Broad City: “Hashtag FOMO” Season 2 Episode 5 Review

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Broad City yet again takes a simple premise and elevates into something fantastic.

I was a bit nervous going into this episode because, full disclosure, I’ve never really gotten the big deal about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, for those of you too lazy to use Urban Dictionary). Perhaps it’s because I have the great fortune of living in New York, where there’s something interesting happening just about every second. If you miss out, who cares? There’s always next time.

That being said, I totally understand the pursuit of a perfect night out. Being at a bad party is worse than being at no party at all, and it takes a certain type of stamina to continually seek out the ideal locale. Abbi and Ilana’s party tour reminded me a lot of some of my own nights out…and then things got ridiculously, wonderfully, weird. In short, Broad City did what Broad City does best.

Our journey begins at Trey’s apartment, and it’s about as awkward as you’d expect from a social gathering with work employees whom you’re not particularly close with. Except, this is maybe a little worse because there are “Cliff bars for the guys” and “Luna bars for the girls.”

Ilana’s buzzkill detector immediately goes off, and as soon as Abbi can make up a lie about having tapeworm (first HIV, and now tapeworm…you’re on a roll, girl) the broads are out the door. What’s interesting, and a little heartbreaking, about this scene is that we later find out that Trey really does care for Abbi. He might not think of her as his “best friend,” as one of her other co-workers insists, but he cares.

This episode reminded so much of last season’s “Stolen Phone”—and surprise! They were both penned by SNL writer Chris Kelly—in that it takes you on a warped tour of New York City. While “Phone” sees the ladies traveling through the different tourist spots of Manhattan, “Hashtag FOMO” is a ride through the various echelons of the New York party scene.

Ilana becomes determined to find “the Narnia of Partias,” and so we see the two ladies go from Trey’s to a casual kickback with Jaime to a swanky wine and cheese soiree with Lincoln, and finally to a rooftop rave that earns the ranking of a 10.

Each of these scenes is made distinct both in the visual quality of the parties—Lincoln’s wine and cheese function feels like a whole different world than Jaime’s lazy stoner hangout—and in the activities that occur. Ilana talks about gay tokenism while she tokes up with Jaime’s latest squeeze, makes penis jokes over hors d’oeuvres with Lincoln, and dances the night away on the roof. Abbi, meanwhile, gets drunk, and while this doesn’t seem important at first, it becomes absolutely essential as the night goes on.

By the time the roof party gets shut down by the cops, Abbi is a slurring, stumbling mess. She leads Ilana down a back alley while continually mumbling about someone named Val. Eventually, the two end up in what appears to be a 1920s speakeasy—but might actually be a real bar called Back Room? I think? Help me out here fellow NYCers!—and that’s when things really turn up a notch.

People do crazy things when they get blackout drunk. Abbi’s thing is that she suddenly becomes a 1920s lounge singer named Val. This isn’t the first time she’s been to this bar, and what’s so great about Jacobson’s performance here is that it’s a mixture of confident swagger and drunken slurs.

Val immediately owns the room, singing the classic Judy Garland number “Get Happy.” She shoots pool like a pro, and jokes around with the local—all elderly—bar patrons. She says things like “aren’t you a hot diggity dog and a scalawag to boot” without any trace of irony, and it’s terrific. When Ilana complains that she can’t believe she’s been missing out on this side of her best friend, Val merely replies, “you’re always so worried about missing out on life, you never bother to actually live.”

Herein lies the real problem with FOMO. You can spend all your time in pursuit of the perfect night, and miss the good times that are right in front of you. What I liked so much about this episode is that it doesn’t totally berate the girls for party-hopping—they do, in fact, end up in surreal, Narnia-esque territory—and yet it shows that the whole concept of FOMO is a little ridiculous. Above all else, it does what a lesser series wouldn’t even think to do. It takes the basic concept of two friends going out for the night, and turns it into something magical. Grade: A-


Some Other Notes:

– YOU. GUYS. Garol, everyone’s favorite yogurt-eating postal worker, made an appearance at the Val bar and subsequently made my night.

– Actually, what really made my night is when Abbi/Val takes out her nose ring, goes “I love diamonds,” and then swallows it whole. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard.

– Abbi and Ilana on the hit musical RENT: “I don’t understand how they thought they just didn’t need to pay rent.” “Yeah, like it sucks, but EVERYBODY has to pay rent.” Oh god, I love you ladies.

– I’ve been slightly obsessed with Ilana’s outfits all season and her party dress with her open snake necklace was no exception. Keep on killin’ it, miss Wexler.

– Poor Abbi can’t catch a break. She spends the whole night being amazing as Val, and then comes to work to find out another employee got promoted to trainer at Trey’s party. That’s some real FOMO karma right there.

– How has Ilana not been fired from her job yet?

– I’m really glad we got some solid Lincoln moments in this episode, Hannibal Buress never ceases to make me smile.

– “What just happened?” “It’s a black-irish goodbye. He always does it.”


By Mike Papirmeister


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