Broad City Recap: Mrs. Starbucks

Broad City

Rat Pack
Season 3 Episode 4
Editor’s Rating *****
Arturo Castro as Jaime, Ilana Glazer as Ilana. Photo: Comedy Central

Party episodes are a tricky beast. Aside from the actual logistics of shooting the party scenes, the flurry of people and lights and noise can make it easy for an actual story to get lost in the shuffle. “Rat Pack” manages not only to juggle all of its stories, but also creates a fairly realistic mid-twenties-in-Brooklyn party vibe. That’s an impressive feat, to say nothing of the episode’s fun, well-written gags that gleefully subvert what we’ve come to know about Broad City.

Ilana and Jaime have a problem: A rat won’t leave their apartment. It’s been eating their clothes, stealing their weed, and interrupting Lincoln’s sandwich time, so Ilana and Jaime bite the bullet and call an exterminator (Eugene Mirman!) who charges them a whopping $400 to catch the critter. It’s a lot for the broke roommates to fork over, but after they receive a gourmet gift basket that Jaime assumes is an olive branch — literally, it’s the kind of fancy-food basket that comes with more olive-based products than you knew existed — Ilana sees a way to recoup their losses. She calls Abbi to fill her in: They’re going to throw a party with fancy appetizers, and they’re going to charge ten bucks a head for entry.

Abbi, though, is drunk on Kombucha at a Soulstice party, where she and Trey are getting a little cozy. I’d sort of wondered if an Abbi/Trey romance was in the works in “Game Over,” and I got my answer in “Rat Pack” — they kiss, but are saved by the bell of Ilana’s call. After Trey falls off his exercise ball and gives himself a nosebleed, Abbi leaves as fast as she can.

While preparing for the party, Lincoln musters his courage and asks Ilana if he can be her head chef. I love how much Broad City seems to delight in getting our hopes up — or making us worry? — that Lincoln and Ilana will be forced to define the relationship. Abbi enters and announces, in that way drunk people sometimes do, that she needs to make out with someone tonight and has downloaded Tinder. She excitedly swipes, announcing that she’s “rich in men.” Also, Elliot shows up for a minute and immediately leaves. Who can blame him? Tiny apartment parties are hot and sticky and kinda gross.

During the party, Ilana is horrified to notice that the rat is back, and she tasks Lincoln to distract the guests with food. Meanwhile, one of Abbi’s Tinder dates shows up, but he doesn’t look anything like his picture. Trey texts Abbi and she immediately gets defensive — you know, the way you do when you really like someone — but Ilana is too distracted to help. She’s still trying to prevent everyone from noticing the rat and demanding their money back.

Ilana changes into tap shoes to both distract the guests and scare away the rat while Abbi entertains a stream of guys from Tinder, none of whom are as cute as they look in their photos. (Except, of course, for one who is a neo-Nazi.) It turns out that Abbi didn’t even realize swiping left was an option; she just figured you had to meet up with everyone. Increasingly, Abbi’s decisions call into question her role as “the rational one,” and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s always fun to watch the ways in which Broad City renders her just as strange and impractical as Ilana.

Ilana leaves the party to steal a bodega cat — viewers outside of New York City may not be familiar with the bodega-cat phenomenon, although I’m curious to learn whether it’s a universally known thing at this point — which she wants to use to hunt the rat. Unfortunately, the cat is rendered so distracted and lazy by the stoned partygoers’ petting that he’s totally useless for Ilana’s purposes.

A delivery man shows up at the door, asking if a fancy gift basket showed up there that morning. Unfortunately, the basket wasn’t for Jaime, and now this guy has to make sure it gets to its proper destination or he’ll lose his job. He also happens to be very cute, so Abbi distracts him with a bedroom make-out while Ilana and Lincoln scramble to put the gift basket back together, using cheese doodles and marbles as filler for the more expensive fare that they’ve already handed out.

The gift basket now has something extra: the rat itself, which Ilana and Lincoln accidentally wrapped up inside. As Ilana goes to stab it, she realizes that it’s a girl rat who was just looking for a place to have her babies. Ilana recognizes a kindred spirit — a single girl looking for her place in the world — and quite literally embraces the rat and her babies.

Incidentally, baby rats are absolutely horrifying and Ilana Glazer deserves an Emmy for holding them as long as she did.

Over the course of the party, Jaime also flirts with a cute guy whose only drawback is a creepy moustache, which Jaime thinks makes him look like a pedophile. The cute guy shaves it and Jaime asks him out. “Rat Pack” ends with Jaime popping Ilana’s bacne — I know, I know — and calling out her casual cultural appropriation, like how she refers to herself as Latina.

On the whole, “Rat Pack” is a fun and breezy ride, and it’s nice to see Horndog Abbi in conflict with Trying to Be Responsible Ilana for a change.

Other Notes:

  • Ilana’s vinyl yellow skirt may be my favorite of her outfits so far this season, even though it faces some pretty stiff competition. Broad City’s costume department should open a store, Patricia Field–style.
  • The “I shit/I bike/I tweet” song has already returned! This time it’s “I rich,” and it’s worth noting that Ilana has a really nice voice.
  • If Lincoln opened a food truck, he’d call it Lincoln’s Center.
  • Abbi thinking a young Denzel Washington is going to show up for her Tinder date is the most optimistic Abbi move in Broad City history.

Broad City Recap: Mrs. Starbucks