Season finale review: 'Broad City' - 'St. Mark's': Stop, we're the FBI!
A few thoughts on tonight's "Broad City" finale — and season 2 as a whole — coming up just as soon as I get distracted by this business Guido...
The only thing that I didn't absolutely love about "St. Mark's" was the fact that it's the last episode of "Broad City" we're going to get in 2015. Even by the standards of the 10-episode season that's becoming the new normal in cable, this season seemed to just fly by, perhaps because I was having so much damn fun watching it. I would rather Abbi and Ilana keep the quality high rather than being overextended (and even with only 10 episodes, they did turn out one semi-dud with the largely forgettable party boat outing), but I'm going to miss those two and the explosive laughter they so often generated this season.
And it's not even like the show took some huge creative leap after season 1. That the stars had spent a while making the web series meant that the TV show got to skip over most of the usual bumps and growing pains a new comedy has to deal with. The biggest difference between the two seasons was simply the caliber of guest star, as the show quickly became beloved enough to land Seth Rogen, Amy Ryan, Kelly Ripa and, here, Patricia Clarkson, who turned her miserable drunken mess of a mom character into a five-course meal. But the core of the show (and the quality) remains the same: two friends having slightly surreal adventures, often but not always involving sex and/or drugs, in a hostile, unforgiving city that still offers a world of possibility. As much as I enjoyed all the guest stars (also including Susie Essman and Alia Shawkat), most of the season's best and funniest moments involved one or both of the stars, whether Abbi's various musical numbers (lip-synching in the nude to Lady Gaga, or channeling Judy Garland while blackout drunk) or Ilana's handstand upon learning that Abbi was being invited to peg Jeremy.
Even many of the episodes mirrored their counterparts in season 1, including the finale again involving a birthday dinner gone awry. Ilana's present being temporarily stolen by Johnny from "The Wire" wasn't quite as catastrophic as her allergy attack at Abbi's birthday dinner last year, but I loved the way the episode (directed by Nicholas Jasenovec) turned the eponymous lower Manhattan street (really, a subsection of 8th Street) into a character in its own right, and how the frame was always filled with tragicomic stories in miniature, whether the sad business Guido, or the woman eating food that had just dropped on the sidewalk, or the three drunk friends who were much further along in their night than our heroines were in theirs. The episode was so densely packed with gags both big (the impromptu performance of the climax from "Dear Uncle") and small (the hostess calling out for "Scott Wolf, party of five," which was set up by the earlier bit with Abbi and Ilana as Lil Wayne) that the episode almost felt like a miniature "Broad City" movie.
I will miss this show a ton while it's gone, but I also appreciate that, as with so many of the best shows on cable — and this is absolutely one of those — the shorter season is one of the reasons it's so great.
What did everybody else think, of both "St. Mark's" and season 2?