This Broad City review contains spoilers.
Broad City Season 5 Episode 6
For weeks we’ve followed Abbi and Ilana separately, but this week the duo is back together for a journey through Ilana’s heritage and a highly produced drag brunch with Alan Cumming. I just have to get it out of the way… Sasha Velour made an appearance on this week’s episode and so well who cares about the rest?
Abbi is officially seeing that doctor she met last week, which was almost in jeopardy after the gifting of a rather disturbing yellow baker boy hat. Let’s keep an eye on that. Meanwhile Ilana does an ancestry test and finds out she has a distant relative who lives in Manhattan and is also a Holocaust survivor. In an effort to learn more about her family’s history of mental health for the personal essay portion of her grad school application, she and Abbi visit his assisted living home. This is probably the most Jewish episode of Broad City there’s ever been, despite them being two Jewesses living in New York City.
A normal day out in the East Village following Alan Cumming, turns into a adventure through the Jeweist parts the city has to offer in when Abbi and Ilana lose a very high cousin Saul at drag brunch… where Sasha Velour makes a cameo in case you forgot. After stocking up at Zabar’s, a trip to the Holocaust Museum, and pit stops at a bunch of sale racks, Abbi and Ilana return to the home Saul-less. But don’t worry, they find him at Ikea – his go-to place every time he breaks out of the home.
If I can get a little serious for a moment. I have to admit that I was a little wary of this episode. As a Jewess myself, and the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, and raised in an observant Jewish household, I was worried that the episode might go in a direction that pokes fun at the Jewish stereotypes especially those dealing with mental illness. But the truth is, it doesn’t. Well, it does, but not in an offensive way.
Jews on television are often always portrayed as a caricature. Overbearing mothers, thick Yiddish-inflicted accents, the men are always “mamas’ boys,” high-anxiety, scattered, and on the worst of them cheap. But the modern generation and shows like Broad City open the door for a new type of TV-Jew, like Ilana. Over the years we’ve learned that she does suffer from certain mental health issues, and her curly brown hair is often pointed out as a mark of her tribe, but she’s not playing a knockoff-Woody Allen character, and happens to be the only Jewish woman on television that I could even remotely identify with.
Now that I’ve said my piece, it’s time for this week’s lesson. Abbi and Ilana really did us all a favor this episode and reminded viewers what will happen if we suddenly start wearing flashy hats.
People will stop you and say “what da hat?”
You will be called brave… but not in the way you want.
People will be startled every time they look at you. Which might be something you enjoy. Definitely a way to clear a room. In fact, this could actually come in handy.
You might have to meet Alan Cumming in the hat (or insert anyone else you admire and then picture them having to witness you in a hat).
You’ll get mistaken for a performer.