Did we just watch ten of the most perfect episodes of television to air this year?
I don’t even know why I’m asking you when the answer is clearly and emphatically yes. It’s 2014 and we’re still watching women spin around on a lazy Susan in front of dull-eyed, sharp-toothed white male executives; that Broad City is on the air is a fucking miracle, but for it to dominate so completely is a gift from the heavens. (We know you don’t believe in God, Ricky Gervais! No one cares! You’re just too rich for anyone to say it to your face.) Regardless of your affiliation, let’s give praise for a season finale that cold-opens with a joke about visible dicks in basketball shorts and just gets better from there.
This episode puts Abbi and Ilana front and center. It’s just two friends going out for a birthday dinner at a fancy restaurant, trying to figure out who’s the Jay Z and who’s the Beyoncé of the relationship, Abbi decked out in her blue dress and Ilana dressed like a ‘90s fly girl from In Living Color (this is not a diss — it actually works for her). If she’s following Oprah’s edict and your birthday dictates the kind of year you’re going to have, Abbi’s year is going to involve blood, accidental stabbings, hospitals, and condoms falling out of nature’s pocket at impromptu moments.
The condom bit is brilliant. Abbi is trying so hard to manifest the start of a high-end year for herself that peeing out a condom at this upscale restaurant is all she needs to derail her entire night, and possibly her entire year. After backtracking to Doug, whom she had sex with the night before, and his confirmation between cleaning multiple pairs of the same type of glasses that they didn’t use a condom, she realizes that it was the condom she used with Boring Ben four nights earlier. At first Ilana is only upset that Abbi didn’t use a condom with Doug, but in the end she errs on the side of “So what, you’re a nasty bitch, who cares? Let’s go get high.” Oh, you don’t think a condom can get lost inside a vah-hee-na for a few days? I once thought I had forgotten I had a tampon in and had sex; after stressing about it for a few days (DAYS), I went to the gynecologist. She said, “You know, you might not feel a condom come off, but your vaginal canal is only the length of a finger, you would have felt a tampon,” and I was like, Bitch, don’t try to tell me about my vaginal canal right now, just pop on a headlamp and make sure I’m not dying of toxic shock syndrome! There was nothing in there; the force of my boyfriend’s wang didn’t jam it further into my body like I thought, so it wasn’t floating around like the little spaceship in Innerspace and threatening to block my heart the way I imagined. Things get stuck, owning a vagina is tough, and I don’t know anything about the human body is what I’m saying.
Abbi has been slowly gaining confidence all season, so the surprise condom is a little alarming at a moment when she’s stuck between who she is and who she wants to be. Ilana is exactly the friend she needs at times like this; caring enough to want her to use protection, but not an alarmist about something that could be potentially embarrassing if divulged to someone more prudish. In fact, when Abbi is surprised that this has never happened to Ilana, Ilana reaches across, pats her hand, and says, “Well, not yet.”
After they get high with one of the busboys and discuss their childhood crushes on cartoon characters, Ilana’s face starts to explode — she’s allergic to shellfish, but purposely failed to mention that to the server or Abbi when they sat down for the prix-fixe seafood dinner Abbi’s dad paid for, saying, “I know my body; I go up to the edge and scale it back.” Ilana’s great plan is to just have Abbi jab her with an EpiPen when her throat starts to close up, but the seafood turducken — a clam inside a lobster inside a bigger clam — is the last straw for Abbi, who rips the food right out of Ilana’s fists and, missing the mark gloriously, stabs herself in the leg with the EpiPen. Ilana collapses to the ground as Abbi, full of adrenaline, jumps on the table, shouts “Twenty-six! Twenty-six!” and crushes a glass in her hand.
What happens next is a triumphant slow-motion wonder scene of epic proportions. Their even-tempered-while-working server stops fighting with his chef girlfriend (a great cameo by producer Amy Poehler) long enough to call 911 and Abbi scoops Ilana up in her arms, growling and grunting as she carries her through the restaurant, using Ilana’s head to knock over glasses of wine on tables and drag her hair through meal after meal. Not since the movie Alive has “Ave Maria” been deployed so usefully, Ilana’s foot caught in a curtain pull but still holding on to the molten-lava cakes she ordered to go as she was halfway to the ground. I laughed, I cried, I immediately wanted to see it two more times.
They’re curled up in a hospital bed eating cake while a man flatlines beside them when Ilana has the idea that they should revise their bucket lists. Amidst some of their grander plans — do heroin under the aurora borealis, go to a pug farm, be able to squirt — they realize that they can cross off “be held in Abbi’s arms.” On the way out of the hospital, they realize that Abbi’s year is off to a pretty good start. When they launch into a game of “who is the grossest person you would have sex with?” and Abbi pulls out O.J. Simpson, Ilana is impressed with her prowess even though she’s never played before, and they walk of into the sunrise talking about the Six Flags guy, newly at the top of Ilana’s list.
If my dreams came true, this show would be the flapping butterfly wing that eventually results in wave after wave of smart, funny TV shows about women and the shit we go through to get by. Like Amy Poehler before them, Abbi and Ilana will produce, write, and direct to their heart’s content, promoting generations of the women they’ve inspired until they can retire on a island built of money in the middle of the ocean, with visible dicks in basketball shorts as far as the eye can see. I mean, what do you think Margaret Atwood has been trying to get at all these years?
I’ll see you in 2015!
Favorite Lines and Moments
- “Nose, vagina, butthole — if God DIDN’T want you to stick our fingers in there, then why did she make them perfectly finger-sized?”
- “He’s tall and bilingual; I’m short and can’t speak English good.”
- “It’s 2014 — anal is on the menu.”
- “Like a lady, I keep my eyes closed when I make love!”
- “Mario, we know you’re high, we can see you standing there!”
- “I feel like he only has sex on top of baby grands.”
- “I know my limit.”
“You’ve reached your limit — your face looks like the underbelly of a tugboat right now.”
- “Part of me feels like Jay Z, but then I know that you would want to be a dude.”