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Broad City: Season 3
Yas, Queen. Stoners Abbi and Ilana are back at it in season 3 of the New York-set Broad City. As in the offbeat sitcom's earlier seasons, this batch of 10 episodes maintains a slacker-Seinfeld vibe of busy aimlessness while intermittently forcing its characters to confront their own selfish failings and grow up a little.
Creators and stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer don't majorly shake up the "smoke weed and act self-absorbed" formula that has been such a winner up until this point. As ever, their characters' bulletproof friendship anchors a show that otherwise takes off in all directions in search of whatever seems like fun.
In this go-round, Abbi finally becomes a full-fledged trainer at the gym where she has been working too long on the clean-up crew, while Ilana finally gets fired for being terrible at working. On the relationship front, would-be polyamorist Ilana cheers on her low-key beau Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) to hook up with other ladies and tell her all about it, while Abbi continues to flail romantically, unsure about the new feelings she has for her buff but bland coworker Trey (Paul W. Downs).
Otherwise, the season focuses on amusing one-off plots, like Abbi doing her best Ilana impression so that she doesn't get kicked out of her food co-op for failing to show up, a hellish excursion to the DMV, a trip to Abbi's childhood home which leads to an amends-making mission after Abbi realizes she wronged a former classmate, and a convoluted two-part season-ender where a free plane trip abroad is beset by problems both spiritual and biological.
Celebrity cameos abound, with Hillary Clinton likely being the highest profile. The former secretary of state is looser than she was in that millennial-courting Between Two Ferns video, but her presence still feels unnatural and shoehorned in, even if she's on-brand with the show's Snapchat-era feminism. Oscar winners Melissa Leo and Whoopi Goldberg pop up, the latter in full Sister Act attire for a dream sequence. '90s film comedy gets another hat tip later in the season during a Mrs. Doubtfire homage that quietly features a cameo from the film's former child co-star, Mara Wilson. Continuing down the nostalgia rabbit hole, Tony Danza, Alan Alda, Vanessa Williams, and Cynthia Nixon make appearances, as do Seth Green, Eugene Mirman, Rachel Dratch, Klown Forever's Adam Levine, and basketball star Blake Griffin.
Though some of the story ideas aren't as strong as last season, Broad City continues to be the best all-around package in TV comedy. There's a constant barrage of solid jokes. There's a winning ensemble of memorable characters (although one wishes for more screen time with Arturo Castro's deliciously catty Jaime and John Gemberling's endearingly boorish Bevers). There's just enough of a grounded character arc for our two stars to keep the show from devolving into total goofy nonsense. The show's fourth season debuts in August and, as long as the creative team just keeps doing what they've being doing so well already, it hopefully won't be the last either.
The 10 episodes of Broad City: Season 3 are packaged on 2 DVDs, along with a spiffy folded poster featuring a painting of the two stars.
The Video and Audio:
As with Season 2, the widescreen 1.78:1 image and Dolby 5.1 surround audio (with alternate Dolby 2.0 stereo audio also available) are a solid representation of a brand-new show -- except without the benefit of HD. The show's not a stunner in the traditional sense, but the creators have attempted to make the low-budget show a touch more stylish this go-round. The DVD does a fine job at reproducing those efforts. The disc has one subtitle option: English SDH.
(12:40 total) - Another batch of glorious web shorts centered around Ilana and Abbi Facetiming each other while funny stuff goes down.
Broad City is firmly in its groove, with just the right balance of outlandish gags and gently grounded character development. Time will tell, but it seems clear that Abbi and Ilana are a comedy duo for the ages. Highly Recommended.
Justin Remer is a frequent wearer of beards. His new album of experimental ambient music, Joyce, is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple, and wherever else fine music is enjoyed. He directed a folk-rock documentary called Making Lovers & Dollars, which is now streaming. He also can found be found online reading short stories and rambling about pop music.