film fatales #53: captain marvel (anna boden and ryan fleck, 2019)
film fatale: agnès varda, 1928-2019

broad city series finale

In the end, Broad City mattered so much more than we could have expected when it began.

It was always a comedy, full of what were, to cite the title of one of the last episodes, "shenanigans". The shenanigans were what you told your friends about the day after an episode ... and after 49 episodes (not including the web series), there were plenty of them: trying and failing to see Lil Wayne, Abbi hallucinating a giant Bingo Bronson stuffed toy, Abbi filling in for Ilana at the latter's food co-op, the pegging episode. And Broad City always made use of guest stars playing themselves in delightfully off-center ways: a hard-partying Kelly Ripa, Hillary Clinton as Hillary Clinton, a well-endowed basketball star Blake Griffin, Shania Twain getting a workout. Not to mention the perfect casting of Susie Essman as Ilana's mom, and Alia Shawkat as Ilana's doppelganger. But even when there was stunt casting, Broad City's center was Abbi and Ilana.

And in the final two seasons, the series became arguably less funny, with a tone that wasn't exactly serious, but which showed more of how the real world tried to impinge on the women's friendship. This last season in particular sees Abbi and Ilana faced with growing up. It's not that their younger selves were exposed as trivial, far from it, but the characters must move on, just as the real-life Abbi and Ilana have more projects on which to work, together and separately. The final season matters more because of the first four seasons, because the friendship of Abbi and Ilana was so accurate and imperfect and loyal that our knowledge that the series was ending, and the way the show itself dealt with this ending, was heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure.

One reason their connection was so strong was because they accepted each other's quirks, they had no boundaries, neither of them was perfect, which made their friendship seem more perfect. In the final episode, Glazer and Jacobson create a situation that is believable and excruciating, just as it would be in real life. But, as the final shot demonstrates, not only does the world go on, but the world is filled with best friends living lives together, unbeknownst to the world at large.



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