Unruly Women in Media: The Ladies of ‘Broad City’

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in BROAD CITY (Image Credit: Comedy Central)

Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in BROAD CITY (Image Credit: Comedy Central)

Hello, and welcome back to the Unruly Women series! Last week, we looked at Samantha Jones, the overtly sexual, successful, Manhattan woman from Sex and the City. This week, we’ll be talking about two Manhattan girls who have the blatant sexuality of Samantha, but are nowhere near as well off, and have about a 20-year age gap with the notorious socialite. I’m talking about the one and only power duo, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from Broad City.

Now I know that we’ve been focusing in on individual characters the past few weeks, but it didn’t feel right to exclude either of the girls from this week’s article. Abbi and Ilana are virtually inseparable. For anyone who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to watch the Comedy Central show, the story revolves around two best friends living in New York City. They embody your typical somewhat-recent college graduate lifestyle: broke, working less than exciting jobs, and still unable to accept the responsibilities that come along with adulthood.

Abbi works at her local gym. Although she has big dreams of becoming a fitness instructor, her main job is cleaning up various messes in the locker rooms. Ilana works for a sales company where she can rarely be depended on to get anything done. She’s more often seen getting high and taking naps in the bathroom stalls than she is at her desk.

The girls’ main focuses are typically solving mundane problems, like finding air conditioning units and securing Lil Wayne tickets and generally just having a great time. These may not sound like the most praise-worthy qualities, but can you really blame them?

Abbi and Ilana truly could not care less about what anybody thinks of them, and in my opinion, that is their greatest strength. They’ll strip down in Central Park with no hesitation and eat pizza together under a blanket on a busy corner of St. Mark’s Place without a second thought. Sure, Abbi might be a little weirded out by the fact that her old drug dealer is now a married mother of two when she calls her up to buy some pot, but this certainly doesn’t make her feel the need to fit that mold (as we can see very clearly as she screams, “I am NOT A MOM” to a cardboard cutout at the print center in a subsequent episode). Who cares if she’s 26? Abbi is in no rush to become what the rest of society is urging her to be.

As for Ilana, she’s on a journey to find her sexuality more than anything else. Both of the girls are, in a way, but Ilana has absolutely no reluctance in anything that she does. In terms of this sort of exploration, the world is her oyster. She experiments with all types of men, and even has a small stint seeing a woman who is practically her clone. When the notorious pegging conversation goes down between Abbi and Ilana (I’ll leave that to you to look up if you’re in the dark), Ilana couldn’t be any more supportive of her best friend in trying out something new and empowering. She even does a little dance for her in the knockoff bag shop in Chinatown and captivates her family at her grandmother’s Shiva while explaining what Abbi had reluctantly done earlier that morning.

The point I’m trying to make here is not that these girls are necessarily role models because they’re slackers and enjoy certain illegal substances and have promiscuous tendencies. Rather, Abbi and Ilana are such significant characters because they do exactly what they want without an ounce of shame, and are confident in themselves every step of the way. They make plenty of mistakes, but are always willing to accept that about themselves, and they date plenty of men, but always are each other’s number one at the end of the day. They have their priorities straight at this specific point in their lives, and right now, all they need to be content are each other.

Come back next week for the final Unruly Women installment!

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