her day. It seems like yet another manic Mon, er, Ilana day, but it gets a little darker when Abbi takes a chair from a guy, who was using it to From his actions on the show and general demeanor, Lincoln is really a kind human being and is trying to let down Ilana as easily as possible. He is straightforward and self-aware about their relationship and wisely doesn’t play the “just friends” card because they’ve really only been sex buddies or talking about sex with other people buddies this season.
But this doesn’t mean Ilana doesn’t feel hurt. And there is a searing pain in her eyes the whole the rest of the episode that she tries to cure with cat-calling random men and women while she’s sitting on a bench with her parents, making out with a married man she falsely assumes is in an open relationship and ends up being a jerk, and just plain walking out when she sees Abbi with Trey. She is currently at a very low point in both her life and career, but Glazer and Jacobson show shades of her old self as she makes dick jokes while smoking weed as the credits wrap. That’s one coping mechanism for heartbreak.
The centerpiece of the episode is a dinner scene as Ilana is celebrating her parents’ anniversary with her brother Eliot (Eliot Glazer) while Abbi is going on her first actual date with Trey. It’s a series of tried and true comedic misunderstandings that culminates in an epic parkour sequence as Trey does the Heimlich on Mrs. Wexel (Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Susi Essman) and finally realize the reason why Abbi has been making worse and worst excuses to leave the table as the night has gone on. (Jacobson’s best work comes when there’s a little truth to the lie like telling Trey, “I’m emotional tonight.”) The fallout of the show is what blows the episode apart as Trey walks in on Abbi telling Ilana that he thinks he’s a “joke” while trying to reunite with him. This is bound to make things awkward because he is her boss at Soulstice. There could be another job search episode in her future.
“Burning Bridges” is a huge and potentially risky move for Broad City as Glazer, Jacobson, and Aniello play with some loose serialization by turning Trey and Abbi’s relationship into a kind of three act comedy of errors with a drunk “komboozecha” filled kiss, a Pixar move induced one night stand, and finally an attempt at a real date that fails miserably. Ilana’s storylines have been looser this season with everything from mishaps at a food co-op to volunteering for the Hilary Clinton campaign, but her breakup with Winston is definitely a huge fixed point in her arc and an opportunity to show both her dramatic and comedic range as a performer. And it’s super sad too unless you ship Abbi and Ilana. (This reviewer might…)
Overall Rating: 9.0