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2 Other Broke Girls

Comedy Central series exposes new duo to a wider audience

 

Pictured: Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (photo by Linda Kallerus)

 

By Michael Shashoua / Jester editor-in-chief

 

The new Comedy Central series “Broad City,” executive produced by Amy Poehler and debuting Jan. 22, has the tone and feel of segments from the on-the-street segments of Poehler’s late 1990s Upright Citizens Brigade series for the channel (see DVD review, 9/17/07).

 

“Broad City” features the exploits of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, performers who got started at the UCB Theatre. Jacobson is the straitlaced one and Glazer is the manic one who destroys everything she comes into contact with, including her own plans to earn enough money to go to a Lil Wayne concert.

 

The show is buoyed by a lot of cameos, including Poehler’s SNL colleagues Fred Armisen and Rachel Dratch. Stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress is a recurring character – a sometime hook-up of Glazer’s – but his presence seems superfluous here as he’s mostly inserted into scenes where he delivers dialogue that sounds a bit like parts of his stand-up act. This is an awkward fit and a disservice to his strengths.

 

More integral to the stories is John Gemberling, also of the UCB Theatre, as the slacker boyfriend of Jacobson and Glazer’s unseen third roommate, and who is always perched on their couch and annoying Abby by mooching her food from the fridge. Gemberling’s unflinching habitation of his character adds life and energy to the show.

 

One can see what Jacobson and Glazer (and Poehler as producer) are going for – bringing another flavor of the sensibility of live improv to TV. In the first two episodes, at least, it gets about halfway to the level the UCB TV series achieved. It’s unclear from just two episodes whether the leads could be more dynamic and interesting, whether they need more to play with or greater stakes in the stories.

 

“Broad City” was spawned from an online series, and it’s also possible that a bigger budget ended up stiffening the freedom and energy that Jacobson and Glazer began with on the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feedback? Email michael.shashoua@jesterjournal.com

© 2005-2017 Michael Shashoua