Arts & Culture

Did Broad City Just Have a Passover Episode? Kind Of.

Do Abbi and Ilana make it to the Promised Land? Read More

By / April 21, 2016


The girls of Broad City rarely go an episode without some passing reference to being members of the Tribe — witness the very first episode where Ilana describes them as “just two Jewesses trying to make a buck”— but if the Jewish reference felt like merely a backdrop up until now, the 3rd season two-part finale put them in full view. And it happens just in time for Passover.  

After running across the city and back to make it in time for their “El Ol” flight that’ll start their “Birthmark” (read: Birthright) adventure, Abbi and Ilana turn onto a plane filled with incredible tribal satire. “Jews! Jews! Jews!” the pale crowd chants as our two heroes look on, a little shell shocked. When Abbi unexpectedly crosses a different kind of red sea (read: finds herself in desperate need of a tampon), the Passover parallels — unintentional as they probably were — became pretty clear. They may be on their way to the motherland, but they’ll suffer like hell to get there.

The initial concept for this finale was semi-spoiled for fans months ago, when it was announced that the Broad City crew had to cancel plans to film in Israel because of a recent string of violence. It seems the original plan was to actually see the girls throughout their trip, and while that would have been incredible —  who among us isn’t dying to see Abbi and Ilana at a kibbutz? — tracking their journey without reaching the Holy Land is somehow more fitting an end to the emotional 3rd season, and make for a pretty interesting Passover companion.

The past season has seen Abbi and Ilana through a lot, in still funny but uncharacteristically heavy fashion. They’ve dealt with career problems, break ups, and rat infestations — and that last one’s the happiest out of the three. “Burning Bridges” — the episode immediately preceding this two-part finale — got a lot of critical attention for its frank storyline featuring ray of wacky sunshine Ilana experiencing an emotional breakdown. With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine a finale that drops the girls in Israel as a would-be solution for all their problems, a renewing experience that helps them both confront their issues and restart their lives. Consider the fact that Ilana literally started this season enslaved in (bike) chains — is it any wonder she takes some inspiration from her ancestors and looks to end her bondage at the Holy Land?

But rather than deliver Abbi and Ilana right to the Land of Milk and Honey — or “Africa for the Jews” as Abbi calls it — we’re treated to a 10 hour flight of Jewish anxiety akin to 40 years in the desert. They have to sit through an Adam Levine flight safety video, endure heavy-handed matchmaking (Abbi’s matched with a proudly gay guy “just looking for a nice Jewish girl to marry”), and fork over $38 for a minuscule Kosher snack pack. And while Ilana does fulfill her mission of getting into the “Mohel Chai Club,”  they — much like Moses — don’t manage to make it to the Promised Land. Their travel plans get derailed in a series of events that starts with Abbi singing a Christmas carol and ends with both girls getting interrogated by Israeli officials as suspected terrorists before getting sent back to New York. Because of course.

Much like they have throughout the entire dark, wonderful 3rd season, Abbi and Ilana end up having more fun suspended in midair without a clear destination in sight.  So while no one but the writers knows what direction Broad City will be headed in Season 4, I think one suggestion is pretty obvious. What do you say ladies: Next year, in Jerusalem?

Shiran Lugashi is a writer, sometimes podcaster, and perpetual plan-canceller not living her best life in NYC.

Image credit: Facebook