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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Broad City injects a simple premise with The Matrix-level spectacle

Illustration for article titled Broad City injects a simple premise with The Matrix-level spectacle
Image: Broad City (Comedy Central)
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In “Bitcoin & the Missing Girl,” Ilana finds the access code to ⅓ of a Bitcoin given to her by an douchey finance bro ex-boyfriend, and Abbi loses her favorite sweatshirt. That’s it. That’s the whole premise. But in typical Broad City form, the episode takes that setup and zigzags it into two adventures that are wacky but also grounded in their sense of place and character.


Surprises small and big pop up along the way. First, there’s a very fun cameo from Mark Consuelos, who plays Ilana’s ex-boyfriend. The decision to cast him is fun on its own: Riverdale’s Hiram Lodge is the ultimate douchey finance bro ex-boyfriend. The casting is somewhat surreal, too, given that Kelly Ripa appeared on the show as herself in an earlier season and mentioned him...so Mark Consuelos literally already exists in this universe, and now here he is playing a character. Weirdly, this all feels very in-line with the show’s sense of reality, which becomes surreal in unexpected ways.

This episode plays way into a heightened/weirdo sense of reality, throwing in a The Matrix sequence mid-episode for pretty much no reason other than to let Ilana look amazing. She dons a black patent leather head-to-toe outfit, AirPods, and a collar necklace made from charging cords. She looks incredible and ludicrous. She literally does the signature Matrix move when a bagel is thrown at her. She also does a flip off a wall. It’s all way more over-the-top in its spectacle than this show tends to be, and it’s the kind of final season big moment I’m happy to see. It doesn’t necessarily serve a real purpose or even lead to huge joke payoff: The sudden cut to the office space, where she looks very out of place and also makes awkward squeaking noises while walking, is funny enough, but it’s definitely a predictable punchline. Instead, it’s just indulgent and fun and silly in a way this show does well.

One of the more interesting surprises in the episode is the way the show eschews some expectations when it comes to Consuelos’ bit character. He doesn’t end up being the douchey finance bro ex-boyfriend we’re expecting or that even Ilana was expecting to encounter. She rightfully takes a dig at him for dating a much younger woman, and he admits it was wrong and that he did it because he had just gone through a divorce and was feeling insecure.

Ilana wants her Bitcoin payout so she can kick start her “wusiness”—her term for woman-owned business, which is definitely not catching on—which is a phone wig company. I clocked those phone wigs last episode and thought it was just a quirky little Abbi/Ilana thing that wouldn’t necessarily come into play, but every choice down to the weirdest details is intentional on this show. It’s a very Ilana business—sorry, wusiness!—idea in that it exists somewhere between cute and gross and definitely is worthless. And her deciding to give the money away in the end after she sees people protesting Bitcoin rings true for the character, too. Hell, even Ilana’s The Matrix sequence—which is sort of fantasy but also not—feels right for her.

Abbi’s subplot is deeply rooted in who she is, too. The very simple but great jokes just surrounding the idea of laundry day are fun on their own, especially the ones that feel deeply ingrained in New York life. The dungeon doubling as Abbi’s “laundry room” is all too familiar, and the sound effects, horror movie lighting, and blood-stained mystery garments work very well to heighten it into a surreal but still scarily realistic place. One of the best joke setups in the entire episode is Abbi spending so much time on setting up things in order to be productive during the one hour that it’ll take the laundry drop-off service to be done that she never even gets around to being productive by the time the timer goes off.


And then Abbi totally overreacts to losing her sweatshirt—although there are fewer possessions more prized in a person’s life than a really comfy, perfectly broken in sweatshirt, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Her missing sweatshirt posters get confused for missing person poster (a layout issue!, she hilariously insists), which leads to the local news reporting that she has probably died. More than that, Abbi was putting up posts about her stupid sweatshirt over posters for actually important causes like Black Lives Matter and abolishing ICE. Her tunnel vision for the sweatshirt consumes her, leads to her literally mistakenly declaring herself missing. (Although, again, if we’re being honest, losing your favorite sweatshirt is like losing yourself!) It’s a wonderfully simple premise that nonetheless makes twisty turns and also strongly speaks to who Abbi is—for better or worse.

Stray observations

  • The cold open is great.
  • Paul Downs and D’Arcy Carden make brief but excellent appearances as their Solstice characters. The runner over the credits that they do is so good.
  • A wild Nicole appears!
  • This season keeps on delivering the fun bit characters, like the crime beat reporter who is all too eager to know if the missing girl’s body was found and how many pieces it was in.