Broad City Season 2 Episode 5 Review: “Hashtag FOMO”

Broad City

There’s a wandering nature to Broad City I’ve always enjoyed; there are times when episodes will just meander from location to location, with things getting weirder/drunker/more absurd each time the two pause, and they’re always a pleasure to watch. “Hashtag FOMO” is another in an incredible, growing line of these on-foot classics, an interpretation on the common adult experience of drunken wandering – and more importantly, who we might turn into when we black out.

At first, it appears “Hashtag FOMO” is heading down a much different path; Trey’s birthday part is a disguise for what the episode would become – which is a good thing, because Trey’s schtick (like Bever’s), only works in the smallest of doses, like describing the puke ball falling down the stairs of the gym, or his party “snacks” of Cliff bars (for the guys) and Luna bars (for the women). Smartly, “Hashtag” doesn’t stay there long, pushing out into the city for a NY reference-laden adventure into Abbi’s dark side.

Where it ends up is obviously the funniest part of the episode, but how the episode builds to it is equally great, detailing a number of parties set in specific New York neighborhoods, an increasingly entertaining and nonsensical set of social situations that each end abruptly for Ilana’s arbitrary reasons (a woman sneezed! a hot guy left!), building as the girls get drunker and drunker. And it continues, from Trey’s apartment to whatever party Hannibal’s at, then right into some wild dance party where Ilana gets to see one of her favorite things: two straight men making out in a pool.

That’s where things start to turn weird; up to that point, “Hashtag” is a pretty typical party episode of Broad City. Late in the second act, however, the episode begins to take on a surrealist tone, beginning when Abbi makes some comment about “never knowing until you know, ya know?” in an old-timey voice. A few minutes later, and “Hashtag” goes off the deep end, ending up in an underground speak-easy where Abbi is known as Val, belting out Judy Garland tunes and generally acting like she’s stepping out of an outlandish noir film about the Roaring Twenties.

It’s pure magic (and provides a nice alternative to the Nasty Drunk Girl, one of the most trite comedy tropes around), and captures the idea of blacked-out identity in hilarious fashion, capping off an otherwise light episode that features Nicole ripping her hair out at the sight of Ilana (“we have a conference room?”) and Trey doing trust falls at his lame party (and let’s not forget Hannibal’s ridiculous phone call: “I’m a dentist… I don’t like pressure!”) while Abbi makes jokes about tapeworms in her butt. As always, though, Broad City is able to ride its central friendship to elevate an episode of pretty standard material into something special, with the debut of Val (and of course, another inappropriate arrival to a party by Ilana, a few scenes earlier).

“Hashtag,” like most of Broad City, is so effortlessly fun and engaging, the slightly surrealist counterpart to something more constructed and heavy-handed (but equally as funny), like Louie or Girls (the latter of which goes for a much more grimmer tone, yet still exists in a similar head space of pushing one’s definition of self). Broad City speaks to a very specific experience and relationship dynamic, yet is able to make that relatable, simply because it’s so damn good at being funny, slightly dark, and quietly progressive, without making it look like much effort at all (though that just means it takes that much more effort to create) – and “Hashtag FOMO” is just another example of how good the talent in front and behind the camera of Broad City are at what they do.

[Photo via Comedy Central]

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