Comedy Central's 'Broad City' exposes the foul bachelorette

Comedy Central's new series "Broad City," based on the web series of the same name, shares a lot in common with its Wednesday night counterpart, the runaway hit "Workaholics." Both shows chronicle the overtly wacky exploits of irreverent, childlike adults who get by with a little help from their friends. Both shows plucked the talent from relative obscurity.

Most importantly, what "Workaholics" and "Broad City" have most in common is that both shows are gut-bustingly hysterical.

Created by and starring "Upright Citizens Brigade" alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as fictionalized versions of themselves, "Broad City" treads the familiar territory of what it's like to be a single woman in New York City. What differentiates "Broad City" from its contemporaries like "Sex and the City" is its commitment to reality. The posh magazine jobs and and roomy apartments of television's hackneyed past are replaced by entry-level janitorial work and bounced checks. While the Abbis and Ilanas of the past would go to art gallery openings, now they binge "Damages" on Netflix.

 

Watching Abbi and Ilana do morally questionable and highly impractical things can often be frustrating, like when they share each other's company on Skype mid-coitus or clean a man's apartment in nothing but their underwear in order to make some quick cash.

The ick-factor of "Broad City" would sink a lesser show, just as it did with the second season of "Girls." However, Jacobson and Glazer use it to their advantage by allowing their chemistry and the show's refreshing lack of cynicism to spin its fouler sensibilities into something rather charming.

The two leads are the embodiment of the personality type best articulated by the internet meme known as the foul bachelorette frog. In just the pilot alone, we see them do several things that are entirely unladylike, but it's exactly these kinds of things that women can relate to.

Abbi and Ilana's characters are not "likable" in the traditional sense of the word; their allure comes from the giddy tone and frantic editing that implicate the viewer in their misadventures. "Broad City" is the kind of show that comes to mind when people wonder if their life was a television show. Even the most boring activities in one's day seem funny and sharp when in the presence of friends. In one word, it is a very friendly show.

The pilot episode features an excellent cameo from "Portlandia" star Fred Armisen as well as brief supporting roles by comedians Hannibal Buress and Chris Gethard, who would easily steal their scenes if not for being matched by the show's bubbly leads.

The irreverence of "Broad City" may place it in the pantheon of hilarious Comedy Central shows like "Stella" that left the schedule too soon, but as long as its hopefulness and charm continue to shine through, it might stay on the air for a long time.

"Broad City" airs on Wednesday nights at 10:30 pm on Comedy Central. Reach the reporter at Zachary.Heltzel@asu.edu