TV Review: Broad City S3E09 Getting There
Broad City airs at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.
In the penultimate episode of Broad City Season 3, the show has gone full fledged serialized, and there’s even a little “to be continued” tag instead of the usual jokes and outtakes as the credits roll. But before Abbi and Ilana go into the great unknown aka Israel with Jared (played by Seth Green) as their tour guide, they get one last intense, fun, wacky, and a little morbid New York misadventure beginning with free (meaning stinky) yoga and ending with them taking their New York street skills to the JFK Airport as no one will get in their path of a free trip to Israel.
After last episode, which zeroed in on Abbi and Ilana’s relationships with Trey and Lincoln respectively, writers Jacobson and Glazer wisely decide to focus on their friendship even though Jaime (Arturo Castro) gets a few scene stealing moments like helping Ilana pack super quickly while wearing no pants and getting ready for a nice masturbation session on the couch a la Abbi dancing naked to “The Edge of Glory” when she realizes Bevers (John Gemberling) has left the apartment. And director Todd Biermann relies on a lot of Broad City standard visuals, like quick cuts between Ilana and Abbi contrasting their behavior, a fast tracking shot as they sprint through the JFK Airport, and a percussion heavy soundtrack. The episode’s story and look might come off as “typical Broad City“, but he also switches things up a little with a longer take of Abbi and Ilana playing a game of “fuck, marry, eat” when there’s a subway stoppage for 30 minutes and burns rubber as a 15 year old son of a taxi driver finally takes Abbi and Ilana to the airport immediately running a stop sign.
As mentioned earlier, the “going somewhere” plot has been use a multitude of times in Broad City, but Jacobson and Glazer keep things clever and occasionally dark, like a great conversation about eating a super cute baby and what parts would be the best on it followed by a lingering shot of the baby’s mother staring into the distance. This probably isn’t the weirdest thing she’s heard today. The recurring reference to Abbi’s butt (Ilana greets her as “Ass” when they try to take the subway to the airport.) also pays off in the form of a plot beat as Ilana’s prayer to it leads to the train restarting. And her hustling ability pays off in a slightly disgusting, yet mega hilarious joke that is also a callback to the “Pussy Weed” episode as Ilana smuggles weed in her vagina (Or “nature’s pocket”.) by wearing period blood stained jeans and gets past security pretty easily. Glazer and Jacobson poke fun at the societal taboos that unfortunately exist around menstruation, and the joke goes beyond simple satire by adding the nervous tension of smuggling drugs past the ever watchful TSA. All the events in the airport are super fun to watch, especially once Abbi and Ilana use their bags to creatively navigate the terminals.
And the final payoff of the episode after Glazer and Jacobson wisely build suspense by not revealing too much about their final destination, and their destination is a ten day trip to Israel as part of a real life program called Birthright meant for Jewish youth 18 to 26 to learn more about Judaism by visiting what Jared calls the “holiest of lands”. (Birthright has come under a lot of heat for being anti-Palestinian, against the two state solution, focusing on Zionism at the expense of other forms of Judaism, or just being plain unhelpful.) The last few minutes show how Abbi and Ilana feel like outsiders among the other Birthright participants, especially their creepy leader Jared, who mentions their “reproductive potential” as soon as they enter the cabin. Glazer and Jacobson go for broad parody of Birthright in this sequence while also creating a sad, emotional moment of Ilana and Abbi separating.
“Getting There” is zippy progression from the familiar Broad City plot beats of Abbi and Ilana running around New York with the added obstacles of teenage taxi drivers and airport issues to the unfamiliar as they go on the Birthright trip. We’ll find out if it’s the fun trip they thought it would be in next week’s season finale.
Also, special thanks to Graphic Policy’s Elana for giving me some additional information about Birthright.