Co-Creator of Broad City
"Abbi Jacobson is an American comedian, writer, actress and illustrator. She is known for co-creating and co-starring in the Comedy Central series Broad City with Ilana Glazer, based on the web series of the same name…
She moved to New York City after graduating from MICA in 2006; she began taking classes with the Atlantic Theater Company and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where she met Ilana Glazer…
From 2009 to 2011, Jacobson and Glazer wrote and performed in a web series titled Broad City, which focused on their lives in New York. The series was nominated for an ECNY Award for Best Web Series. It was well received by critics and developed a cult following. At the Upright Citizens Brigade, Jacobson and Glazer adapted the series into a live show that they performed in, called Broad City Live.
In 2011, cable network FX, working with Amy Poehler as the producer, purchased a script commitment for the series from Glazer and Jacobson. However, the network did not approve the script and decided not to proceed with development. Glazer and Jacobson then approached Comedy Central, who agreed to purchase the script from FX and order a pilot.
Broad City made its broadcast television premiere in January 2014 and was received with positive reviews and strong ratings, becoming Comedy Central's highest-rated first season since 2012 among the younger demographics, including adults 18-34, with an average of 1.2 million viewers.
The show has received critical acclaim from fans and critics alike. Review aggregation website Metacritic noted season 1 received "generally favorable reviews," giving it a score of 75 out of 100, based on reviews from 14 critics. Karen Valby from Entertainment Weekly described the show as a "deeply weird, weirdly sweet, and completely hilarious comedy." The Wall Street Journal referred to the show as "Sneak Attack Feminism." Critic Megan Angelo quotes Abbi Jacobson, main star of Comedy Central's Broad City: "If you watch one of our episodes, there’s not a big message, but if you watch all of them, I think, they’re empowering to women.” The A.V. Club critic Caroline Framke wrote that Broad City was "worth watching" despite its "well-trod premise," and that the series is "remarkably self-possessed, even in its first episode."
Season one of the show received a 96% "Certified Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, based on reviews from 23 critics, with the site's consensus stating, "From its talented producers to its clever writing and superb leads, Broad City boasts an uncommonly fine pedigree." The A.V. Club named Broad City the second best TV show of 2014 for its first season.
In February 2014, Comedy Central renewed the show for a second season. Season two received positive reviews, with Metacritic giving it a score of 89 out of 100, based on reviews from 8 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." Rotten Tomatoes gave the second season a rating of 100%, based on reviews from 11 critics, with the site's consensus: "Led by two of the funniest women on TV, Broad City uses its stars' vibrant chemistry to lend an element of authenticity to the show's chaotic yet enlightening brand of comedy."
In January 2015, the series was then renewed for a third season, which premiered on February 17, 2016. In January 2016, the series was renewed for a fourth and a fifth season.” (1)
Ann Friedman writes for the Guardian that “I quickly realized why so many friends wanted to talk about the show with me. Ilana and Abbi are our people. They are truly casual about sex, not simply feigning detachment in the name of empowerment. They are feminists who call each other “dude”. They have so many inside jokes that listening to them can be like trying to decipher a code. They wear a combination of “flea market vintage, American Apparel, H&M.” They smoke so much weed. But for all of their immature hedonism, they manage to come off as not entirely selfish. As BuzzFeed put it: “Misery loves BFFs”. They are more obsessed with each other than they are with men.
This is a departure for women-centric comedy. In the past, most movies and shows with female protagonists focused more on their romantic relationships than their friendships. Sex and the City spent far more airtime on Carrie’s dating life than it did exploring the nuances of female friendship. Shining cinematic examples like Bridesmaids with believable relationships between women still couldn’t resist a romantic subplot. The girls of Girls don’t even like each other very much, they’ve just known each other a long time and seem unwilling or unable to make real friends. Ilana and Abbi demonstrate what I absolutely found to be true in my 20s: when your job is falling far short of what you hoped and men are nothing but disappointment, your life is about your best girlfriends.
Pop culture has nodded toward the imperfect female lead for decades. But usually these leading ladies are glossy caricatures, Kate Hudsons and Drew Barrymores, with problems like, “I’m too focused on my glamorous career to find love” or “I feign awkwardness when really I’m running around Manhattan in five-inch Jimmy Choos.” These protagonists’ supposedly relatable flaws were the exceptions that proved the rule: they were actually pretty close to attaining the unattainable holy trinity of perfect body, perfect job, perfect man.
In a way that doesn’t feel like obvious parody, Broad City sends up all of these tropes. In one scene, Abbi tells Ilana: “Glasses off, you’re fucking gorgeous.” It’s a nod to makeover montages in which women get a few new dresses and pluck their eyebrows and are suddenly model-beautiful. Far from worrying about the “day to evening” looks touted by women’s magazines, Ilana shows up to the office in a “shirt” the size of a napkin. Abbi doesn’t complain about making time to go to the gym; her job is cleaning up vomit in the bathroom after spin class. Ilana is dating a guy who just kind of … bores her. These are the sorts of problems that young women really deal with in the years when their personal and professional lives are still very much in development. But mercifully, Abbi and Ilana are not discussing them over $14 mimosas at brunch with a gay man who doesn’t appear have a life of his own. They are ignoring them while they get stoned, eat cereal, and shoot the shit on video chat.” (2)