Distilled to its bare bones, Broad City is a show about two young women trying to get from point A to point B without money, connections, or know-how. This is true of their personal lives, their work lives, and their literal journeys. Getting Abbi and Ilana from one place to another is almost the entire thrust of the show: It’s basically a serialized, gender-swapped version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
As of late, though, the show has inched into new territory. Last week’s terrific episode, “Burning Bridges,” drove a major wedge between Abbi and Ilana as both struggled through relationship issues. After their teary-eyed sidewalk reunion, “Getting There” can seem like a bit of an emotional letdown, even as it manages to put a fun spin on the show’s typical formula.
Abbi and Ilana are going on a mysterious trip somewhere, and they’ve packed accordingly. Or Abbi has, at least, thanks to a special suitcase recommended by Drew Barrymore. Ilana hasn’t done anything, so when Abbi calls to check in on her progress, she enlists Jaime to help her throw a bunch of random stuff into one of Lincoln’s old suitcases. Meanwhile, Bevers quizzes Abbi with a flurry of sweet, misguided questions about her now-defunct relationship with Trey, who has been switching shifts at Soulstice to avoid her.
Ilana runs to the train where she’s supposed to meet Abbi, jumping a turnstile and just barely escaping an MTA security guard’s clutches. Once on board, they’re barely out of the station before the train stops. Luckily, Abbi left them lots of time to get to the airport — until Ilana realizes that she forgot her passport. Now running late, they play a round of “Marry, Fuck, Eat” to pass the time, and both agree that babies would be the best options for eating. Eventually, while they’re fed up waiting for a body to be cleared from the subway tracks, Ilana makes a wish on Abbi’s butt. The train miraculously starts up again.
Worth noting at this point: We still have no idea where Abbi and Ilana are going. It’s safe to assume it’s another country — whey else would they need passports? — but “Getting There” leaves the rest of the trip a mystery.
The plan is to get off at the next stop, take an Uber to Ilana’s apartment, grab her passport, and then race to the airport. Of course, there are no Ubers to be had in residential Queens at surge hour. Abbi spots a cab in a nearby driveway and the girls knock on his door to see if they can get a ride. As the cabbie says, though, he “couldn’t be more off-duty.” Luckily, his 15-year-old son is also home, and he inexpertly drives Abbi and Ilana to the airport, slowing down along the way to let a rollerblading Jaime drop Ilana’s passport through the cab window.
Once at the airport, the teen cabbie asks the girls to prom. They turn him down — and Ilana takes the opportunity to educate him on polyamory — and then it’s a race through security to the gate. Ilana is hiding weed in nature’s pocket, which would normally be a serious travel no-go … except she wore jeans stained with old period blood. When a drug-sniffing dog comes her way, she cries, “This drug is sexually harassing me!” It’s a brilliant plan, and it works like a charm.
After Abbi’s suitcase is broken and nearly stolen, they’ve still got just enough time to make it on board their flight. The gate is changed last minute, so they rush to the opposite end of JFK — and sprint past Ilana’s creepy ex, Dale — where a bitchy flight attendant nearly bars them from the plane because Ilana threw a flip-flop at her. Luckily, all of the other flight attendants hate this woman, so the girls are allowed through the gate.
Once at the plane door, Abbi is forced to check her suitcase. (Even though it’s broken, it’s still Drew Barrymore-approved.) As they walk to their seats, they face the indignity of seeing a poodle in first class, ordering orange juice over champagne.
And then, it’s time for the great reveal: Abbi and Ilana are headed to Birthmark, a Birthright knockoff lead by Seth Green. (He’s got a ponytail!) I had been wondering about all the secrecy leading up to this reveal, and it totally pays off. Not only are they off on a free trip to Israel that’s little more than a supervised excuse to drink and have sex with other young Jews, they will also be forced to make new friends. For Abbi and Ilana, that’s a worst-case scenario.
They’re already off to a rough start, too. After discovering that their seats are separated, Ilana sits next to a guy who seems great but isn’t Abbi, and Abbi sits next to a guy who actually introduces himself by saying, “Enchanté.” As they grimace at each other and whisper, “I miss you,” the episode drops its final surprise: It’s a two-part story arc. With Broad City’s third season set to end next week, “Getting There” is further proof that Glazer and Jacobson are still experimenting, still trying to figure out what else this show might become.
I’ll admit: This episode isn’t world-changing. It isn’t even show-changing. It’s a funny 22 minutes of television, during which I was able to set aside everything else and just laugh, which is all any sitcom is meant to do. Of course, it was impossible to watch this episode without thinking of season one’s “Destination Wedding,” which is a better executed version of the same concept. And after an episode like “Burning Bridges,” it would’ve been nice to see the emotional fallout of Abbi and Ilana’s respective breakups. Still, “Getting There” sets the stage for what promises to be a hilarious season finale. It got Abbi and Ilana from point A to point B. Bring on the next destination.
- Another bird flew into Abbi’s mouth. Why do birds keep flying into Abbi’s mouth?
- The scene of Abbi and Ilana going to donation-based yoga is so real. How is there always room for more yoga mats?
- Ilana and Jaime still have that family of rats from “Rat Pack,” and even named the mother. Hi, Rat Bastard!
- “Looking at boobs is nature’s Xanax.”
- “What the fuck are fuck bracelets?” Wow, I guess those rubber bracelets are still a thing? Does local news still try to scare parents into believing that teens wear them to brag about sex? Guess so. As Ilana so eloquently puts it, “Kids are terrifying.”