Broad City 4.5 Recap: The Awkwardness Of A Girl’s Night Out With Your Mom

by Gary Catig

In Broad City 4.5, our heroines are frantically cleaning up Abbi’s apartment and making it presentable. They are expecting a special guest, Abbi’s mom, so anything a conservative Jewish mother would find offensive or could nag about needed to be taken care of. That includes picking up the dirty laundry off the floor, throwing away half drunk Starbucks in the fridge, and most definitely hiding all the drugs and Plan B pills.  Although they did leave a dildo out in the open, since Abbi’s mom would not know what it is and just think it’s a kooky decoration.
While waiting for her mom’s arrival, Abbie goes over her specially planned day with Ilana, but something is wrong. Ilana is not her normal high spirited and energetic self. Well, it just so happens it’s winter in the land of Broad City and Ilana is suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The lack of sun has affected her disposition and to compensate, instead of taking her medication, she uses special SAD lighting to lift her spirits.

Abbi’s mom, Joanne (Peri Gilpin), finally arrives and is welcomed to a decorated sign and a labeled cheese plate. As they catch up, Joanne reveals she had a breast cancer scare but luckily it turned out to be benign. After the ordeal, she realizes that there is still so much in life that she wants to experience like drinking a Martini, having a pineapple barbecue pizza from Hawaii, going commando, or most importantly, have a naughty girl’s night out with her daughter. Though hesitant, Abbi is willing to humor her mother and changes her plans for the day. It seems Joanne gets an early start to letting loose as she playfully flirts with Abbi’s roommate Bevers.
Meanwhile at Ilana’s work, they are doing some cleaning of their own. Tonight at the restaurant, there is a competition where the server with the most tips takes all the tips and the lowest tipped person is the dead weight and is fired. Unfortunately for Ilana, her SAD places her at a severe disadvantage as she does not have the energy to provide top service and charm her customers. She spends the night trying to increase the potency of her SAD light therapy by using higher watt bulbs, aluminum foil to mimic the tanning mirrors in cartoons, and a meat carving heat lamp as an additional light source.

Abbi and Joanne end their night at Ilana’s restaurant for dinner. They start off pretty tame by ordering some cocktails and shots, but it soon devolves into the embarrassing time one would expect on a mischievous night out with your mom. To ease some of her anxiety, Abbie shares a joint with her mom but it only compounds the awkwardness.  They soon discuss their sex lives, including how many partners Abbi has had and Joanne’s frustrations with her husband to the point where she pleasured herself with a cough syrup bottle instead. Joanne is so intoxicated from booze and weed that she falls into the restaurant fountain.
The fountain incident is the last straw for Ilana since it was her friend’s mom.  Compounded with her lack of tips for the night, she is scolded by her boss Marcel (Rupaul). She is ready to be fired as her SAD has made her completely apathetic to the situation. Marcel, in his own way, becomes sympathetic for her condition and decides not to fire her. They are soon interrupted by a coworker informing them of drama in the back alley. That drama is Joanne making out with one of the waiters. She finally has her chance to be adventurous by kissing a bisexual man with tongue.
In the credits scene, Ilana realizes she was ashamed to take her medications for SAD since she was worried about the shame and stigma. Abbi and Ilana also take Joanne dildo shopping for the next time she feels unfulfilled.
This was a very relatable episode of Broad City as I remember how awkward the transition was from a child/adult relationship to one of two adults between myself and my parents. I was always uneasy about how much to reveal to them or to ask the questions I wouldn’t dare ask when I was kid. It was never to the extent as Abbi and her mom, but I felt it brought us closer together. It seems it also brought Abbi and Joanne closer as they are comfortable enough with their relationship that they can shop for sex toys together.
Other interesting episode notes:

  • Though not a filled wall off various political causes like Ilana, Abbi does have an Angie’s List poster on her refrigerator.
  • In addition to her lamps, Ilana also uses a picture of Lil Wayne to manage her SAD.
  • Significant time has passed since Ilana started working at Sushi Mambeaux and how come they haven’t tried to improve their “B” restaurant cleanliness rating.

Broad City airs on Comedy Central on Wednesday nights.

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