Broad City: "Hurricane Wanda"
B+

Broad City: "Hurricane Wanda"

B+

Broad City

"Hurricane Wanda"

Season 1, Episode 7

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Having a crush is one of the most horrifying feelings in the world. Yes, it can be exhilarating; there’s no beating that rush when you realize all it would take to make you happy in this mad, mad world would be having just one minute to run your hands through their hair, or bite their nose, or feed them macaroni and cheese while marathoning Game of Thrones, or something equally weird and wonderful. More often than not, though, realizing you have a crush means throwing all rational thought out the window so that when the object of your affection walks through the door, you have plenty of room for irrational fear and self-loathing. Whether you’ve known the person for years or just a day, a crush makes you want to be your best at the same time that you feel yourself melting into an incoherent pile of mush.

Abbi’s crush on her neighbor Jeremy has provided some of Broad City’s most laugh-out-loud standalone bits. These moments, like the pilot’s slo-mo hallway encounter and Abbi  crumbling to the floor when she missed his package delivery, are also the reason why tonight’s cold open works so well. We’re already used to a touch of surrealism where Abbi’s crush is concerned, so Abbi’s door opening with a whoosh to reveal Jeremy in soft focus looks like yet another exaggerated way to show how much she likes him, until he offers to take off his shirt and oils up. The scene then quickly becomes a play on that trope where someone keeps thinking they’re waking up only to realize they’re still dreaming, but this layered fake-out shifts between entirely different people. First we think it’s Jeremy’s dream, then Abbi wakes up with a satisfied smile on her couch, and then it’s finally revealed that every stage of this Jeremy/Abbi dream hookup has been a product of Ilana’s gloriously twisted brain. The moment when she gasps herself awake right when her dream version of Abbi agrees to parallel masturbate with her is a hilarious one-two punch—not only is she at work, but it’s 5 pm. Really, the most unbelievable part of this deliberately absurd cold open is the only part that takes place in reality, because how does Ilana still have that job?!

But dream pairings aside, we haven’t actually gotten to see Abbi and Jeremy interact much beyond pleasantries.  Tonight’s bottle episode, however, forces them together for an entire evening. There is literally no escape from her all consuming crush while “Hurricane Wanda” rages on outside and Jeremy does his crinkly-eyed, lumberjack-lite thing in the candlelight. They even manage to flirt about fallen shelves for real! At the same time, Abbi’s gotten herself so worked up over this guy that being this close to maybe actually making a move is terrifying. This being Broad City, though, Abbi never gets the chance to do so before everything falls spectacularly to pieces. See, Jeremy’s first evening at Abbi’s also coincides with a makeshift party of the entire recurring cast and the toilet refusing to flush her shameful dump. As was inevitable, there was just no preparing Abbi for the perfect storm of bullshit that Hurricane Wanda hath wrought.

Luckily, Ilana has her back. Even in the claustrophobia of everyone crammed into Abbi’s apartment, the two of them still take several asides to check in with each other as the night wears on. The best of these happen in or around the bathroom as Abbi stares down her stubbornly waterless toilet. The note Abbi slides under the bathroom door (“if you’re Ilana, turn this over; if you’re not, GET HER”) is a perfect encapsulation of their co-dependent relationship. Yes, Ilana might misinterpret her wanting a dare to kiss Jeremy as a cue to dare her to give him a blowjob, but at the end of the day, she’s still the only one Abbi trusts.  Now, it was clear from day one that Abbi and Ilana are close. Their unwavering friendship is a refreshing change of a pace in a television scene that favors female friendships that devolve into so-called catfights and passive aggressive bullshit. So even if Abbi has a brief doubt when Bever’s sister finds shit in her shoe, she’s only barely surprised when it turns out that Ilana actually duct-taped a shower cap of Abbi’s shit to herself and Mission Impossible-d her way out to the trash chute. “Close” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

“Hurricane Wanda” also gives the supporting cast a chance to bounce off each other to varying degrees of success. I know John Gemberling’s Bevers is supposed to be disgusting, and it’s worked in small doses, but his aggressive unpleasantness proves to be too much when all the action is limited to Abbi’s apartment. We also already heard him taking a shit in “Working Girls.” Seeing him actually do it doesn’t really add much to the bit. But Shannon O’Neill makes the most of her role as Bevers’ equally awkward sister, especially when she ends her furious round of questioning by whipping off her shirt to reveal her eleventh toe (she did warn them that it wouldn’t be where they’d expect).  Ilana’s long absent roommate Jaime also gets more lines than he’s had all season combined, though he speaks almost exclusively in heartfelt confessions set to tinkling piano. Meanwhile, Hannibal Buress’ Lincoln has become one of Broad City’s steadiest source of laughs. Whether he’s shoving beer cans down his pants, playing the lackadaisical top half of dancing woman “Flo,” or letting out a gradual belly laugh at Jaime’s racism regrets, Lincoln’s easygoing vibe strikes a vital balance against Broad City’s otherwise chaotic world. After all, not everyone can be a doo-doo ninja.

Stray observations:

Tonight’s best unspoken detail: Ilana’s dream self rocks a luxurious afro.

Ilana on Abbi wanting to wash Jeremy’s body: “You mean washing his body after sex, right? I just want to make sure you’re optimizing your fantasy.”

Abbi: “Never have I ever…dealt with how my parents’ divorce affected my overall relationships.” (Everyone else drinks.)

Abbi has a lower-back tattoo of Oprah. Discuss.

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