L’Shana Tova, chosen Broad Citizens!
One of my favorite things about Broad City is how casually it deals with its characters’ sexualities. I love that the person Ilana woke up next to in “Twaining Day” didn’t appear to be male, and I love that it didn’t matter one bit to the story or characters what gender they were. Ilana had a one-night stand, she seemed to enjoy herself, and that’s all that’s important. It’s great when TV shows and movies make a point of having their characters reckon with their sexual orientation through coming-out episodes and first experiences, but in 2017, it’s far more revolutionary for a show to present its characters as complex sexual beings without making that a defining trait. It’s just a fact, no more, no less. From this queer lady: Thank you, Broad City. And happy Bi Visibility Week!
Onto the episode! While working at her fancy new job at a fancy graphic-design firm as an assistant to Dara (Wanda Sykes), Abbi learns that her work is less about illustration and more about buying organic kitty litter. Abbi is saved from spending the rest of her afternoon getting cat moccasins resoled by an unexpected call: She accidentally had a package sent to her old place of work, Soulstice. Since the only other options are to have it destroyed or to go pick it up on North Brother Island (again), she has the delivery person leave it at Soulstice. Since Ilana can’t pick it up for her and she can’t tell Dara the truth, Abbi lies and says that her parents are getting divorced and that she needs to go to an emergency therapy session.
Meanwhile, Ilana wakes up after that one-night stand in someone else’s bed, steals some toiletries, and leaves a Post-it good-bye on their face. She then grabs a baked potato and eats half of it on her way to a job interview that Jaime hooked up for her. Naturally, he did it in the hopes of saving Ilana from being so broke she’d need to save half a baked potato for dinner.
Ilana gets to the restaurant, where haughty Marcel (played by Ru-FREAKING-Paul) is the maître d’. He tells Ilana that she isn’t mean enough to work in a Manhattan restaurant, which of course brings out the wonderful bitch that Ilana can be. Ilana curses Marcel out and gets the job.
Abbi arrives at Soulstice, where she sees Trey … whose new client is Shania Twain (played by Shania Twain; the Broad City casting department doesn’t mess around). Abbi freaks out — training Shania Twain has long been her go-to goal, and favorite lie — and calls Ilana, who doesn’t believe her. Abbi attempts to sneak a picture as proof. Trey sees Abbi and thinks she must be there for closure. He confesses to Abbi that he knows she didn’t really quit because she won Powerball. In fact, everyone knows. Putting the past behind them, Abbi begs Trey to let her help him train Shania Twain, and he reluctantly agrees.
Back at the restaurant, Ilana meets her fellow waitstaff, who all have the judgy, dead-eyed stare of people from whom you’d be afraid to order the wrong drink. One of them is Brenda (Sandra Bernhard — PROPS BROAD CITY CASTING). They all have nicknames, and soon, Marcel says, Ilana will have one too.
While Abbi helps Trey train Shania Twain (that’s a free vocal warm-up for all you theater kids out there), the three bond over a shared love of Friends that quickly turns into Abbi and Trey aggressively flirting with each other. They have trouble keeping their eyes off each other, which works just fine for Shania Twain, who hates working out. She calls then out on their aggressive sexual tension when a stretch turns into … um … a different kind of stretch. Embarrassed, Trey runs to the bathroom and Shania asks Abbi for details on their relationship, telling her, “When there’s a spark, you’ve gotta ride it.” She turns it into a love song as Abbi, encouraged by Shania’s song, goes to talk to Trey. They end up having sex in the locker room, bathroom, shower, and they’re attempting to have sex in the sauna when Trey breaks his dick.
The paramedics come for Trey, who tells Abbi the sex is good, but he knows that trying their relationship again wouldn’t be. After all, she’s meant to be an independent woman. She’s “single Abbi, and that’s cool.” Mike the cute paramedic, though — well, Abbi gets his number.
Ilana, meanwhile, is crushing it at her job of shaming people into buying expensive menu items. In the bathroom staring at the crumpled-up foil of her breakfast potato, Ilana has a crisis of conscience. She tries to quit but accidentally trips Brenda, which impresses Marcel and gets her a promotion to the hallowed Section Two. Ilana decides she can’t compromise her morals and starts complimenting customers as a way of up-selling them instead. It works like a charm, and Ilana goes home with $800 in tips.
Later, Abbi shows Ilana photos of herself training Shania, and she promises to be more honest in all of her relationships. Also, she’s dating Mike the paramedic.
One thing I love about “Twaining Day” is that it nails the fact that women in their 20s always seem to be trying to make incremental improvements on themselves. They may not completely change who they are — they may still sleep with an ex, or take a job they know might ultimately crush their soul — but they’ll so often be striving to be just slightly better tomorrow.
Abbi’s package, by the way? A year’s supply of Plan B for Abbi, Ilana, and any friends who may need it. Hell yeah, Abbi.
• “Man! I feel like a smoothie,” was such a silly joke and I loved it and I especially loved that Shania Twain was up for it.
• The guest stars in this episode were especially awesome, but there was not enough Sandra Bernhard!
• Marcel’s secret son is so great. I would absolutely watch that spinoff show.