TV Review: Broad City S4E7 Florida
In a solid, yet unspectacular episode of Broad City with the amazing stunt casting of Fran Drescher as Ilana’s Aunt Beverly, Abbi and Ilana travel with Ilana’s mom (Susi Essman) and brother Eliot (Eliot Glazer) to Florida to pack up and divide her grandmother Esther’s worldly possessions after her passing. “Florida” is also Ilana Glazer’s directorial debut, and her greatest contribution to this episode is using a handheld camera to slowly puff, puff, pan between each member of the Wexler extended family and smooth out all tensions, including Ilana’s aunt and mom fighting over a family heirloom or Eliot being on the phone.
“Florida” is also proof that Broad City isn’t afraid to get political two episodes in a row as Glazer and writer Jen Statsky spin a fish out of water tale of blue state millennials visiting a red state. After dealing with frizzy hair and community Abbi and Ilana become true suburban kweens and immediately fall in love with the low rents, green grass, and orange trees of Florida and are even okay with grannies toting assault rifles and “Make America Great Again” because the rent is so damn low. ($425 a month to rent a spacious condo halved between two roommates, please confirm this Floridians.) However, by the end of the episode and after some racist and homophobic slurs (The good, elderly folks at Darling Estates think Abbi and Ilana are a couple.), they realize that maybe the Florida life isn’t for them, and they’re better off braving the frozen pipes of New York that the hot, bigoted sun of the “dangling dick of America”.
I liked how throughout the whole episode that Statsky had Abbi and Ilana try to adapt to life in Florida and think old people are adorable with their tennis matches, white fish salads, and casual racism, but then realized how alien this world is to theirs. There is a golden bit of writing when Abbi and Ilana talk to two separate old ladies about having sex with JFK and realize that this wasn’t achievement for either of them, and he was a creep. They are old tennis rivals and a possible reflection of Abbi and Ilana when they grow up. The whole campaigning to be the newest, youngest residents of these condos is frankly hilarious if filled with the undertone of systemic racism as Abbi and Ilana realize that the only people of color at the condos are gardeners, nurses, and paramedics. It’s super awkward.
The B and C plots of “Florida” have great comedic potential, especially with the annoying nature of airline hold lines, Eliot Glazer’s willingness to rock old lady fashion, and the verbal sparring between Susi Essman and Fran Drescher. However, they kind of just sizzle out, and don’t get the nurturing of Abbi and Ilana running around the Florida suburbs with MTV style cuts to them rolling in Grandma Esther’s Cadillac. Drescher and Essman are super believable sisters, and the logic of their arguments are quite humorous with Beverly saying that Grandma Esther’s ring is the closest she’ll ever have to an engagement ring. But Glazer cuts away far too often to the suburban shenanigans as Drescher continues to make the argument for her getting an “auteur style” sitcom like Aziz Ansari’s Master of None or Donald Glover’s Atlanta. We definitely need more hilarious, middle aged women like her doing comedy TV. (Also, shout out to The Nanny for being one of the greatest Nick at Nite shows ever.)
Jen Statsky and Ilana Glazer mine the deep romantic subtext between Abbi and Ilana in “Florida” as they fleetingly consider living together in a world that hates and fears them. This episode is good for a few painful, fish out of water laughs, and Broad City hits the guest star jackpot again with Fran Drescher. But it’s greatest development is the possible reunion of Ilana and Lincoln (Hannibal Burress) with a gender reversal of the classic “big gesture” romantic comedy trope that is too adorable to spoil here.