Last night our favorite witches Abbi and Ilana graced our screens once more, with even heavier laughs and heart than ever before. Done in an incredibly creative and hilarious way, nearly the entire episode takes place on Ilana’s Instagram story. We’ve seen out-of-the-box episodes like this before that are done through a playful lens such as the episode that is almost fully animated after Ilana and Abbi pop some good ol’ mushrooms for the day.
With Ilana using her Instagram live as a platform to unveil the episode, it makes us viewers feel as though we are longtime friends with these girls, almost as if we are interacting with them throughout their New York adventure. With that in mind, ‘Broad City’ manages to develop a personal relationship with its viewers in a way that few shows have ever done (with such masterful success) before.
In last night’s episode, “Stories”, Abbi turns 30, which is even more of a pivotal moment to the show than we might immediately realize. One of Broad City’s biggest themes is the confusion and severe lack of glamorization that you experience in your 20s. The newfound independence of your 20s, the lack of responsibility along with the undeniable #fomo that is arguably most vibrant in this decade our lives, is emphasized like an oversaturated filter throughout the series.
Life in your 20s is as underscored in ‘Broad City’ as the 1970s are to ‘That 70s show’. In the finale of ‘That 70s Show’, the final scene is a New Year’s Eve countdown to the year 1980. Once the final number is called out in the countdown, it is no longer the 70s so, therefore, it is no longer possible for ‘That 70s Show’ to exist. This feels quite similar to ‘Broad City’ where if the characters are no longer in their care-free 20s, the show will cease to be able to exist. Can you imagine Abbi and Ilana in their mid-30s up to their usual antics with children and families? It would be a totally different show.
This is not to say that once you turn 30, you can’t experience the same care-free #fomo life that you had in your 20s. Yet in last night’s episode, Abbi can’t help but feel as though she is doing it all wrong- that she should be married by this point with a family and children. At least that’s how she has always pictured her life at that age. We see Ilana and Lincoln all coupled up and happy together. We see Jaime and his new boyfriend snuggled and secure with each other. Then we get a shot of Abbi, alone, kissing a bagel.
It seems as though she is using humor to mask her pain because later we catch her in the bathroom crying. A noticeable tonal shift from what we usually get on the comedy central series, one that leaves us emotionally confused.
It’s clear here that Abbi feels as though she’s entering her 30s as a failure because her younger friends are in serious relationships, while Abbi seems to be in the same place that she was in at the age of 25 when the series started. This is undeniably heartbreaking to witness, especially on a show that so seldom goes to that dark vulnerable place- but when it does, it really does and our hearts can’t help but shatter into a million little pieces.
Speaking of things being shattered into a million little pieces, later on in the episode Abbi and Ilana witness a beautiful rainbow that seems almost too good to be true. They desperately want to take a video of the rainbow to put on their Instagram stories as proof that they actually saw it, but Ilana’s iPhone has been broken into a million little pieces so she can’t post the gorgeous sight. Abbi comically suggests that they might as well just experience the rainbow in the moment. They might as well, right?
This idea of needing to show off your life to everyone you know can easily relate to Abbi’s disdain when it comes to being single and childless in her 30s. Perhaps it’s not that she actually wants all of those things at the moment. Perhaps it’s just that she feels as though she needs to have those “adult” aspects in her life in order to somehow prove to society that she is doing it right.
Yet as we can see during her run-in with “Cheese”, a woman who is the same age as Abbi that has a family and child (hilariously named Gladonna I might add), Abbi realizes that just because someone seems to have it all doesn’t mean they are happy. The images of happy families and crazy hectic adventures that we see all over Instagram are just small glimpses of lives that couldn’t possibly capture the whole thing. On social media, we are constantly trying to prove that we are more than okay, but why can’t we just take a breath, look out into the horizon and just let ourselves be?
Why do we constantly have to prove ourselves in this ongoing social media contest of who is the happiest? Who is the most successful? Who has the best life? In the end, the more you feel the need to prove your worth and success to others, the less you will actually get to experience that magic in real life. So do yourself a favor, shut your phone off for a moment and take a look at the world around you. You might not realize how happy you really are until you stop comparing yourself with your peers and start appreciating what you do have. It could be incredible.