The irony of Comedy Central’s Broad City is that it isn’t broad at all. In fact, it’s one of the more specific sitcoms on television today. There’s two girls, both wacky in their own right, a dentist/fuck-buddy in Hannibal Buress, a gay pot-dealing roommate and an oblivious boyfriend of a roommate (who you never meet). Forgetting all that: if you aren’t remotely familiar with New York City, the show’s omnipresent 3rd star, a ton of the jokes will fall even flatter.
Here’s the thing: when it comes to comedy, not everything is for everyone.
The problem, though, is that the most popular shit (and in many ways, it is just that) tends to be the stuff that’s casting the widest net.
You’ve seen it a million times. Often, the net starts out specific, cast to a smart, sharp group of people (think: Modern Family). Then, when money enters the picture and viewing expectations and dollar commitments go up, the characters and situations that you came to know and love suddenly start being painted with thick paint strokes instead of fine markers. The jokes become bigger, the stick slappier, the gags longer and wider.
I’ve got no actual problem with shows like How I Met Your Mother or Big Bang Theory specifically. They’re popular for a reason: a lot of people like them.
The truth about these shows is that their humor is insanely obvious (each and every joke as predictable and repetitive as the next), pandering and way over-the-top. I’ve tried to watch each of these shows at various points during their (literally) unbelievable runs and each time, I’ve been unable to muster even a smile. I’m sorry, just can’t do it.
You see, I’m a tough crowd to please when it comes to sitcoms. Raised on Seinfeld, I’ve set the bar pretty high. There’s been a bunch of shows that I’ve enjoyed for a season or two before falling out due to the issues outlined above. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The League and Modern Family all still have their moments, but were all best before their writers began attempting to cater to everyone. Hell, even Seinfeld suffered from that in the latter seasons.
Don’t get me wrong, I get why they do it. Wu-Tang wasn’t fucking around.
So, instead of describing specifically why I love the show or linking to what scenes I really enjoyed, I’ll just say what I wish for. We know Broad City is just one episode into its second season (actually, just renewed for a third). Could things get too silly, too ridiculous, too… dare I say it… broad? Of course. But until then, let’s hope this show remembers what channel it’s on and why it’s so fucking hilarious.