We are finally entering an era of film and television where women are becoming the center of attention. I’m not talking about the “damsel in distress” kind of way, but the “I’m a bad ass bitch who’s going to take over the world” kind of way. The wait is over, and it’s about damn time we start talking more about the brilliance that is Broad City.
For those who don’t know, Broad City was conceptualized by two women who met through their time in New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade. Upon realizing their common interests and similar sense of humor, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer went on to develop the show as a web series on YouTube in February 2010. After three years of online shorts, the show caught the eye of now executive producer Amy Poehler. With the help of Amy, Broad City premiered on Comedy Central at the end of January 2014 and has been on the network ever since. The series just wrapped its third season last week, and was renewed for a fourth and fifth season in January 2016 (YAS QUEEN!).
The appeal of this show spans all audiences from avid stoners to raunchy comedy enthusiasts to everyday appreciators of quality screenwriting, but the most important aspect of this series is the unique perspective it brings to the modern feminist movement.
Broad City isn’t pushy. It’s definitely in your face, but it’s not indoctrinating or crass. This series shows what feminism looks like on a day-to-day basis. The themes of the show are realistic and concrete, but present themselves in such a way that isn’t imposing. Broad City says, “go ahead, be a feminist, but don’t feel like you need to shout your pride from the rooftops if that’s not your thing.” The show gives its audience permission to be imperfect.
These are real women on TV—not idealized concepts of who women should be. We see the women having real conversations and genuine reactions to situations that happen to everyone. The only difference between Abbi & Ilana and the rest of us is that they aren’t afraid to talk about it. Over the course of three seasons, the two women normalize issues in our society that are typically swept under the rug. Whether it’s body shaming, recreational drug use, or female pleasure, no topic goes uncensored.
Abbi and Ilana are helping modern women carve out a new kind of feminism—that which is unapologetic, but presents itself as a normalized concept that doesn’t require preaching. Broad City provides us with a platform to think about why we shouldn’t be so critical of our bodies and of ourselves while also giving us a new perspective on what it means to be an empowered twenty-something.