Comedy Central’s feminist-stoner show Broad City got picked up for a third season just as the second one debuted on the network, cementing the series’ unexpected runaway success after being named by critics as one of the best new shows to come out in 2014. The show is based on a Web series developed by stars Illana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, who play two broke, lazy 20-somethings trying to get by living in New York City while doing as little work as possible.
The show has been praised for its portrayal of deeply flawed, unlikeable, slacker female characters, taking a satirical look at the millennial generation through Illana and Abbi. Illana is a pothead who works at a sales company and manages to not get fired despite her appalling behavior, which includes taking incredibly long breaks and stealing from her boss. Abbi is a janitor at a workout facility that offers spinning classes and dreams of someday leading a class herself, though for now she’s relegated to cleaning up after people.
While audiences are used to seeing that type of antihero in male characters on TV and in movies, women aren’t often allowed to misbehave in that manner. Broad City takes its Jewish women protagonists and makes them do all kinds of bad stuff and get into all kinds of trouble for it without apology.
“It has just been brought to my attention that Broad City is a female-centric show, but we’re going to do more anyway,” said Kent Alterman, Comedy Central’s president of content development and original programming, in a press release seen by Deadline. Despite Broad City’s feminist following, Comedy Central said the series has been its No. 1 show among men ages 18 to 34 in its 10:30 p.m. Wednesday time slot, and the top new comedy on cable among men in that demographic.
The show has been compared to HBO’s Girls but praised for having the guts to be even more bizarre and kooky with its slacker humor. “Abbi and Ilana are so feckless that they make Lena Dunham’s Hannah seem like Warren Buffett,” said The New York Times.
While the comparisons to Girls abound, Broad City has also been praised for making New York City look like the diverse place it is rather than a land full only of rich white people, something for which Girls has been criticized. The show’s all-inclusive attitude created by Jacobson and Glazer, as well as a young, diverse team of writers, has resulted in a show that, in the words of The A.V. Club, “doesn’t treat women or minorities like another goddamn species!” Showing women and minorities in this way has given Jacobson and Glazer a huge fan base among people who can identify with the characters, and a recent live comedy tour by the pair sold out across the country.
“I dreamed of a world on the screen that looked like the real one, populated with chill women who refer to everyone as ‘dude.’ Broad City is that world. May it run forever,” said Grantland.
The danger with a show like this so perfectly capturing the zeitgeist is that once the moment passes, it can become outdated quickly. The other issue the show could face with having unlikeable protagonists is that their horrible antics will eventually wear thin. Renewing Broad City for a third season so soon might seem like a bit of a risk on Comedy Central’s part, but given the show’s rabid fan base and the great reviews of the first episode of Season 2, including one from The A.V. Club, the risk will likely pay off.
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