How Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson's Refreshing Take On Sexuality Makes 'Broad City' The Most Honest TV Comedy
Plain and simple, Broad City is a game changer for television — and perhaps even more aptly, a game changer for the portrayal of woman on television. Because Broad City is undeniably feminist and distinctly honest, it's no surprise that the show would tackle sexuality with anything but candor and open-mindedness. As a show about confronting labels and status quo without apologies, not only does Broad City have no qualms about not fitting into boxes — it doesn't even know where the boxes are.
Take for instance, the show's stance on representing female centric topics, in new and interesting ways (a lot of which, do pertain to sex.) In a recent interview with Emily Nussbaum, TV critic from the New Yorker, at the New Yorker Fest in NYC, co-creator and star Abbi Jacobson explained that she hopes "we don't ever go away from female topics" — a response to the criticism that she show, which revolves around the lives of two girls, might be too "girly."
Um, no offense to the critics, but duh.
When it comes to how the pair feel about the representation of sex on their show, co-creator and star Ilana Glazer told audience members at the New Yorker Fest that sex "doesn't feel that filthy to us" — which is perhaps why they are able to tackle such "taboo" topics as threesomes and one-night stands. Glazer concludes that it's "easy to make [sex] silly," but I think she's underselling the impactful and interesting evocation of sex in Broad City: It's one thing to laugh at the ridiculousness and awkwardness of sex, but it's another entirely to create a whole new narrative around it. Which, might I add, her and Jacobson have done so effortlessly.
For instance: Glazer's character's casual hookups on the show aren't treated as pillars of morality or shame, or anything even close to that nature. They are simply just an something she does. Glazer explained the treatment of said hookups: "It's a very relatable thing ... everything is a big deal, but also nothing is a big deal. It feels more natural because it's not a big deal. It's not really central to the plot."
Furthermore, Glazer is a character that's not confined by sexuality. If there's one thing you won't find on Broad City: it's labels. "It's a conscious choice to not be talking about it. This shouldn't be treated any different ... Glazer's never labeled herself and I love that we do that," Jacobson said of the decision to not deem Glazer as bisexual, or straight, or gay.
It's also a conscious choice on their part to paint the lives on two young woman in sexually positive lights all together. The girls aren't afraid to be sexually explorative, but the show itself is never exploitative of their sexuality. Like when Glazer wants to try a thing called "pegging," it's all in good fun, and it's all under her own volition. Not once do audiences feel like were witnessing something they shouldn't — they're meant to feel "in" on it too, and curious about how willing they are to go there. (Spoiler alert: pretty far).
It's the kind of thing we haven't really seen on TV before since the creation of Sex and the City — and even in the case of the latter, it was not against the backdrop of a comedy like this. But, with the ability to be both uproariously hilarious and still remain ethically ingenuous, there's no two better woman fit for such a job.
Images: Comedy Central; Giphy (2)
Reporting by: Martha Sorren