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Broad City isn’t about where you’re going but how you’re “Getting There”

Illustration for article titled iBroad City/i isn’t about where you’re going but how you’re “Getting There”
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Broad City believes strongly in the idea that life’s about the journey, not the destination. How often have Abbi and Ilana stumbled through obstacle after obstacle on their way to their intended destination—sometimes without even making it there? Bizarre tangents pull at these women like gravity, and “Getting There” takes that premise to new heights. It’s definitely not about the destination. In fact, the episode purposefully keeps the destination concealed until the end. All we know is that Abbi and Ilana are embarking on some big trip. But Abbi and Ilana exist in a world where straightforward plans are easily derailed.

The obstacles are decidedly mundane. A forgotten passport, a stopped subway car, Uber surge prices—they’re all travel hitches that don’t require too much explanation. We’ve all been there. (Well, I’ve personally never forgotten my passport, because I fall closer to the Abbi side of the packing spectrum represented in “Getting There.”) But Broad City likes to start with normal and push it in weird directions, and “Getting There” does so quite well. The stopped subway car leads to a discussion of which fellow passengers each of the gals would eat, marry, or fuck in an apocalyptic scenario, with Abbi settling on marrying an older woman with a New Yorker in hand (“I bet she could teach me a thing or two…like how to finish an article in The New Yorker”) and both concluding that they would most like to eat a baby, sparing no detail when it comes to why and how they would eat a baby. Then Ilana rubs Abbi’s butt for good luck, and the prayer works. The train moves. Ilana’s appreciation of Abbi’s ass has become a borderline overused joke throughout the season, but maybe it was all worth it leading up to “Getting There,” in which that ass of an angel actually serves two key purposes. It gets the train to move, and it’s how Ilana first spots Abbi on the crowded subway car when they both keep missing each other. Apparently, butt jokes can serve a higher purpose.


When it comes to a long journey, what’s more essential than the perfect suitcase? Indeed, in “Getting There,” the writers assign perfectly fitting suitcases to each character. Abbi splurged for a suitcase recommended by Drew Barrymore. Of course she did. That’s exactly the kind of aspirational behavior that Abbi would mistake for personal growth. To Abbi, living her best life is living the life Drew Barrymore writes about. And the seams of that fantasy quickly unravel, the suitcase handle coming off as they race to their gate. She ends up having to gate-check the bag because as it turns out, Drew didn’t pick a very sensible bag. Packed with even more meaning, Ilana’s suitcase fits nice and easy in the overhead compartments. The suitcase belongs to Lincoln. He’s out of Ilana’s life, but stray pieces remain, because Broad City understands that a breakup doesn’t usually end with a clean break. Some things get left behind.

Following “Burning Bridges” is no easy feat, but “Getting There” does its best to move forward while still holding onto essential bits of the recent past. After burning their bridges, Abbi and Ilana are haphazardly building new ones. More accurately, they’re escaping, embarking on what seems like a last minute trip to Israel. It makes sense for both of these characters to impulsively get the hell out of New York after the events of “Burning Bridges.” Abbi mentions to Bevers that Trey has been switching his shifts at the gym in order to avoid her. Jaime and Ilana share a brief but touching moment about Lincoln as they frantically pack. In “Getting There,” the characters haven’t forgotten about what happened, but the show also wastes no time blazing forward with a new story that unfolds in a familiar but still exciting way. It’s an understated episode, but that makes the anticipation that trickles throughout it a little more potent. The episode intentionally keeps the specifics of their plan a secret until they get on the plane. But again, it’s not really about the destination.

Last week marked such a stark departure from the typical Broad City narrative, so “Getting There” acts as a bit of a return to business-as-usual Broad City. But in this case, the familiarity of the episode doesn’t drag it down into unimaginative territory. An episode that’s literally just about two friends trying to get to the airport still manages to excite with its commonplace mishaps made more specific and fun by the incredibly well developed personalities of its characters. And Broad City signals that it’s still prepared to try new things, ending the episode with what certainly counts as a cliffhanger in this universe: Abbi and Ilana aren’t seated together on their long flight. The episode cuts to a “to be continued” card, and if the title is any indication (“Jews On A Plane”), next week’s season finale will take place entirely on their flight. The journey isn’t over yet.

Stray observations

  • The Drew Barrymore suitcase is real.
  • The most important things for Ilana to pack: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, anti-gas meds, and her vibrator.
  • “Dude, we should Shark Tank period panties.”
  • Ilana’s creepy ex Dale makes a brief appearance and gets promptly punched in the face.
  • The always hilarious Tymberlee Hill guest stars as a flight attendant, and next week, the Tracee Ellis Ross appearance I’ve been waiting for ever since this Instagram post will finally be here.

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