After three critically acclaimed seasons, “Broad City” returned to Comedy Central this Wednesday with its Season Four premiere, kicking off a ten-episode run that is set to end on December 6. The first episode of the season, which will occupy the channel’s 10:30 pm slot, chronicled how the show’s main characters, Abbi and Ilana, first met, depicting two universes in which their first encounter goes in very different directions. For “Broad City” fans like me who have been eagerly re-watching the first three seasons in anticipation for Season Four, the question remains whether this season will be able to sustain the originality and humor that has made the series stand out during its first few years.
For “Broad City” newbies, here’s a rundown of the show: “BC” follows the lives of Abbi Abrams (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer), two twenty-somethings trying to make it (or, at the very least, survive) in New York City. They’re “figuring things out” in every way possible: professionally, romantically, and financially. Despite this, the single constant in their lives is each other.
Their personalities are polar opposites: Abbi is non-confrontational and reserved, while Ilana is bold and crass. The fact that they are friends in the first place is a miracle, but their diverging personalities make watching their outlandish interactions and exploits all the more entertaining. Besides running around the city with each other, the women’s lives are spiced up by Ilana’s love interest, Lincoln (Hannibal Buress); Abbi’s love interest, Trey (Paul Downs); Abbi’s roommate—well, Abbi’s roommate’s boyfriend— Bevers (John Beverling); and Ilana’s actual roommate, Jaimé (Arturo Castro). With this cast of characters and the backdrop of one of the most exciting cities in the world, anything could happen.
The Season Four premiere featured a number of “Easter eggs” and running jokes that only dedicated viewers could point out. Glazer and Jacobson (also the creators of the show) have regularly used these techniques in past seasons to add another dimension to its wacky comedy. In the premiere, Ilana is leaving a coffee shop when she slams into a woman and spills coffee on her as the woman says “My first week in New York—I love this city!” Dedicated viewers will recognize the woman as Nicole, or “Nicolette,” Ilana’s ex-coworker, whom she tormented for months until being fired. This is Ilana’s first encounter with Nicole, but it is definitely not the last—or the worst. Running jokes are brought back when Ilana questions Abbi’s Jewish heritage and when Bevers, during his and Abbi’s first moments together, insinuates that he won’t pay for his own food or help out around his girlfriend’s apartment. Glazer and Jacobson have featured these jokes throughout the series, and their hilarious imagined origins story belatedly set the precedent for jokes that viewers have become all too familiar with.
The episode also sees Glazer and Jacobson, who both frequently speak out against President Donald Trump on social media (and who even featured Hillary Clinton in an episode in Season Three), grapple with the Trump presidency in the fictional America that their characters inhabit. Over the summer, the two said that they would be bleeping out Trump’s name in the show. This was not the case in the premiere, however, as a panhandler uses Donald Trump’s uncensored name to warn the women about Trump winning the election. The president appears again later in the episode when his face is shown on the side of a bus with the words “America is Watching. You’re Fired” next to it. Knowing the political leanings and outspoken presences of the show’s creators, digs aimed at Donald Trump, or D****d T***p, will appear throughout the season.
While I was not as floored by the jokes in this episode as I have been by others, I have no doubt that Glazer and Jacobson will impress with this new season of “Broad City.” Hopefully, this is one of those seasons that gets better as it progresses. I’m also excited to see how Easter eggs and the show’s running jokes appear throughout the season.
If you’re a “BC” fan like me, you know how rewarding it is to be able to recognize these references. In addition to the show’s humor, the importance of developing meaningful friendships and experiences will no doubt shine through as Abbi and Ilana navigate young adulthood in a city made for twenty-somethings. In the trailer for Season Four, Abbi exclaims, “We run this city!” Will they really get their shit together this season and make that a reality? I doubt it, but it will be entertaining to watch them try.
William Halliday can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.