I had a bit of a rough summer. Graduating from college and trying to find my first legit journalism job is already hard but doing it in New York City is exceptionally tough. However, Broad City was always there for me because it gave me something to look forward to all summer.
After binge-watching all three seasons on Hulu without realizing it, one theme immediately struck me.
I moved to New York City from Texas about four years ago to attend school. I’m aware that in “New Yorker years,” this is not long. But I still feel a strong connection to NYC. Living here made me realize just how inaccurate sitcom portrayals of New York City really are.
Just to name a few: Friends, How I Met Your Mother, and ugh last but not least, The Great Gatsby. I cannot stand how these shows romanticize New York like Scott Fitzgerald clones.
First of all, why does everyone always live in Manhattan? Literally always in the same neighborhood, or within walking distance! There are FIVE boroughs. Plus, most people who work in New York City commute from somewhere else in the Tri-State area. Just dropping some knowledge on you sitcom writers.
On top of that, all these characters not only manage to afford rent in Manhattan but also have insanely nice apartments while claiming to be “broke.” Meanwhile, my Upper West Side-dwelling is on the fifth floor with no elevator in sight. No doorman or security of any kind other than the front door buzzer. My street is loud at all hours of the night. My living room, dining room, laundry room, and kitchen are all the same room. My bedroom can only fit a twin sized bed and surprise, I still can only barely afford it.
And I love it.
Because that is the NYC lifestyle I crave to live, as crazy as it may sound. This is the real New York, grimy and cramped. I feel like I need to pay my dues here in order to be successful, as so many have before me.
This is the New York I always see in Broad City. Of course, it is cultured, amazing, even magical at times. But it is also gross. Trash is everywhere, which means rats are everywhere.
Random people puke near you, on you, really pretty much anywhere.
Roommates are awful, but a necessity to afford rent. Someone will definitely try to steal your bike if you leave it unattended – even if you have a lock on it. Performers will dance on subway poles and eventually, you will get kicked. Speaking from experience.
The show also addresses the gentrification that has ravaged certain areas since the start of the century.
(You know the neighborhood is toast when you see a Whole Foods pop up).
As I kept watching, I noticed a similar observation can be applied to the leading ladies – best friends Abbi and Ilana. I find both stunning, but not in a conventional way.
Like New York, they are a little dirty. We see them puke from drinking too much, struggle to scrounge up cash for rent, and awkwardly stumble through conversations with their crushes. We even see them Skyping each other on the toilet. They talk about things like pooping and getting hair stuck in your butt crack with no shame. This is how women act when they are comfortable with each other. But rarely do you see them behave this way on TV.
Just as the show accurately portrays the griminess of the city, it allows their female leads to be unapologetically nasty as well.
So cheers to another successful season of keeping it real with, Broad City.