Broad City: “Coat Check” Season 2 Episode 9 Review

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In the penultimate episode of the season, Abbi and Ilana meet their matches.

Celebrities making fun of themselves is nothing new. Just turn on any old episode of Entourage to watch an A-Lister skewer their public image by playing a total whackjob, or an outright asshole. Still, there was something especially wonderful about watching the darling Kelly Ripa—or, as the show puts it, America’s Sweetheart, Kelly Ripa—sling back moonshine and order male prostitutes to her apartment like it was her job.

Really, though, what made this episode so special is that it took Abbi and Ilana’s free-spirited and adventurous personalities and put them in situations that were a little too much to handle. The broads are always able to get themselves out of a sticky situation through cunning, connections, or just sheer force of will, but this time they were totally out of their comfort zones. It was absolutely hilarious.

What’s so interesting about this episode is that it diverts the narrative several times into insignificant, but entirely interesting subplots so that that you’re left guessing at the story’s true purpose until the very end. Normally, this would’ve pissed me off, but Broad City‘s handling of loose plot structure is so seamless that the whole thing became cohesive by the episode’s completion. Like a lot of the series, it perfectly embodied one of those crazy stories you tell your friends that just goes around in circles until everything comes together at the end.

Abbi’s main plot of the night is getting to meet her hero Kelly Ripa, while Ilana further explores her sexuality with a woman who looks just like her (played to perfection by Arrested Development‘s Alia Shawkat). Yet, before the two really delve deep into their respective adventures, there’s the sendup of elitist culture in the coat check scene, and a search for a missing coat that leads the ladies first to an orgy, and then to the apartment of a sad Civil War buff. It’s a lot to ingest, for sure, but the whole thing flows together so well, that I was both excited and extremely ready for when the storylines really kicked into high gear.

For Abbi, this happens literally. After returning Kelly Ripa’s coat, the two bond over their mutual love of Bed, Bath, and Beyond—“I practically live there”—and end up drinking, smoking, and slurring their words together. Ripa totally nails her delivery, taking her charming personality and inverting it into something more twisted. When Abbi opens a secret door in her kitchen to reveal S&M gear, it just fits in with the rest of the experience so well.

Of course, then the prostitutes arrive, and Abbi realizes that her idol might be a little too wild, even for her. Abbi’s character has never been afraid to take risks, and yet she constantly has a level of domesticity that makes her both relatable and differentiates her from Ilana. I like that, especially this season, her id and her ego are balanced quite nicely.

Ilana, meanwhile, becomes instantly attracted to a woman named Adele whom she meets when working the coat check with Abbi. The best part about this storyline is…well, actually, there’s a lot that’s the best. It could’ve so easily been a gimmick: oh hey! They look like each other! Haha! But it ended up being so much more.

First of all, Abbi and Jaime’s non-reaction to Ilana being with a woman is something to celebrate. Hopefully, with time, the idea of sexual fluidity will just become part of the mainstream, but for now it’s amazing that there’s a show out there not making a big deal about a girl deciding she wants to try being with another girl. This is just who Ilana is, as evidenced by…pretty much everything she’s ever said. It’s honestly not that surprising, and I’m glad the episode was able to present this as a fact, and then quickly move forward.

Second, there’s the brilliant concept that Ilana, the girl who practically wears a badge proclaiming her progressiveness and sexual open-mindedness, is actually itching to just get it on with herself. The fact that she doesn’t even realize this until Abbi points it out to her is even better. Ilana may be a revolutionary, but let’s face it. She can also get pretty into herself. “Coat Check” was the ultimate realization of that, and when things got too real, Ilana had to back out. It also helps that Adele admitted she doesn’t smoke weed. Like, so lame, amiright?

This episode ends like a lot of Broad City episodes do, with Abbi and Ilana lounging together as they reminisce on the bizarre experiences they’ve just had. This time, though, their recuperation period feels especially deserved. Both ladies went down roads they thought would be amazing and ended up coming up short. Still, no matter where they go off to, they know they can always go back to each other. Grade: A


Some Other Notes:

– If they ever need another doppelgänger for Ilana and Shawkat has scheduling conflicts, might I also suggest Tatiana Maslany?

– “Who had the Chanel jacket?” “Mine!” “That was a trick question. There is no Chanel. Do NOT play with me guys. NOT TODAY!” –Abbi, Queen of the Coat Check

– Speaking of Queens, Ilana’s orgasm noise is “yass queen,” to which I can only respond with “yaaas, Queen!”

– My favorite Kelly Ripa line: “Everyone expects me to be America’s good girl…but I’ve gotten to this point in my life where I’ve accomplished so much. I give no f*cks.” So badass. It’s only made better by Abbi following up with, “I hate f*cks, they’re the worst!”

– I like how Abbi still sort of wants a prostitute even after Ilana admitted to not knowing where to find one. Girl is hardcore.



By Mike Papirmeister


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