Tag Archives: Ilana Glazer

TV Review: Broad City S3E05 2016


Broad City airs at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.

In this week’s Broad CityIlana deals with the woes of being unemployed and does some creative things to get money, like being an overenthusiastic bike messenger, doing dance moves on the subway in rainbow colored, and finally an unpaid volunteer at Hilary Clinton . (She thinks it’s paid though.) In Abbi’s storyline, a hairdresser (Who is a sassy gay man. Stereotype, much?) tweaks her neck after she pays with a coupon from Ilana’s old job, Deals, Deals, Deals, which throws her dreams of the perfect DMV photo into disarray. Luckily, her chiropractor Dr. Heller (played with warmth by the legendary Alan Alda) is there to save the day. And there’s a cameo from Clinton herself  at the end that maybe goes on for a little too long, but fits the surreal tone of this episode.

Director Todd Biermann  and writer Chris Kelly go deep into the continuity well in “2016” bringing back references to Trey’s (Paul W. Downs) gay porn career as Ilana’s brother Eliot (played by Glazer’s real life brother Eliot Glazer) finds “enjoyment” in a couple of his videos while Ilana freaks out about working for Clinton. (And Abbi mentions “pegging” in front of the presidential candidate herself.) And, in more of a visual callback, Biermann makes the DMV that Abbi goes to in Queens a mix of a low budget zombie film set, refugee camp, and waiting for the last lifeboat on the Titanic. He makes a nice contrast in lighting between the usual DMV and the “appointment” DMV, which is gaudy, filled with chocolates, a masseuse, and an incredibly polite concierge played with bombastic surrealism by first time actor Andrew Ward. The addition of this room sequence plus the nice subversion of “old people suck at the Internet” trope with Dr. Heller keeps the DMV plot line from being the same old “DMV is hell” joke for half an episode.

And Alan Alda is brilliant in his short scene as Abbi’s chiropractor as he shows genuine care for her by helping to sell her art, asking about her sleep, and evening her bangs after the hatchet job of a haircut. Abbi’s reaction of “I love you” can definitely stand in for the audience’s reaction, and he joins Kelly Ripa, Amy Poehler, and Patricia Clarkson as famous folks, who have shone in Broad City. (He does get to make the slightest of jokes about Abbi’s butt, which is basically a character in the show by now.) Dr. Heller feels like family to Abbi and with the reveal of Abbi’s old pictures on her phone (including her gay high school boyfriend) and next week’s episode taking place in her hometown of Philadelphia, Jacobson could get a chance to flesh out the pre-Ilana version of herself.

And speaking of Ilana, Glazer is pure madcap in her outfits, line deliveries, and body movements throughout “2016” and truly sells her passion for Hillary Clinton. She even gets a rare quiet moment soothing her friend Linda, who owns a temp agency and is going through a midlife crisis while Ilana is going through a quarter life one.  Hooray for intergenerational empathy! Also, a bike messenger is kind of a perfect job for her as she rides around New York via a fastly paced tracking shot from Biermann shouting, “Ass, ass, ass.”  as random passerbyswith her bike helmet/wig combo and makes acrobatic envelope throws. (She’s definitely the best TV bike messenger since Tyres from Spaced., a show that also combined insane surrealism with the harsh reality of life and work as a twentysomething.) There’s no scene of her getting fired so hopefully we get to go on more rides with Ilana. And speaking of firing, Glazer’s almost deadpan tone as she shows Hillary Clinton’s campaign office to Abbi while literally cleaning out her desk is kind of amazing.

Clinton’s cameo could be a great sight gag or a fun surrealist gag (in keeping with “2016’s” tone) a la Madeline Albright showing up in a Season Six episode of Gilmore Girls with a pair of winks, a perfect pantsuit, and Abbi and Ilana’s hilarious reaction. But it kind of rolls on, and Kelly even tries to shoehorn her into the Broad City universe with her adding the inflatable red thing from Ilana’s old job to her campaign office. But what this sequence does get right is how almost any of us would react to one of our heroes appearing out of the blue, and Glazer and Jacobson’s reactions are super genuine and passionate with a side of the slow mo that Broad City directors usually employ when Abbi and Ilana are getting fired up about something.

With a scene stealing guest performance from Alan Alda and some tremendous energy from Glazer, “2016” is a successful dip into the surreal side of the Broad City universe even with the slight awkwardness of the end credits cameo tag featuring a Democratic candidate for president.

Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Broad City S3E04 “Rat Pack”


Broad City airs Wednesdays at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.

On this week’s Broad City, Ilana’s hustle game returns as she and her roommate Jaime (played with an extra shot of confidence by Arturo Castro) try to make up the $400 they paid an exterminator to take out a rat in their apartment. There’s a nice play on the boutique of tasty fruit, popcorn, and fancy gift baskets Harry and David with “Larry and David”, and this bountiful basket is the foundation of a house party with a $10 cover charge and a side of every piece of marijuana that Ilana owns in the house. And on Abbi’s side of things, she goes to her first Soulstice trainer party where she is the only one not wearing fitness attire, has one too many alcoholic kombuchas, kisses fellow trainer Trey, and then realizes she needs to meet more.

As it is with basically every episode of Broad City, the cold open is a showcase for some visual panache. This time, director Ryan McFaul goes the handheld camera route and shoots Ilana’s apartment from the rat’s point of view with frantic camera movement and a grainy filter before settling on the great shot of it (later her) munching on Ilana’s latest blunt as she finally wakes up and yells, “Weed thief!” This wild and wacky directing contrasts with the staid, straightforward tone of the exterminator asking for the money and keeping a straight face even as Jaime and Ilana imitate puppy dogs. But McFaul breaks out some style again in a trap music-infused montage of Ilana’s various weed stashes ranging from the inside of a bell pepper to a Russian nesting doll and finally her own curly hair that shows that Broad City can do silent visual comedy as well as it does verbal humor or slapstick.

The presence and possibility of filthy rodents popping up in “Rat Pack” a great nervous tension, but writer Jen Statsky decides to end their saga in a life affirming, drawing parallels with the show’s characters, and still pretty gross moment with the rat having little rat babies snuggled by Ilana. This tender, yet wildly hilarious moment is a callback to Ilana saying earlier that Lincoln, Jaime, and Abbi are her only friends. She might not have a big friend group, but loves the ones she has dearly and involves them in all matter of hijinks.

Unfortunately, Abbi joining Tinder felt a little underdeveloped, especially after the great sight gag earlier in the episode of her wearing a cute, stylish dress to a “work party”, which was a bunch of Soulstice trainers wearing black tanktops and making “that’s what she said” jokes like The Office was still airing. There is the relatable feeling of not being able to find people outside of work and close friends to make out with, but there is so much untapped satirical and comedic fodder left on the table with her dates being the typical old guy, Neo-Nazi, and guy who looks too much like his profile. Abbi not knowing how to swipe left is pretty great though.

On the positive side, this is the first episode since “Citizen Ship” that I enjoyed the character of Jaime as Statsky fills him out a little bit revealing that he only recently came out to his parents (who still live in Guatemala) a few months ago, who haven’t spoken to him since. However, a Larry and David basket with a literal olive branch really perks up his mood, and he exudes confidence by rearranging Ilana’s and his apartment while playing the perfect host to Lincoln’s (Hannibal Burress) Food Network personality in training, Spider-Man quoting head chef. He even gets some romantic sparks towards the end of the episode and gets to firmly, yet kindly point out to Ilana that her famous “Latina” earrings are cultural appropriation as the credits roll. It’s a solid guest performance, and he doesn’t steal the spotlight from Glazer’s frenzied hunt for the rat in the apartment while wearing a cat costume, randomly dancing, and offering opinions on the electronica artist Ratatat and Frank Sinatra and making sure the party doesn’t scatter.

An undercooked online dating subplot aside, “Rat Pack” showcases both Glazer and Ilana at her best: when she’s making money in creative ways even if she doesn’t go to quite the lengths that she did in Broad City‘s first episode where she cleaned a diaper wearing Fred Armisen’s apartment in her underwear to get Lil Wayne tickets.

Rating: 8.1

TV Review: Broad City S3E03 “Game Over”


Broad City airs at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.

In this week’s Broad City episode titled “Game Over”, writers (and stars) Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson turns their attention to a long running plot thread, which is how the hell has Ilana not lost her job at Deals Deals Deals. (A Groupon/LivingSocial knockoff.) It also follows Abbi’s first days as a trainer as she participates in the Soulstice Games and takes them way too seriously. Ilana  finally loses her job once an investor (played with a nice blend of professionalism and silliness from Vanessa Williams) has the bright idea to give her the company’s flagging Twitter once Ilana spills out a string of early 2000s Internet minutia and is simultaneously sexually attracted to and inspired by her pant suit outfit that she got on sale for 70% from TJ Maxx. (Add “Maxxinista” to a long list of Ilana nicknames.) Of course, this “promotion” goes terribly as Ilana’s lack of a filter doesn’t work well with a corporate Twitter account, and she has to leave the company. But her firing does give director Lucia Aniello a chance to pay homage to the closing song of Sister Act 2 in a cleverly choreographed dance number to “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” complete with colorful dissolve cuts and cameo from Whoopi Goldberg herself in character as Sister Clarence.

“Game Over” lets Ilana finally get some consequences for her horrible job performance at Deals Deals Deals while still being funny and not painting her former boss Derek (played meekly by Chris Gethard) and co-workers as one note villains. Even the man bun sporting “White Guy #7” and “Adult Braces” (formerly “Only Black Guy”) get a moment in the sun during the musical number that immediately starts once Ilana exits the building. Glazer’s performance as Ilana has a raw comic energy, and she sells the most outlandish outfits, including a puppy hoodie paired with red markers on her midriff to look like she’s wearing a human hoodie, but this energy can have a negative effect on the people around her, especially her deskmate Nicole, who is the queen of the shifty reaction glance.


Awesome dance moves aside, the real highlight of “Game Over” is the extra shading given to Abbi’s character when she reveals an uber fierce competitive side in her first Soulstice Games as a trainer. (Before this, we get to see her in action teaching skeevy old men water aerobics.) As a more introverted artist (with an occasional crazy side), Abbi has struggled to fit in the fitness obsessive culture of Soulstice where completely naked trainers immediately fall to the floor when another trainer spills a bottle full of supplements. After this, Abbi is totally cool with Trey (played by Paul W. Downs) showing her the private changing room to avoid the steroid infused fitness trainer butts.

However, she’s a completely different person once the Soulstice Games start with her non-stop trash talk towards both the laconic, beleaguered referee and her fellow employees. Ilana has to take one of her many breaks from work to give her “wife” a neck massage and remind her about the vanilla bean scented candles at Yankee Candle to let her cool down. This slow, meditative moments only has an effect for so long as Abbi is back into the fray with Aniello using a little boxing movie influenced slow-mo to show her whacking a fellow trainer with a pugil stick after one punching her. But, instead of going the obvious route and getting Abbi demoted back to cleaner of pube hairs, her fellow trainers are kind of impressed by her competitive spirit and start to treat her like one of them. Trey even gives her some free advice about steroids as Downs continues to making him an amusing supporting character with his sunny, irony free delivery of lines about everything from locker decorations to public nudity.

Glazer, Jacobson, and Aniello do an excellent job of giving the seemingly opposite plots of a field day for adults and Ilana destroying her career prospects a shared through-line of taking things too far.  Some intense, outrageous comedy from Jacobson channeling a feral berserker rage through Abbi with a side of a status quo shift in Ilana’s employment makes “Game Over” a fun, important, and slightly embarrassing episode of Broad City. Glazer definitely has a knack for cringe comedy, especially when she tries to proposition Vanessa Williams’ character, and only then realizes her days at Deals Deals Deals are done.

Rating: 8.6



TV Review: Broad City S3E02 Co-Op


Broad City airs at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.

In “Co-Op”, writers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs put a Broad City twist on a comedy trope as old as Plautus: mistaken identity. For an entire episode, Abbi is Ilana, and Ilana is Abbi. They swap identities because Ilana still wants to be able to use her Co-Op card to buy tasty produce, but hasn’t  It is a perfect opportunity for Abbi Jacobson to do an amazing caricature of Ilana Glazer’s perfomance as Ilana

However, Ilana doesn’t commit to the character at all spending most of the episode freaking out about going to her family doctor Angela (played by stand-up comic Judy Gold) in Long Island and completely geeking out about Lincoln (Hannibal Burress) having sex with another girl. Because poly relationships are completely normal, and Glazer demonstrates this through some uproarious physical comedy that in most sitcoms would be met with angry, melodramatic Grey’s Anatomy style relationship yelling. But this is Broad City, and it’s cool to be in a sexual relationship with multiple people as long as everyone consents. (As Lincoln reminds the rambunctious Ilana when she wants to “trick” his lady friend into having a threesome.) “Co-Op” is a great episode of TV to teach friends and family members about being poly, especially if they ask you if you’re Mormon. (Insert sighing noise.)

Like “Two Chainz”, “Co-Op” most striking visuals from director Ryan McFaul come in the cold open that starts as a commonplace conversation about butts and then swerves into a Muppet Babies version of the street harassment that Ilana and Abbi had to deal with earlier in the show at the basketball court. Abbi tells the rude, pre-pubesecent boys that the only time they’ll touch her boobs is when she’s dunking on them , and the streetball game begins. And this is when things get trippy with a level of slow-mo that would make the Wachowskis and Zack Snyder lose both lunch, breakfast, and their midnight snack to show off Abbi and Ilana’s “sick moves”, including Ilana kissing and twerking on the rim. Of course, they dominate because they’re playing little kids, and McFaul quickly cuts from NBA Jam level of epicness to stark reality with crying kids, who can’t handle TV-MA rated trash talk. Even though the cold open has nothing to with the episode’s plot, it’s an opportunity for McFaul to cut loose and for Jacobson and Glazer to show off their background in sketch comedy.

But it’s not like the other scenes in “Co-Op” are lacking in visual panache, like the extreme close-ups of Abbi as she tries to get into the role of Ilana in both her looks (crop top, pigtails, blingy earrings), speaking patterns (Lots of “yas” and “queen”), and facial expressions. She nails rehearsal, but the real thing is much more difficult with Abbi overplaying Ilana so much that her words are incomprehensible. (Jacobson’s delivery of “queen” as “quayn” to her fellow co-op worker is the funniest part of the episode.) Aniello and Downs even through a romantic wrench in Abbi’s path in the form of Phish fanatic and true believer in the co-op lifestyle, Craig, who is interested in this “Abbi” that “Ilana” keeps mentioning. (He also sports a man bun and can pull off tank tops.) And like a vegan homme fatale (Pardon my French), Craig causes Abbi to blow her cover and speak and act like herself while overselling the Ilana act way too much culminating in twerking.


Unfortunately, Craig and Abbi don’t work out due to Craig’s inability to compromise. He cares more about following the rules of the co-op ruled over by Lori (played by Academy Award winner Melissa Leo in time for Oscar Week), the super fertile and super vegan dictator of all natural and organic food in the five boroughs. Abbi cares more about sticking up for her best friend even if it means losing access to tasty food and relegated to “bodega veggies”. It serves to show you can have all the same interests as someone, but not be compatible as romantic partners or even friends. Human beings are deeper than their lists of top ten movies, albums, books, or comics, and successful relationships have this weird, spark of chemistry that goes beyond matching likes and dislikes. So, Abbi might be an enormous fan of Phish while Ilana doesn’t know a single lyrics, but they are incredible because they have shared experiences and just plain click. And the frank discussion of polysexuality along with Abbi rejecting Craig in favor of Ilana might hint and possible romantic developments in the future for the pair.

“Co-Op” proves the old adage that tropes aren’t bad and has Abbi Jacobson give an excellent performance as Abbi pretending to be Ilana while Ilana Glazer shows a new side of Ilana as she loses her usual cool and freaks out about going to the doctor. And along the way, there is a positive portrayal of polysexuality and some neat use of slow-mo, extreme close-ups, and enclosed spaces, like the Co-op and especially Lori’s office, from director Ryan McFaul.

Score: 9.3

TV Review: Broad City S3E01 Two Chainz


Broad City airs at 10 PM EST on Comedy Central.

In its season three premiere, Broad City continues to put the insane in the mundane while also making port a johns and truck hitches funny again  in one deftly executed edit. “Two Chainz” follows Ilana and Abbi as they look for a public restroom and get ready for a gallery show featuring Abbi’s old roommate Maxanne (Emily Meade), who looks like a rejected entry for one of Queen Amidala’s handmaidens. Writers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs show why Broad City is TV’s best hangout TV show while Abbi Jacobson brings the physical comedy and Ilana continues to making everything sexual even as the credits literally roll across the screen as Abbi and Ilana. (To avoid confusion, I’ll be referring to the actresses as Jacobson and Glazer and the characters as Abbi and Ilana. This is what happens when you name your main characters as yourself.) They make the plot and surrounding characters almost irrelevant, except for Hannibal Burress’ Lincoln, who continues to bring one-liners, warmth, and even a little spontaneity in this episode as his “graduation” has nothing do with his steady day job as a dentist.

Broad City’s comedy doesn’t just come from the dialogue and jokes written by Aniello and Downs; a lot of it comes from the set design, editing, and even costuming. The two minute cold open of Ilana and Abbi doing things in the bathroom (Whoa, that came out wrong.) is shot in a split screen style that reminded me of some of Edgar Wright’s work. It is packed with call-backs to the previous seasons, like Abbi with a Bed Bath and Beyond bag and Ilana falling asleep on the toilet after smoking weed, and all kinds of quick gags and character moments that warrants a rewatch. The scene also reintroduces us to Ilana’s amazing wardrobe choices opening with “Female Body Inspector” hinting at her bisexuality to the titular “chain” that is attached to her the entire episode and instant fodder for hilarity because she forgot the basic rule of “phones, key wallet”. Her “Perv” snapback is fantastic too. (Lincoln quips about her being an extra in a DMX music video.)

“Two Chainz” also has a pair of almost sketch-like parodies about the rabidness of shoppers during blowout sales and the art community in general. The first is fairly quick and non-verbal with cuts of various shoppers beating up each other at a 90% off warehouse sale, which Abbi braves to find a public bathroom and get an outfit for the gallery show. It is topped off by a wonderful line, “This is a pop up bitches” and a quick edit to a completely bare store reminding me of those random Halloween stores that sneak into strip malls every September, but more fashion forward. The art parody is more developed if a little predictable stab at the pretentious of the art scene. But the scene lands thanks to the vapid dialogue of Maxanne (“So surreal. So real. At the same time so surreal. At the same time so real.”) and the slapstick skills of Jacobson as she wipes off blue ink from Maxanne’s painting of a fingerprint that took two and a half years to complete while the gallery screams at her. This is also a nice punchline to the running gag of the security tag that Abbi has been trying to take off herself just like Ilana has been trying to take off her chain.

An interesting development in Broad City Season 3 is that Ilana is really amping up her romantic interest in Abbi. It’s all played for laughs for now (It kind of reminds me of the dynamic Spider-Man and Deadpool have in the Spider-Man/Deadpool comic, but Ilana and Abbi have an actual wacky, yet vibrant friendship.), but both Abbi and Ilana let things slip about their possibly less than platonic relationship. Abbi says that Ilana is her girlfriend at the pop up store, and Ilana proposes after Abbi rescues her from being hitched to a truck driven by a porno watching creep. Even if these comes to nothing, Aniello doesn’t shy away from showing Ilana’s bisexuality (and polysexuality) as she does sexy things with both Lincoln and various women in the opening sequence.


One reason I find Broad City so fun and refreshing is that unlike some other show on HBO by a supposed “auteur” showrunner, it’s not interested in making any sweeping statements about being in your twenties, the nature of art, or such navel gazing bullshit. It’s just about two friends trying to makes ends meet and have a good time in New York while having some excellent “stealth feminism” moments, like a stab at the lack of women’s restrooms in a major world city (Marvel Comics’ offices had this problem too.) or Abbi giving a cat-caller a piece of her mind. And “Two Chainz” is a triumphant return for the most fun friendship on TV with a side of hijinks.

Score: 9.1


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