Broad City: “Rat Pack” Season 3 Episode 4 Review

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Rat Bastards, Tinder problems, and a fancy gift basket all make for a stellar episode of Broad City.

Broad City has nailed the art of the cold open by this point, but this week’s episode begins with something truly special. Ilana and Jaime’s rat problem turns into found footage-style hilarity as we see everything from the rat’s point of view. This is great not only because it’s never not funny to watch these characters shriek at the sight of a rat, but also because it’s another opportunity to see a slice of the Broads’ daily lives. The rat spies on things like Ilana and Lincoln having sex, Lincoln making—and then dropping—a sandwhich, Ilana, Abbi, and Jaime dancing during a pregame. It even smokes some of Ilana’s weed. These details go by quickly, but it’s the weird, whimsical nature of them that makes Broad City the unique show that it is.

“Rat Pack” is also one of the only episodes that uses its cold open as a starting point for the story, as opposed to being completed disassociated from everything else that happens. Neither storytelling method is better than the other, but it’s a nice change of pace to see such a natural progression. The rat problems leads Ilana and Jaime to have to shell out $400 to an exterminator, who then leads them to discover a “Larry & David” gift basket waiting for them in the hallway. Jaime believes it to be from his parents, who have finally accepted his homosexuality, and so the two decided to throw a rager (and charge $10 a head to make their money back).

Naturally, it isn’t entirely smooth sailing at the party. Ilana discovers that the rat is still very much alive and decides she’ll have to kill it herself. Her schemes include dressing up like as what can only be described as a “sexy disco cat” and tap  dancing it out of hiding, and stealing a cat from her local bodega to hunt it down. Both plans are equally ineffective, but equally hilarious to watch. Ilana’s comment about the media reducing even cats to stereotypes is a perfect gem, especially coming from her character.

Abbi, meanwhile, has problems of her own after she gets a little too drunk with Trey at a work party and he kisses her. The episode plays this off brilliantly, having her laugh it off as no big deal and then stress about it at different points throughout the night. Her continuous cover-ups in front of Ilana when the subject almost arises are great bits of fun, as is her solution to try and forget it ever happened.

Abbi decides to join Tinder, and the results go as horribly as you’d expect them to. Though I was hoping for a slightly more astute satirization of mobile dating apps from a show as hip and current as Broad City, what we did get was still pretty entertaining: A series of dudes who, of course, look nothing like their pictures or have some terrible hidden feature that only surfaces once Abbi meets them in person. The fact that she didn’t realize she could swipe left the entire time was icing on the cake.

One of the best surprises about “Rat Pack” actually had nothing to do with Abbi or Ilana at all. Jaime got a chance to really shine, and Arturo Castro stood out as the episode’s MVP. His newfound confidence gives him some of the best lines of the half-hour, and his subplot takes some interesting turns as he receives the heartbreaking news that the gift basket wasn’t from his parents, and ends up meeting a cute guy in the same night. Jaime is most certainly a side character—this show is, and always will be, about the Broads, after all—but it’s incredibly refreshing that he doesn’t just exist to react to the goings-on of Ilana’s life. He has his own issues to deal with, and although they don’t get as much screen time, it’s always engrossing to watch when they do.

The episode ends with Abbi getting her wish to make out with someone that isn’t from her work, and Ilana gloriously celebrating her apartment rat giving birth to rat babies. Her sheer glee in the face of everyone else’s disgust is absolutely fantastic. Once again, Broad City has taken some mundane subjects and turned them into something extraordinary. Grade: A-

 

Some Other Notes:

  • The closing tag is an example of how TV can use its power of immediacy for good. Broad City responded to its real-life backlash of Ilana’s Latina earrings in the best, most self-aware way possible. Bravo.
  • Abbi’s Tinderrific response to kissing Trey might have been a bit of an extreme, but her confusion over whether or not it was a good thing felt very real. I like that the show left the door open for the possibility of romance, but hasn’t fully steered things in that direction yet.
  • Quick shoutout to Broad City‘s Costume Designer Staci Greenbaum for her totally killer looks this week. Everything from Ilana and Jaime’s coordinated overall outfits (see the featured image above) to Abbi’s adorable floral dress to Ilana’s hilarious disco cat costume was amazing.
  • Also amazing: the sight-gags this week. Ilana pulling weed out of weird places—the Russian nesting dolls!—is an obvious favorite, but I also highly enjoyed the smaller moments, like Abbi dropping her drink at the Soulstice party, only to have it bounce off a trampoline and right back into her hand.
  • “She’s like me! She’s a single gal!”

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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