Ever since its April 2012 premiere on HBO, coastal tastemakers have hyped “Girls” for its realistic depiction of twenty-something women trying to survive in New York City. The show’s creator, Lena Dunham, has been dubbed “the voice of a generation” — often by critics a generation or more older.
While “Girls” tends to elicit strong opinions, even from people who’ve never seen it, another lady-centric, weed-friendly television comedy is garnering more consistent praise for its more realistic approach to the whole young-woman-in-New York set-up. Not only is Comedy Central’s “Broad City” more realistic than “Girls,” it’s also a far, far funnier show. Both shows wrap their seasons in the next week — “Girls” on March 23 at 8 p.m. and “Broad City” on March 26 at 8:30 p.m. (both MDT).
Originally a web series, “Broad City” premiered on Comedy Central with relatively little fanfare in January of this year. Quickly becoming a cult hit and already renewed for a second season, its creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson star as two twenty-something friends who (like the women of “Girls”) live in New York City.
Ilana and Abbi, unlike the four post-college, well-connected if not financially secure women of “Girls,” are barely getting by, nor are they likely to anytime soon. They’re scraping for rent, putting more effort into scoring weed or tickets to a Lil Wayne secret show than “making it” in Manhattan.
Given the show’s pedigree it’s no surprise “Broad City” is far funnier than “Girls.” Glazer and Jacobsen are alums of New York’s Upright Citizen Brigade, as is one of the show’s executive producers, “Parks and Recreation’s” Amy Poehler, who guest stars on the season finale Wednesday. Also worth noting is up-and-coming stand-up Hannibal Burress, who plays Ilana’s f*ck-buddy who, even in a small role, adds another comedic element to the show.
An example of the show’s unique brand of comedy comes in its second episode, “Pu$$y Weed,” which gets its title from Ilana’s preferred place to keep her pot. (“The safest way to travel,” she said, a tip that marijuana in New York is worlds away from marijuana in Colorado.) Upon learning this, Abbi decides to start buying her own pot. After a few clueless attempts to score, she ends up buying weed from a Manhattan prep school kid.
In this week’s episode, Ilana deduces that since she was high the last time she had her now-missing TV remote, she should get high (actually higher) to remember where it is. With each hit off a joint, she implausibly recalls more hazy details of where she saw it last.
Despite the show’s frequent references to pot and other drugs, they’re hardly a female Cheech & Chong. The show’s often-surreal humor may appeal to stoners, but with guest appearances from Amy Sedaris (as a not-quite-right apartment broker) and others, there are more laughs in one episode of “Broad City” than a whole season of the depressingly earnest “Girls.”