Broad City graduates from web series to winning sitcom
01/22/14 12:54 PM
Premiering: Wednesday, Jan. 22nd at 9:30 p.m. (central) on Comedy Central
Starring: Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, John Gemberling, Hannibal Buress, Stephen Schneider, Paul W. Downs, Chris Gethard
Produced by: Amy Poehler, Dave Becky, Sam Saifer, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer
By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
A thin yet durable thread connects TV’s pioneering gal pals, Lucy and Ethel, with Comedy Central’s scheming, bumbling duo of Abbi and Ilana.
But while those two got laughs from runaway chocolates on a conveyor belt, these two do an hour’s worth of housework in their bras and panties for the voyeuristic pleasure of a creep (guest star Fred Armisen) who promises to pay each of them $100. It’s all in the service of raising money to buy tickets for a Lil’ Wayne concert. Times have changed.
The show is Broad City, which originated as a web series and now premieres on Wednesday, Jan. 22nd as a full-fledged half-hour comedy with a 10-episode order for Season One. Set in New York City, it has a far lower misery index than HBO’s Girls. But the two leads, played by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, are even more up against it in terms of making ends meet.
Abbi is a janitor at a fitness center, where her zen-headed boss (Paul W. Downs), takes a mystical approach toward cleaning clogged toilets and other messes. Ilana slacks her way through a desk job for a web site known as “deals!” Luckily for her, the bossman (Chris Gethard) is ineffectual and easily manipulated.
Both twentysomething women more or less live with men who sponge off of them. Abbi gets the sharpest end of this stick from an obese, bearded do-nothing named Bevers (John Gemberling). Ilana’s hanger-on is Lincoln (Hannibal Buress), who’s easier to take and occasionally even gets lucky.
The first two episodes are very amusing in spots, with Ilana’s hardly mannered mannerisms spiking the ball more often than Abbi’s comparative passivity. Still, she’s capable of flaring up at the useless Bevers in Episode 2, which is built around Abbi’s pilgrimage in pursuit of an undelivered package intended for a handsome apartment building neighbor (Stephen Schneider as Jeremy).
Amy Poehler is Broad City’s executive producer, but doesn’t make an on-camera appearance in the first two half-hours. But fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Rachel Dratch and Janeane Garofolo guest star in next week’s Episode 2. And there’s always Armisen, who seems to show up in just about everything (in addition to his main gig on IFC’s Portlandia).
Broad City really doesn’t need any name brand drop-ins, though. Its two featured newcomers skid along just fine, earning exceedingly small victories en route. Ilana doesn’t have time to mope and Abbi is just looking to cope. It’s a decent bet that many viewers will be left with smiley faces.
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