Broad City season 5 review: The end of an era


Broad City finished its final season and, despite my best efforts, it’s really hard to find any faults in a show that has operated so beautifully for five seasons.

It’s going to be hard to talk about the fifth and final season of Broad City without also discussing the series as a whole. This is mostly because one of the best things Broad City did this season was feed into nostalgia without feeling like they’re shoving the history of the showdown the audience’s throats.

A lot of shows who have had significant runs try to do something of a victory lap either as their final season or somewhere during their final season. They trot out references and characters from past seasons as if they’re all on a farewell tour so the audience can get one last look.

And, to be fair, Broad City totally had their version of a farewell tour for characters and references. There were (among others) Trey and Gemma worried about a lost Abbi, Cheese’s child being lost in a mall, rat bastard making a home in Abbi’s window display, emotional business guido (personal favorite) and, hell, even Kevin (who only had one other episode—the one where they tried to get to a destination wedding) made a reappearance this season. Plus, throw in Abbi’s obsession with trash, the Lil Wayne love and the song “Leanne” getting a nice turn in the IKEA spotlight and this season was littered with references.

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But what made these cameos and references perfect is the same thing that made the series so good. Everything is handled with insane grace and skill. Everything exists to serve the story and what is happening in the plot, not so viewers can specifically pick them out and say “oh, I remember that episode from season three!” Throughout the years, but especially this season, Broad City excelled at bringing attention to topics and people without feeling like they needed to bash you over the head with the information.

Ok, all of that is a preface to say how well season five tackled the conversation around growing up and moving on. Broad City has never shied away from commentary, be that on large social issues or very personal problems. Still, this season did what a lot of shows about 20-somethings-heading-toward-30 don’t: it talked about how no one really knows what being an adult actually means or when it starts or how to do it. Broad City readily dealt with how, sometimes, adulthood hits out of nowhere and it hits hard.

This season should be appreciated and applauded for how well (and, honestly, how easily) Broad City brought up topics like self-sabotaging a relationship (like Jaime) or needing to take stock of where you want to be long-term to determine your relationship choices now (Lincoln). Abbi, trying to make her relationship work with Leslie, has to figure out what it means to be taken seriously as an adult. (And shout out to Broad City for subtly showing Abbi checking her credit score, because, that’s almost too real).

In the end, the area they dealt with the best was the one that tore at the very fabric of the show: What happens when you and your best friend face growth that might pull you apart? Don’t think the poetic beauty of Ilana’s video of Abbi’s butt, which shows just how close they’ve been for a long time, was in the first episode of a season that threatened to pull them apart.

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I can usually find things to nitpick and dislike, but I’ve got nothing here. I rewatched the entire series over the last few days in anticipation of this finale. This really is the end of an era. It’s an end where I can’t have imagined a more perfect conclusion than showing Ilana and Abbi’s friendship being as strong as ever before widening the scope of the show to glimpse just how beautiful true friendship is for everyone.

What was your favorite part of the final season of Broad City? Let us know in the comments.