Image: Broad City (Comedy Central)
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“Lost and Found” is a super queer, super Jewish, super New York episode of Broad City and therefore feels like the show in its truest form, a celebration of Abbi and Ilana’s identities as well as the city they inhabit. The episode presents yet another twisty adventure for the friends but manages to bring up some deeper character development along the way, including the way both Abbi and Ilana are reacting to Abbi’s first relationship with a woman.

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Clea DuVall returns as Leslie, the hot doctor Abbi met last episode and asked out. Now, they’re fully dating, at least casually. The episode begins with Leslie watching Abbi sleep, so it’s safe to assume they’re at least a few weeks into dating. They’re very much in the rosy, new relationship phase of things, as evidenced by how quickly Abbi dons the absurd yellow hat Leslie gifts her. She’s committed to making the hat work because she’s crushing hard, and it’s very cute. Broad City is so deft at tapping into specific, seemingly mundane aspects of life and exposing them for just how weird or funny they are like, for example, the things we do in the beginning of relationships because we want the other person to like us or because we’re scared to hurt their feelings.

For Ilana, the hat represents something bigger. She was visibly shaken at the end of last episode when Abbi nonchalantly brought up that she gave a women her number. Ilana’s intense crush on Abbi is well documented over the course of the series and never seemed like merely a “friend crush.” Ilana has discussed being queer before and has hooked up with women in previous episodes. Abbi’s sexuality has gone pretty underdiscussed, and Ilana seems to be processing a lot at once while still wanting to support her friend. She uses the hat to talk around the topic, pointing out that she has never seen Abbi as someone who is into hats before, has never clocked her paying attention to hats that pass her by.

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They are, of course, not talking about hats, which Broad City gets cheeky with. Ilana’s struggling to grapple with Abbi’s new relationship, and Broad City isn’t backing away from this tricky friendship moment, letting it unfold on the periphery of “Lost and Found” but in a way that’s fully felt and gives weight to both characters’ emotions. For now, Broad City is keeping things pretty casual about Abbi’s new relationship. It’s new, but it isn’t making her spiral. It’s an uncommon coming out arc to see on television, and it feels right for the show.

DuVall isn’t the only fun guest star in the episode. Alan Cumming also appears as...Alan Cumming, one of the many distinctly NYC touches to this episode. And Jerry Adler guest stars as Ilana’s 16th cousin, a Holocaust survivor who she finds out about after taking a 23andMe test that informs her she is 100% Ashkenazi. Adler and Cumming both played recurring characters on The Good Wife, which is another instance—much like the Mark Consuelos guest spot earlier this season—of the show’s meta, surreal sensibilities. They explain to Adler’s Saul, breathlessly, why Alan Cumming is such a big deal, name-checking The Good Wife.

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And because Broad City likes to lean into its more surreal moments, things don’t end with them merely spotting Cumming. They follow him for thirteen blocks, and suddenly “stalking Alan Cumming” becomes the episode’s C-plot. They attend a drag brunch, where a full scene is dedicated just to them gushing over Cumming. It’s another strange thing to see on television that yet somehow still works, because it still feels so rooted in these characters, who they are, and where they live. “Lost and Found” is firmly rooted in place and character, and the jokes flow easily, touching on both.

Then they lose Saul and zig-zag through a straightforward sitcom setup where they keep getting distracted on their quest to find Saul. But they’re also high, so they get distracted to the point where they keep forgetting that they were even looking for him in the first place...so it’s kind of like a straightforward sitcom setup that gets heightened by weed. This show is tapping into all of its strengths in its final season.

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Stray observations

  • Sasha Velour also guest stars!
  • There are great visual gags throughout, like the photo of Saul when he was young, which is just Ilana in a mustache.
  • I need Alan Cumming’s outfit...immediately.
  • It feels like Jacobson and Glazer are barely acting whilst gushing over Cumming.
  • There’s even a Sex and the City ending, with Ilana reflecting on the day in what turns out to be her graduate school application! A “I couldn’t help but wonder” joke is hard to pull off without feeling hack at this point, and yet Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs, who penned the episode, do it.
  • Adler is well cast, but it is indeed to not immediately think of his very misogynist The Good Wife character when looking at him.

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