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Abbi and Ilana Deserve an Emmy Dream Nomination For Broad City

Recognition from the Academy doesn't seem to be in the cards, but it sure should be.
  • Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in Broad City (Comedy Central)
    Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer in Broad City (Comedy Central)

    In the weeks leading up to the July 16th Emmy nominations, Primetimer staff and contributors will be making our picks for which people (and shows) we think deserve recognition for their work this year. For your consideration today: Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for Comedy Central's Broad City.

    Maybe Emmys voters just haven't been ready for a show that celebrated pegging, or maybe they haven't seen fit to get behind a series with quite so many pot jokes. Maybe even TV people who fancy themselves liberals are undone by five seasons of structurally audacious, radically political, and subversively hilarious comedy overseen by two women who had the nerve to drag a toilet across the Brooklyn Bridge in their series finale.

    For whatever the reason, Broad City has yet to earn an Emmy nomination, and if history is any guide, its chances of breaking through in its final turn at bat are slim to none.  If I'm right, it won't make the series any less badass, and it won't make Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson -- its co-creators and co-stars -- any less fierce in their queenness. Still, it would be a nice surprise to see the Academy take the nearly unprecedented step of handing a show its very first nomination after it concludes a multi-season run.

    For one thing, that slightly awkward recognition would be perfectly on-brand for Broad City, which spent 50 episodes making us root for its dissolute she-roes as they swerved from one insane situation to the next.

    For another, it would be a well-deserved acknowledgement that the show broke comedic ground almost every week. Whether it was the animated drug trip episode or the episode where Kelly Ripa hired male prostitutes or the many episodes where sexual fluidity was taken as a given, Broad City was always up to something exhilarating. So let's dream, shall we? Let's dream it finally gets some Emmy attention this year.

    But let's not get crazy: Even in a fantasy world, Broad City doesn't have the juice to get tapped for Best Comedy or even Best Actress in a Comedy. (Who could nominate just one of the ladies anyway?)

    But what about writing? That feels slightly doable, and not only because we happen to know that Comedy Central submitted the series finale for consideration. Written by Glazer and Jacobson, the final episode follows Abbi and Ilana's last days together in New York before the former flies west for an artist residency and the latter starts grad school. The aforementioned hijinks with the toilet keep the comedy phasers on stunning, while the final scenes allow both characters to be unapologetically honest with each other before they part ways. They discuss how much they love each other and how improved they've been by one another, and -- just for good measure -- they scream at a sexist cab driver who criticizes their teary farewell. It's perfect.

    Even more exceptional is the closing montage, in which we see Ilana talking to Abbi on the phone. Abbi's at her internship, but Ilana's in Union Square, and as the camera pulls away from her, we see various pairs of young New Yorkers preparing for their latest adventure. This, the show says, is Broad City's true theme: Not Abbi and Ilana's friendship, per se, but the life-giving nature of friendship itself. In its final gesture, this batshit crazy comedy reminds us that it was also generous and wise.

    Surely that's worth an Emmy nomination, even if it's only on our fantasy ballot.

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    Mark Blankenship is a critic and reporter who has contributed to The New York Times, Variety, and many others. Tweet him at @IAmBlankenship.

    TOPICS: 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, Comedy Central, Broad City, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer