Broad City: "Fattest Asses"
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Broad City: "Fattest Asses"

Abbi fully embraces Ilana’s personality in a standout episode.

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Broad City

"Fattest Asses"

Season 1, Episode 5

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Abbi and Ilana are best friends, but extremely different people. Abbi is inherently passive, lusting after her neighbor from afar and quietly hating her job cleaning pubes out of gym showers, while Ilana is aggressive, eagerly pursuing sexual relationships and showing a blatant disregard for her work duties. Up to this point, Ilana’s wild lifestyle has been the major source of excitement in Abbi’s life, and episodes of Broad City have focused on how the best friends’ personalities complement each other, with the two often finding a behavioral middle ground through alcohol and marijuana. At the start of “Fattest Asses,” that character contrast is once again put on display with separate scenes of Abbi and Ilana in their work environments; but then the story takes a turn that pushes the series to a new high point, showing the hilarity that ensues when Abbi decides to do away with her nice-girl persona and fully embrace Ilana’s worldview.

When Abbi has the opportunity to take over a “Slide And Glide” group class after two Solstice trainers go missing (they’re later found dead), she caves under pressure from a thin bald woman who always dreamed of leading a class during the time she has left. But the woman doesn’t have cancer; she just shaved her head with her bandmates to raise awareness for their band. That revelation, combined with the latest unprecedented pube clog, gives Abbi the motivation to become a bad girl that doesn’t give a fuck. Her first test is spending $438 on a tight dress she can wear to a party with Ilana, and once she crosses that threshold, it’s easy for Abbi to give herself over completely to this new self.

Abbi’s transition is initially awkward. She shouts out “Biiii-hih-hiitch!” when she walks away from the cashier that rings up her dress, but then she has to go back because she hasn’t signed the receipt. At the party, she angrily asks if anyone is working at the empty bar, and when a cute blonde man answers her, she’s immediately overcome with timidity because of her attraction. That awkwardness starts to dissipate after some liquor and a few truffle-oil fried macaroni-and-cheese balls, and when Abbi has to use the bathroom, the beast really breaks out of the cage. The line for the women’s bathroom is too long, so Abbi barges into the men’s room and kicks down the door of one of the stalls, which is conveniently occupied by a young man snorting cocaine.

Ilana Glazer’s brash, crass character has given her more chances to chew the scenery in her performance, but “Fattest Asses” puts Abbi Jacobson in the spotlight and encourages her go wild. Abbi kicking down the door of the bathroom stall is one of the episode’s best moments, and her mania only increases when she forces the man to give her cocaine. Yet even in the midst of her high, old Abbi appears to offer the guy some money because she snorted a lot of his coke and feels kind of bad about it. 

The cocktail of booze, coke, and power eliminates Abbi’s judgment, and after making a fool of herself at the party, she agrees to accompany Ilana to the home of two DJs that want to take advantage of the girls’ tight connection. The League’s Jason Mantzoukas (Rafi!) and Breaking Bad’s Matt Jones (Badger!) guest star as the roommate DJs—technically playlist shufflers—that represent the future of Abbi and Ilana’s relationship if they actually assumed the same personality. The two men work together, have sex together, and make the same observations in both casual and intimate situations, and that’s not a life that Abbi is ready for yet. Specifically the “have sex together” part. 

When the two ladies are brought up to the roof for a group make-out, Abbi’s carefree new attitude evaporates to keep her from getting too intimate with her best friend, and after they’re both lured into the same shower, Abbi fully returns to her old self. Ilana doesn’t feel the same way and would have totally had an orgy if the men had been upfront about their intentions, having already figured out a sex position that allows the two women to experience sexual pleasure from the men while sharing a platonic intimate moment. (It’s called the Arc de Triumphe and it puts the men butt-to-butt as they go down on Abbi and Ilana, who create an arch with their clasped Oprah hands.)

The intersection of Abbi and Ilana’s personalities is what makes this a standout episode, but it’s also just incredibly funny. The scenes of Ilana in her workplace deliver a constant stream of punch lines that build to the hilarious appearance of an inflatable waving tube man in the middle of the office, and the party sequence shows off Glazer and Jacobson’s skill with writing sharp one-liners. They also have a keen talent for using the vagina as a comic prop, specifically during a scene where Ilana and Jason Mantzoukas have a conversation about watermelon Sour Straws while he’s eating her out, making a candy/cunnilingus connection that Beyoncé would be proud of. “Fattest Asses” is the show’s most quotable episode, but also provides legitimate insights into the inner workings of these characters, and that effortless use of humor to explore the friendship between these two women shows why Broad City has become on the season’s most promising new comedies.

Stray observations:

  • Caroline couldn’t be here tonight, but she’ll be back to offer her take on next week’s episode. Much thanks for letting me offer mine.
  • Ilana trying to dance to church bell techno music is so absurd and perfect.
  • This episode is fantastic, but it would be even better with Hannibal Buress.
  • Ilana gets turned on by men in Bill Cosby sweaters. Why am I not surprised?
  • Insensitive drink names: Tsunami Slide, West Nile Colada, Sex Trafficking on the Beach. Can you come up with more? Drink recipes get bonus points.
  • “‘Slide And Glide’ is all I have.”
  • "What do u think is worse: constipation or diarrhea?"
  • “Day 274: Five hours late. Wearing a napkin as a shirt. Violently high.”
  • "Your ass looks incredible. And your head and body too!"
  • “Out of the way, clavicle. O.K., 5’ 9”, I can’t even deal with you right now.”
  • "You're the first people that actually want a second."
  • “Hey. I've cleaned more pubes than you have on your entire body!”
  • “I eat sour straws like everyday.”
  • Ilanawexler@mindmyvagina.com
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