Review: Broad City S5E6 Lost and Found and S5E7 Shenanigans
Episode 6 “Lost and Found”
“Lost and Found” is definitely the cutest episode of Broad City this season as Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs tell the story of Abbi and Ilana spiriting Ilana’s 16th cousin and Holocaust survivor, Saul Borowitz (The Sopranos’ Jerry Adler) out of his nursing home and to a drag brunch and Ikea. And, of course, he gets lost along the way, and they make pit stops at a Jewish grocery store, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a sale at the department store. It’s a lot of fun, and Sasha Velour and Alan Cumming show up. But, along the way, Abbi and Ilana get to explore their Jewish identity and through the metaphor of a nice, yellow hat deal with the growing rift in their relationship because Abbi is dating a woman aka the attractive nurse from last episode, Lesley (Clea Duvall).
Director Aniello does a nice walk and talk scene that is punctuated by the ever present yellow hat where Ilana projects her freaking out a little bit about Abbi having a “girlfriend” onto the hat. The sequence showcases Aniello’s ability to easily switch tones in scenes because the previous was ultra hella cute Abbi and Lesley snuggling and talking about snoring and deviated septums. It also is a big breaking point in their friendship because in past episodes (And even back to the webseries.), Abbi vowed to Ilana that if she ever had a sexual or romantic relationship with a woman, it would be with her.
As in previous episodes of Broad City that have dealt with everything from pegging to poly relationships and Abbi’s nascent, there’s a nuance to the show’s portrayal of queerness. And Aniello and Downs continue this tradition in “Lost and Found” with Ilana’s very mixed feelings about Abbi having a girlfriend. Sometimes, you have a relationship that goes beyond friendship, and it can be painful when a new romance gets in the way. No one’s in the wrong; it just happens, and Glazer and Jacobson show this with their performances. They’re presumably having a good time breaking out 90-something year olds out of assisted living and fangirling all over Alan Cumming, but there’s a sadness underneath the fun and games.
But “Lost and Found” is still a very fun episode because intergenerational hijinks are always good for a laugh. Aniello and Downs also do a “never forget” Holocaust story without making it an overserious narrative. They parody the awkward moment after you really think about the loss of lives in the Holocaust after a film or museum visit when Abbi and Ilana take a pit stop at the Holocaust Museum as they look for the sweet, hilarious Saul. Adler definitely seemed to be enjoying himself in the role, and he’ll go down as one of the all time great Broad City guest stars for his dance moves and affinity for adventures. He even causes some waterworks when he talks about that he loves Ikea because Sweden was where he lived immediately after escaping from a concentration camp. And who doesn’t love those meatballs?
“Lost and Found” has it all from Ilana trying to turn her Jewish heritage and history of mental illness into a grad school entrance essay to Abbi and Lesley being adorable in the honey moon phase of their relationship and the sheer existence of Saul Borowitz. In between the funny moments and guest stars, Lucia Aniello and Paul W Downs begin a slow burn dissolution of Abbi and Ilana’s friendship that has a new level of urgency because it’s the final season.
Overall Verdict: 9.0
Episode 7: “Shenanigans”
Writer Gabe Liedman and director Paul W. Downs use “Shenanigans” as a vehicle to air out some of the things that people have said about not wanting to be friends with Ilana and Abbi in real life because they are living embodiments of Murphy’s Law. The episode title comes from Abbi’s short lived girlfriend Lesley (Clea Duvall) saying how they’re incompatible because she’s an adult with a job as a doctor and meaningful hobbies while Abbi gets into “shenanigans”. And Abbi doesn’t even have the excuse of being in her twenties either. Even though she does silly voices and ends up hanging by her walking boot backstage behind a performance of a play about Anne Frank, Jacobson gets to play Abbi dramatically as she gets in heated arguments with Lesley and channels her passion for art that has been seeded throughout Broad City’s run and has gotten added emphasis this season.
On the other hand, Ilana gets to just have shenanigans because she was accepted into Hunter College’s Masters in Psychology program and deserves a reward. In the middle of an argument with a salon employee about a student discount, she is discovered by the salon owner (A fabulous Nathan Lee Graham.) and gets to be a hair model because of her “plump but light” curls.
This leads to her definitely acting like she’s pumped on swag until Downs hits a great comedic beat when what Liedman describes as “AC pre-cum” and “ninja turtle juice” hits her in the eye, and we’re off to the Ilana is a bad situation races complete with guest appearances from Janeane Garofolo, a veterinarian who treats one human and a pedi-cab realtor played by Amy Sedaris. Both Garofolo and Sedaris appeared on previous episodes on the show, and they’re along for the (sometimes literal) ride as Ilana desperately tries to salvage her modeling career that ends up going to her amazing mom (Susie Essman). Bobbi Wexler was due a win especially with her son leaving New York City.
And the season five theme of leaving New York City for pastures with cheaper housing that began with Jaime moving in with his boyfriend in Jersey, and Lincoln starting a dental practice in Maryland, continues with Eliot. He hasn’t appeared much in this season, and Gabe Liedman uses his leaving as a parallel to Abbi, who is considering her own departure and looking at art fellowships alone on her laptop after Lesley dumped her yet again. Broad City is all about Abbi and Ilana’s friendship, and the deity tier chemistry between Jacobson and Glazer plus their anarchic comedic chops are what make this show great. But, hey, character development is great too, and Abbi leaving New York to pursue an art fellowship in Colorado would be a great cap to her arc although it would leave Ilana devastated.
But no lasting damage has been done yet, and “Shenanigans” closes out with Abbi and Ilana goofing off on the couch making fun of the sayings that the hair photographers said to Ilana’ mom earlier that day. The growing divide in their relationship is swept under the proverbial, comedic rug as Gabe Liedman and Paul W. Downs continue this season of Broad City’s theme of hiding bad feels under jokes, pranks, silly oufits, and yes shenanigans.
Overall Verdict: 8.3