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‘Broad City’ Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: “Knockoffs”

broad city knockoffs

After last week’s “Wisdom Teeth,” it felt like, how could it possibly get better than this? But leave it to the broads to understand exactly which direction to take the show in order to keep it interesting. Where last week Abbi was a scary, bloody, trippy monster, wreaking havoc over Whole Foods, this week she’s all about the lovin’ and she goes the distance to prove it. And where last week Ilana was “Mommie Lani,” doling out double doses of Vicodin and concocting “Firecracker Smoothies,” this week she’s sharing with us her family tree, and proving that she’s an apple that didn’t fall far from it.

“Knockoffs” has the girls venturing into unknown territories. New holes, if you will. Ilana’s Grandma Esther has past, so Mama Wexler (played perfectly by Susie Essman) comes into the city to purchase knockoff bags to give to loved ones at her shiva. Bobbi and Ilana are synchronized in their behaviors: tapping nail polish against their hands, admiring Abbi’s angelic ass, pulling blindfolds over their eyes while being driven to an underground counterfeit purse vendor. Meeting Bobbi means getting further insight into the origins of Ilana’s Ilana-ness which was evidentally not only past genetically through her mother, but also through her mother’s mother who supposedly sang at the Cotton Club and f*cked Little Richard. At the shiva we meet Ilana’s brother Eliot, played by her real-life brother of the same name whose web series “Haunting Renditions” is subtly promoted in his gloomy, operatic performance of “Eagle’s Wings.” And her father, played by Bob Balaban, who masterfully maintains his signature bookishness while Abbi, Ilana, and Eliot explain pegging.

Ilana already feels like somewhat of a comedy legend (during the girls’ phone conversation she back flips out of twerking and reveals she slept with a strap-on on throughout college “just in case”), and this season has Abbi straying from her straight-guy persona toward similar extremes. Abbi finally has sex with Jeremy, and when he eagerly whips out a strap-on, he puts Ilanas’ prediction that he doesn’t wear underwear to shame. Somehow he makes getting penetrated by Abbi seem like a manlier thing to do than if the roles were reversed, so after some consideration, and inspired by Grandma Esther who did everything she ever wanted, Abbi plows Jeremy “like a queen.” The next day, while Jeremy is off teaching woodworking to underprivileged kids, she puts the Shinjo dildo in the dishwasher and it bends in half.

In “Mochalata Chills,” we got more Bevers than we’d ever ask for, so getting a deeper look into another supporting character’s life soon after runs the risk of setting the show off balance. Finding Nicole at the sex shop was a perfect example of getting to know an outlier- it gets a laugh, it gives some insight, and it doesn’t cross a line. But the storyline with Jeremy packs as much satisfaction as Bevers’ did annoyances, so it works. Jeremy is that confusing combination of all parts self-invested and no parts self-conscious and we’ve all found ourselves equally annoyed by and attracted to someone like him. Somehow he makes getting penetrated by Abbi seem like a manlier thing to do than if the roles were reversed. So it’s a double dose of satisfaction when Abbi sleeps with Jeremy and calls him out for being too, well, anal about his stuff.

As much as we relate to it, the world of Broad City is contained. So introducing us to Ilana’s family while also going deep into Jeremy’s character can feel like a lot of pushing on Broad City’s walls at once. But the girls do a good job of maintaining the specific style of the show and it never feels like the special guests are being brought in as foreigners from another series. The world of Broad City is something like a moon-bounce, and not only because it taps into our most primal joys. But also because you can push on its walls, stretch it’s limits, and no matter what you can count on it coming back to its original form.

  • responsible adult

    You can’t have a raunchy comedy with Susie Essman in it without having her say “Fuck you Larry! Get the fuck outta my house!”
    Just sayin.

    • paige

      Yeah but “WTF am I talking Chinese for?” Nu Classic.

  • Chase

    Loved this analysis- brilliant!

  • James

    past past passed