Broad City: “Game Over” Season 3 Episode 3 Review

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Abbi and Ilana handle new job responsibilities in very different ways.

I stand by the statement I made last week of Broad City‘s greatest moments occurring when its two leads are in the same scene. Still, it doesn’t mean the show can’t mine greatness from their time spent apart. “Game Over” doesn’t gel quite as well as the season opener, or the incredible switching places episode that followed it, but it’s still a solid episode of Broad City, especially since it found a way to make Abbi and Ilana even more interesting.

Both ladies gain new responsibilities at their respective jobs, which was an extremely smart move. Although it’s fun to watch Abbi squirm with discomfort at her cleaner duties, or witness Ilana’s complete disregard of social decorum at Deals! Deals! Deals!, these are jokes that all have the same punchline, and there’s limited replay value in that. Taking things to the next level makes it intriguing. How will these ladies handle moving up the corporate ladder?

Abbi handles her promotion to trainer quite well, but not in the way you’d expect. She’s good at her job, until it comes time for the “Soulstice Games,” a series a trainer bonding exercises. The expected route for this plot would be for Abbi to fail miserably at the games, seeing as how we’ve never really seen her sense of athleticism except for the time she broke a glass mirror during a training session, or when she rollerbladed into a ditch.

Perhaps those experiences came out of moments of aggression instead of ineptitude, however, because “Game Over’s” big reveal is that Abbi has a nasty competitive streak once she gets into the zone. Ilana recognizes this immediately during a phone call to her, but it’s too late. Abbi spends the day furiously hurling insults at her fellow trainers, all culminating in her smacking the sh*t out of Gemma when she jokingly calls her a cleaner.

I like this turn for Abbi because, though it’s initially surprising, it’s a layer of her persona that makes sense the more you think about it. Though the basic makeup of the series paints her as more of the straight woman to Ilana’s wild child, she’s never truly been a passive person. Consider the season 1 episode “Fattest Asses” when she kicks down a bathroom stall door in an effort to pee, or her pure adrenaline rush after accidentally stabbing herself with Ilana’s epipen in “The Last Supper.” There’s even the cold open from last week which, though totally disconnected from the rest of the episode, shows Abbi getting scarily competitive with a bunch of children.  All of this adds up to a character trait that’s been brewing just below the surface until now. Seeing it in full force was both frightening and spectacular.

Ilana, meanwhile, has more of a rollercoaster ride at her job. First, she’s promoted to social media coordinator by a sleek investor (played by the incomparable Vanessa Williams) who’s come to revitalize the company and thinks she’s got her fingers on the pulse of millennial culture. Really, though, Ilana has an affinity for memes and viral videos that are several years too old.

Things are looking up, until she tweets the infamous Mr. Hands video—remember that from the early 2000s, guys?—on the company account. Ilana is promptly fired by both her boss Todd and the investor. The move is also a bit shocking because, up until now, Ilana has basically been getting away with murder at work. Yet, there’s also a subtle history here as well. The last time she tried to succeed at work in “Mochalatta Chills,” she ended up pushing her interns to the limit. Here, she’s once again taken things too far, but the consequences are much more severe.

This is easily the most absurdist episode of the season so far, starting with Ilana wearing a dog hoodie as a shirt, and ending with her co-worker Nicole’s fantasy sequence where she and the rest of the Deals! Deals! Deals! employees bust out into a gospel song featuring Whoopi Goldberg in her Sister Act costume. Still, the show was able to ground itself in some real character progression, and the end results have opened this series up to even more possibilities. Grade: B+

 

Some Other Thoughts:

  • This week’s cold open was most definitely a reference to The Sandlot—especially with the old man being named Squints—and I loved every second of it.
  • Abbi now knows where all the pubes she had to clean up came from, and she is NOT happy about it.
  • I do wish the episode featured Vanessa Williams more because no one plays a chic executive quite like her.
  • You guys, Trey is hot.
  • Abbi’s Red Rover video at the end was comedy gold.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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