TV review: ‘Broad City’ season 4, episode 2, ‘Twaining Day’

Broad City logo. (Mistaknows/Wikimedia Commons)

Broad City has been around for a while now, and it knows it. The fourth season of the show premiered Sept.13, and it’s as good as ever.

The artful use of running jokes and comedic callbacks to seasons past, blended with a new sense of maturity, sets the first two episodes of the comedy’s fourth season on solid ground. 

Like I said, it’s good.

Like many of the show’s finest, the opening scene of episode two, “Twaining Day,” has little to do with the plot of the episode at large. However, it does touch on something significant: who the main characters, Abbi and Ilana, have grown to be. Here we find them engaged in their familiar banter as they escort a woman fully caught amidst a horde of rambunctious “pro-lifers” into a Planned Parenthood-esque facility. In the chaos, our central characters remind the anxious woman that it is in fact, her body, her choice, despite what is being shouted from the street corners.

While the scene is by no means serious, it demonstrates how the series, with the artful skills of its creators, is evolving in the Trump era. Remaining relevant is always a question in comedy, and Broad City eases into its political voice with conviction while still engaging with its own history. The show doesn’t seem to lose comedic traction with a political edge. In fact, it thrives on it.

Such a topical introduction feels urgent and sits starkly in the wake of the season’s inaugural episode, “Sliding Doors,” where viewers finally witness the long-anticipated flashback to the beginning of Abbi and Ilana’s friendship. The show travels back to a more innocent 2011, where weed jokes, comedic misfortune and Broad City’s unique brand of surrealism reign supreme.

Don’t fret if you dig inhabiting that world, its best parts are still with us into the show’s senior year. That being said, there are other changes in the show evident after the opening sequence of the second episode. For the duration of it, Abbi and Ilana are set in separate narratives, both working — or more accurately, not working — at new jobs. While it is true the show is historically at its prime when the two women are together palling around, this shift eludes to new developments.

If you enjoy the thrills of star power, the episode features cultural heavy-hitters like the iconic RuPaul and comedian Wanda Sykes, who portray Ilana and Abbi’s bosses, respectively. Fans will also celebrate the return of Trey, Abbi’s former work flame and Big Bang Theory apologist.

The biggest running joke coming to fruition in episode two? Abbi’s gym training of the “Canadian Queen of Pop” Shania Twain, a story once used as her go-to lie to both impress, and evade responsibility, at her former job. After years of the show threatening it, Shania’s lovely materialization at the start of season four signals the end of Abbi’s gym days once and for all, and to a larger extent, echoes a divergence from the more carefree style of the shows younger seasons.

As Abbi and Ilana begin to exit the throes of their twenties, they appear poised to confront inherent truths about themselves and their wacky realities.

The antics are still present in Broad City, they’re just evolving in real time.

Contact CU Independent writer Camille Sauers at casa5683@colorado.edu.

Camille Sauers

Assistant Arts Editor

Camille Sauers is an Anthropology and Journalism student in her third year at CU Boulder.

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