Broad City: “Co-Op” Season 3 Episode 2 Review

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Abbi as Ilana is one of the best thing this show has done yet.

Broad City‘s strongest scenes are the ones in which Abbi and Ilana are together. Though episodes like “Working Girls” and “Knockoffs” offer some incredibly fun and adventurous looks into both of the ladies’ individual lives, there’s just no matching the frenetic energy of the two of them inhabiting the same space.

That being said, if the show is going to separate them, there might not be a better use of their solo time than “Co-Op.” A switching places episode is surprisingly new territory for the series, but the results are no less amazing. Truthfully, Abbi and Ilana leave such an immediate impression, that this concept could’ve worked in season 2, or even late into season 1. The fact that it happened now, though, is so much better, because there is so much more material for the ladies to draw on.

“Co-Op” centers around Abbi needing to impersonate Ilana to cover her shift at a local food co-op with very strict rules about working hours and shift sharing. (Quick Aside: I don’t belong to a co-op myself, but from what I’ve heard from friends, the depiction in this episode is not that far off.) Though Ilana, in turn, becomes Abbi on her way to a doctors appointment, the episode presents more of a one-sided switch. This was Abbi Jacobson’s time to shine, and she took her material and ran like hell with it.

It would’ve been easy—and lazy—for the episode to rely on a broader caricature of Ilana for Abbi to play off of. Instead, “Co-Op” mines its humor from the smaller details of Ilana’s personality, that make Abbi’s impression of her seem all the more genuine. Of course there are the familiar moments of “Yaas Queen!” and wall-twerking, but there are also great little moments, like Ilana teaching Abbi to fold her upper lip when she smiles, or Abbi saying “and another thing” with a Rastafarian accent, that are equally as funny.

The best part about Jacobson’s performance is that although she nails her Ilana impersonation, it’s also very clear that she’s playing Abbi playing Ilana. In fact, being Ilana for a day actually empowers her to make bolder choices about issues that normally trouble her. When a co-op worker assigns her to clean hair in the bathroom, Abbi immediately recoils, flashing back to her less-than-glamorous job at Soulstice. Yet, as Ilana, she’s able to get assigned to another position, and even start talking to a cute guy.

The guy in question is a total match for Abbi, but as Ilana she has to talk about herself in the third person. This turns out to be a plus, however, because real-life Ilana is constantly singing Abbi’s praises. When Abbi (as Ilana) says that her friend is “an undiscovered genius with the ass of an angel” it sounds exactly like something the real Ilana would say. Basically, Abbi is able to brag about herself all day without the pressure or awkwardness that this sort of meeting usually entails. It’s a great moment for her, and great for us as an audience as we get to see a more confident Abbi take the spotlight.

The real Ilana, meanwhile, goes to the doctor to get her HPV vaccine and ends up finding out that Lincoln hooked up with another girl. The show takes a smart route here, having her act out a typical—well, Ilana’s version of typical—reaction that a TV character would have to this news, only to flip the tables and have her shout how hot she thinks it is. Right from the pilot episode, Ilana told Lincoln that their relationship was “purely physical” and that she wasn’t looking to define it seriously. It makes sense that the news of him embracing her open policy would turn her on rather than piss her off. Jealousy is not something that Ilana Wexler experiences, and its fantastic that this show can feature an open relationship right alongside Abbi’s quest to find her hipster Prince Charming and not hold any judgement for either.

The episode ends with Ilana’s co-op switcheroo scheme crashing and burning, as her terrible Abbi impersonation leads to the truth being revealed. Guest star Melissa Leo is hilariously terrifying as the stern, earthy manager of the co-op, banishing the both of them from all co-ops, and Whole Foods, for life.

Though the ladies will now be relegated to a life of “vending machine food and bodega veggies,” things close on a positive note. Ilana is in a happy open relationship, and Abbi got to step outside her comfort zone. We also got to see her wall-twerk and then knock over several cans of beans. Everybody wins. Grade: A

Some Other Notes:

  • I couldn’t find a place to talk about it in my actual review, but the cold open is absolutely hysterical.
  • I appreciated the very brief re-appearance of Bingo Bronson
  • “This is a Prius.” “I know, but I call it my Lincoln Towncar because I’m Lincoln, and we’re going to drive around town in it.”
  • Ilana’s impersonation of Abbi: “I love pugs. My family comes from a long line of colonial Jews.”
  • I love how detailed the episode gets into Lincoln’s secret hookup. Particularly how they spooned and watched YouTube videos of news anchor fails. And Lincoln was the little spoon.
  • “Don’t try to butter me up, I’m a vegan.”
  • Ilana has never heard a phucking Phish song, but she gets the gist of it.

One Response to Broad City: “Co-Op” Season 3 Episode 2 Review

  1. Molly says:

    LOVE that blue fringe fanny pack on Abbi!

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