I think Broad City is one of the funniest shows on television, and I was happy for the return of its fourth season Wednesday night. I caught a sneak preview of the premiere last summer during their panel at SDCC but had to wait almost two months to see the episode in its entirety. This episode was entitled “Sliding Doors”, as it heavily referenced the late nineties romantic drama of the same name. This episode in itself is a different kind of love story as it is a flashback telling the origin of Abbi’s and Ilana’s friendship.
Similar to the movie, the episode begins with our two stars in an NYC subway station where Abbi’s metro card is out of cash so Ilana swipes her in. They race to the platform and are able to catch their train in time before the doors shut. Once inside, they find spots away from each other and carry on with their day. The scene is then rewound and replayed, but this time the subway doors close in front of their faces before they can board. Afterwards they introduce themselves to each other and thus starts the alternate time line.
In the boarded train time line, where Ilana and Abbi do not formally meet, both seem to have one of their worst days. Ilana is kicked in the face by performing breakdancers, walks into her suitemates having a meeting about her, forgets to do her class presentation, and has her shirt caught in a passing bicyclists wheel and ends up roaming the streets of New York in her bra. Abbi does not fare any better as she is harassed by a street vendor, has her pony tail cut off by the notorious NYC Snipper, and inadvertently sets the stage for her roommate’s boyfriend, Bevers, to squat in her apartment.
In contrast in the separate missed train time line, the two hit it off and have the type of fun day that we are accustomed to seeing in the series. They smoke a bowl in the park, see a fortune-teller, and Abbi gets an Oprah tramp stamp. In these scenes, you can see how the friends lift each other up and complement each other, as Ilana defends Abbi from the previously mentioned street vendor and Abbi compliments Ilana’s curly hair, a trait she is self-conscious and sensitive about.
Both storylines converge in an area where both characters frequent, where Ilana likes to smoke and where Abbi gets pizza. In the happy storyline, they end their fun-filled day with plans to meet up again. In the other storyline, they reconnect and remember each other from earlier that day. Misery loves company and the two quickly bond after their depressing days. It seems their friendship was destined to be and no twist of fate could keep them apart.
I feel this episode was more focused on the great storytelling about the Abbi/Ilana origin and did not have as many laughs as a typical episode, but there were a couple amusing scenes. I tend to like the smaller gags, so I enjoyed the part in the sad time line where Abbi is in a frozen yogurt place and you can see outside, through the window that Ilana is walking by, and they are both miserable while their Asian doppelgänger are at another table having the time of their lives. Also, I enjoyed that, during the suitemates’ anti-Ilana meeting, they had a PowerPoint presentation and the title screen included an animation with Ilana’s picture and a circle with the line through it.
Other interesting notes from the episode include:
- When Bevers first arrived to NY, he was thin, jacked, and hot.
- Ilana was previously romantically involved with her current gay roommate Jaimé.
- Much like the episode screened during SDCC, this episode had little jabs towards the current president as they rewound a crazy homeless man’s dialog, he predicted Trump being president, and they had an unflattering picture of the Donald and focused on the text “America is Watching You’re Fired” on a bus ad for The Apprentice.
Broad City airs Wednesday nights at 10:30pm after South Park on Comedy Central.