The season finale of “Broad City” kept it simple: Abbi and Ilana go out to a fancy restaurant in their “fattest” outfits. In “Last Supper,” the two friends decide to treat each other to a luxurious seafood dinner after Abbi makes some money selling one of her cartoons to the world’s worst dating website. What follows includes amusing interactions with the fancy waiter, worsening allergic reaction, surprise condom and stressed-out chef played by Amy Poehler, who also directs the episode.
“Last Supper” is very different from the pilot, whose segments function almost like loosely connected webisodes. It works. The pilot shows how seamlessly “web humor” can translate to a bigger screen on a higher budget. It was as smart a beginning — AV Club‘s Caroline Framke wrote the show was “remarkably self-possessed, even in its first episode” — as the “Last Supper” a touching ending.
The first season of “Broad City” shows creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, along with a talented team of writers and directors, not so much growing as expressing comedic range. The season had musical numbers and brilliant montages, a diverse cast of supporting characters, consistent themes about the indignities of entry level work and rising inequality in New York city, along with innovative style and coinages (“pussy weed”). Ilana and Abbi, heightened versions of creators Glazer and Jacobson, are a refreshing odd couple. Ratings are solid. “Broad City” is retaining most of its “Workaholics” lead-in, and Comedy Central has given it a second season. Most comedies improve in season two, so fans are excited. Critics have warmed to the pair’s casual and confident style, including Alison Willmore in her last column for Indiewire, weekly recappers at The AV Club and Margaret Lyons in New York.
The success of the show proves something I’ve been arguing for awhile: that web series, or independent television, are valuable because creators can hone their voice and audience outside corporate development.
Indie TV is also more diverse than traditional TV, where many networks have few or no shows by and about women and people of color. Networks like Comedy Central and HBO should be commended for greenlighting shows by promising young women, but we’re a long way from parity.
In that spirit, here are some stand-out comedies about women living in the city, created by and starring women who should be on the radar of development executives for broadcast, cable and web television. Like the web series for “Broad City,” no show is perfect, but each shows clear perspective and promise. And there are plenty of great series I may have missed or forgotten, so sound off in the comments!
For the full list of shows, click over to Indiewire!