Broad City: “Citizen Ship” Season 2 Episode 7 Review

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A boozy boat cruise doesn’t offer the crazy antics you’d expect, but instead leads to some surprising introspection.

Broad City isn’t presented in a serialized format, with long, over-arching plots. Its episodes feature one-off, day-in-the-life moments that are easy to identify with, and, for the most part, allow viewers to jump in at any point in the series.

“Citizen Ship,” however, is different. While it’s certainly a self-contained half-hour, it’s an episode that feels best enjoyed by those who have stuck with the series from the start (trust me, I’d know). The humor isn’t as typically zany as other entries in this season, and the story is very character-focused.

One might think, from my review of “Mochalatta Chills,” that I would immediately hate any episode that uses Bevers for more than messing up Abbi’s apartment. Yet, this episode played to his strengths, and used his plan of proposing to Melanie as a way to explore what Abbi and Ilana both really want.

Bevers and the ladies getting trapped in the boat’s liquor closet doesn’t turn out to be the bottle episode you’d expect. The three of them don’t stay in there very long, but their scenes together provide some important moments. Bevers’ grossness is balanced out by having Ilana on Abbi’s team as he does things like pull out disgusting pocket shrimp and talk about his “jazz”—“it comes out of my horn, and you never know where it’s going to go!” I’ll admit it, I laughed—Normally this would be a one-two delivery of Bevers saying something gross and Abbi rolling her eyes, but with Ilana by her side, things become much more relaxed.

The real point of these scenes, however, is to highlight the ever-fascinating dynamic that is Ilana and Lincoln’s relationship. Ilana insists that they’re just “sex friends,” but Bevers’ plans to marry Melanie make her realize that they’re on the path to being much more. We’ve spent a lot of time this season exploring Abbi’s wilder side—hi Val!—and this is one of the first that puts Ilana in a more domestic light.

Abbi, on the other hand, is initially thrilled by the news of Bevers’ proposal. Not because she’s happy for him or anything, but because she wants him out of her apartment for good. Her clashes with Ilana over “government-mandated marriages” aren’t really about how the two of them feel about settling down, but more of a way for Abbi to try and shut her friend up so she can convince Bevers to go through with his idea.

He chickens out, of course, leaving Abbi awkwardly talking about transitioning into a man in front of a boat full of lawyers and finance bros. What’s interesting, though, is a later scene in which Abbi tries to talk to her roommate about how she should stick with her (weirdo) boyfriend. “I would love to be loved like that one day” she says. It’s an earnest moment that’s both ruined and amplified by the fact that Ilana’s actually in the bathroom and replies “I love you like that” back to her. Yes, Abbi’s admittance of eventually wanting to settle down is somewhat tarnished, but this show is really all about her friendship with Ilana and so the moment is saved by their love for each other.

The broads spend a good amount of the booze cruise not actually enjoying the cruise, and so while they’re locked away with Bevers, we get to see Lincoln and Jaime take on the high seas (of the Hudson River). The whole plot of “Citizen Ship” centers around Jaime passing his nationalization test, and seeing his glee at finally being a true American provides most of the episode’s humor.

Arturo Castro and Hannibal Buress play really well off each other, giving us some of the episode’s funniest scenes such as their recreation of the famous Titanic scene on the ship’s bow, or their discussion of about Shakira is secretly the sixth member of The Spice Girls named “Spicy Spice.” Castro also shines when donning a fake American accent and trying to sound as frat bro-y as possible (“I looove hamburgers, and I looove DUIs”). Broad City is at its best when it focuses on its leads, but these two have enough comedic chemistry to distract from their absence.

I liked this episode well enough. It tried something new and it mostly payed off. The problem, however, was in the follow-through. Toward the end of the episode, “Citizen Ship” tried to return to its episodic format and hit the reset button. Ilana and Lincoln struggling to find a place to have sex—that wasn’t already occupied by other people having sex—was funny, but it was frustrating to see everything go back to normal afterward.

I liked how panicked Ilana became when she realized the direction she and Lincoln were heading in. I’m not saying we need an over-arching plot of her deciding to be in a more conventional relationship, but a subtle change in her character or a recurring theme of the season would be nice. Broad City offered us a different side to Ilana this week, but it took things back before we could really begin to explore it.

Still, there was a lot to love about this week’s entry. Jaime and Lincoln were so delightful together, and, above all else, Abbi and Ilana’s friendship remained true. If neither of them end up settling down, they’ll always have each other. Grade: B+

 

Some Other Notes:

– Okay so Abbi’s roommate Melanie is officially like the President on Veep. We’re just never going to see her.

– I love how Abbi continually wears the blue dress she bought in last season’s “Fattest Asses.” It’s a subtle move for the show to make, and yet it’s super realistic. If I spent over $400 on an outfit, I’d try to get the most use I could out of it too.

– “Can you believe that we live in a city where our ancestors came through on Ellis Island?” “Yeaaaah, mine didn’t….” Oh Lincoln, I love you.

– The finance bros simultaneously saying they live in “Murray Hill…but I’m moving to Williamsburg!” was spot-on and totally hilarious.

– Ilana trying so hard to be progressive that she actually ends up being offensive: “You know human-robot relationships will be the civil rights issue…of our lifetime.” Abbi’s “yeah, okay…” afterward was perfect.

– The frat bro that Jaime kisses is later seen getting a blowjob from another dude. Amazing.

– Equally as funny is how all the lawyers become super into Abbi once they think she’s transitioning into a man.

– Jaime’s American Flag contact lenses are absolutely terrifying.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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