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Broad City ends: Why bold broads Abbi and Ilana meant so much to me

Commentary: The final episode of the Comedy Central show is upon us, and I'm having a tough time imagining my life without it every week.

Andrew Herren
3 min read
Linda Kallerus

For almost five years, the Broad City duo of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have been my weekly comedic outlet. Playing two bold and hilarious millennials making it in NYC, they've also been like my constant companions, guiding me on my own wild journey as a 26-year-old trying to make it in another big city, San Francisco.

The two best friends navigate the Big Apple basically dirt broke, but they have the grit to conquer almost any challenge, whether it's Abbi constantly getting puked on and having to clean up other people's pubes while working at a local gym or Ilana aimlessly bouncing from temp job to temp job while trying to avoid work altogether. 

They go to birthday parties, dabble in the city's nightlife and mix recreational substances. They hustle for Lil Wayne tickets, and awkwardly try to date IRL just as apps like Tinder and Bumble are starting to take off.        

Along the way, they've taught me some important life lessons -- most of all the irreplaceable value of authenticity. Oh, how I'm going to miss these broads when the Comedy Central show ends for good Thursday night.

Matthew Peyton

The show celebrates all different types of people. Ilana, for example, expresses her bisexuality without judgment. In fact, the show supports Ilana's attempt to "find herself a lady." As a confident single gay man, I've appreciated the show's portrayal of the real complexities of dating, same sex or otherwise.

Broad City touches on Ilana's desire to be in noncommitted "open relationships" and then follows her as she falls in love with Lincoln, her partner in an open partnership, and gives monogamy a shot. Abbi, meanwhile, has a sexual experience with her neighbor, Jeremy, that takes an interesting turn when he asks her to switch up roles. Does the episode Knockoff ring a bell?

Abbi is the unspoken comedic hero of Broad City. Her sometimes awkward social skills mesh perfectly with IIana's bold, take-charge personality.

In one episode, Abbi transforms into her alter-ego Val, a lounge singer who appears only when Abbi is black-out drunk. Once Ilana has discovered Val, her FOMO goes through the damn roof. "If you always worry about missing out on life," Val/Abbi tells Ilana, "then you never actually bother to live." That left a lasting impression on me. I will always love that message.

I know many others in their mid-twenties who've identified with the show since it first aired in January of 2014, going on to average 1.2 million viewers per episode and getting award nominations from the Critics Choice Television Awards and Writers Guild of America, among others. We get it. Millennials are often accused of having big, lofty ideas that are sometimes unrealistic. But are they always unrealistic?  

I identify with both of these women because I too am a twentysomething trying to take chances and figure it all out. My senior year of college, I wanted to move away from the Midwest (hi, originally from Ohio) to live on the West Coast. The wild journey San Francisco has taken me on in the past three years seems surreal. At times, my life goes from zero to 100 in a matter of what feels like seconds. 

I've couch-surfed. I've lived off credit cards (I recommend not doing that if avoidable). I've dabbled in drag. Yass queen! Yass queen! In some ways, I am Abbi and Ilana put together. I am Ilana in the sense that I have a fearless, bold personality on the outside, but I have Abbi's drive and ambition. 

Broad City's narrative speaks in a way that doesn't judge you for investing money, time and energy in the present. If you want to be the person who'd rather spend money on experiences now, then what are you waiting for? Go do it!

Once the show's over, you can still stay up on all things Broad City on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, iTunes and Google Play. (Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale or rental of episodes or products from those retailers.) 

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