As Abbi and Ilana settle into their new jobs, Broad City seems to be in a bit of a transition, finding humor in new places. But “Just The Tips” almost feels like a throwaway episode. We never get much further than the tip of the stories at play.

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Even some of the weaker episodes of Broad City still manage to pull off a hilarious cold open. This show has some of my favorite cold opens on television since Community, and “Just The Tips” opens with a dark and pointed satire of New York’s wealthy elite. Abbi and Ilana save a choking man in the gated, private Gramercy Park, giving him the heimlich through the bars that separate them from his exclusive, wealthy world. When all they want in return is a chance to cross over to his side of the gate, he balks. So they walk away when he starts choking again. Broad City’s political content this season has been great. Even just the collage of protest signs behind Ilana’s bed is a strong image that grounds the show in our reality. Ilana says the country has become a fascist state in this episode (she makes the declaration in the context of complaining about poor cell and train service, which makes the statement even more in-character).

Abbi is still seeing Mike, the cute paramedic from the gym. Right from the start, Abbi jumps to the conclusion that he’s her new boyfriend, telling Bevers as much. Abbi jumping at any opportunity to mention the fact that she’s in a relationship to anyone who will listen makes for a funny bit at first, but then that bit becomes her entire plotline in the episode. It peaks when she winds up on a fire escape giving relationship advice based on her six-day relationship to a woman crying about her marriage. When the woman realizes the truth and starts to laugh at and mock Abbi, it almost feels too mean for this show. Sure, we laugh at Abbi and Ilana as much as we laugh with them, but introducing this character solely for the purpose of making Abbi realize she’s being an idiot is just sort of cruel and off-putting in a way that barely manages to be funny.

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Broad City’s loose story structures usually work because of how well the characters are written and how hilarious they are together in just about any situation. In “Just The Tips,” Abbi and Ilana are mostly just fucking around, Ilana taking advantage of her first day off from the restaurant to rage. Fueled by booze on drugs, she’s certainly on one, practicing her death drops and handing out drugs and money to everyone like candy. It makes for some fun and wacky Ilana shenanigans, and then things take an interesting turn when Lincoln shows up at the party. The slow-motion stylization of Ilana’s realization that he’s there is an obvious but effective direction choice. And the ensuing scenes between Ilana and Lincoln are the best parts of the episode. Lincoln realizes right away that Ilana shit her leotard, so he helps her out in the bathroom. Despite the poop aspect, it’s surprisingly sweet. This show pulls genuine character moments out of weird, sometimes straight up gross, places. Ilana and Lincoln both tell each other they hope they’re getting what they want. “There’s only one Ilana Wexler,” Lincoln muses, and he’s certainly right. It’s a moment that’s touching, sad, and funny all at once, and it almost makes the whole episode come together.


Stray observations

  • Carol is back! And buying a massive dildo! I love this show’s weirdo universe!
  • Jaime’s circumcision plotline does little more than contribute to the titular joke, but I’m kind of okay with that.
  • Ilana makes a very strong case for long acrylic nails with that cheese cube move.
  • The scene between Ilana and her brother doesn’t do a whole lot, but I do love how thoroughly over Ilana’s shit he is.

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