Broad City Season 4, Episode 5 Recap: "Abbi's Mom"

Photo: Courtesy of Comedy Central/Christopher Saunders.
Fresh off their drug-fueled bender that took place during last week's episode, Abbi and Ilana kicked of today's antics with gusto. We join the women in a flurry, cleaning Abbi's apartment with such fervor that it can only mean one thing: A parent is coming. Specifically, it's Abbi's mom (Peri Gilpin). She's come to visit her big city daughter, but she also has another goal in mind.
"Abbi, we need to be honest with each other," she says almost as soon as she arrives. She tells Abbi that doctors found a benign lump in her breast, and it changed her whole perspective on life.
Advertisement
"It made me realize all the things I still want to do," she explains. For instance, she's never had a martini or eaten a Hawaiian pizza. But most of all, she wants a girls' night out with her daughter. And Abbi knows just the place to give it to her: Ilana's restaurant.
Wait, where is Ilana? I'm glad you asked, because she's doing something that really hits home for me: standing in front of a SAD lamp in hopes that it cures her seasonal depression. Turns out, we both get down when the weather turns cold, and she can only keep her spirits high by beaming herself with light. Tonight, that's more important than ever, because her boss (played by RuPaul, remember) just declared a "winner takes all" approach to tips. The person who earns the most gets to keep it all while the person who makes the least gets fired.
But with Abbi and her mom as customers, Ilana at least has one table in the bag. It doesn't hurt that, inspired by her new attitude (and Abbi's iconic blue dress, which she borrowed for the evening), Joanne begins ordering shots on shots, and all the fancy drinks she can get her hands on. She confesses she hasn't had hard liquor since she got pregnant with Abbi, and despite the fact that the first shot makes her choke, she orders more.
The other tables aren't as easy. Or, rather, they keep catching Ilana when she's running on empty. She's literally running out of energy, meaning she frequently has to duck out to the back room to bask in her SAD lamp in order to recharge and greet customers with that signature Ilana pep. After a while, however, the lamp stops working, meaning she and Abbi have to go to increasingly absurd lengths to pump Ilana with vitamin D, including covering the whole room in foil so Ilana can soak up the reflection. It's during this that Abbi confides in Ilana about her mom's newfound look on life, and Ilana has the goods to bring it to a whole new level...
Advertisement
It's weed. (I'm sure we already all guessed it was weed.) They head out back and Abbi coaches Joanne through her first hit.
"Mom," she says, nodding proudly. "You're high." This opens the floodgates for a whole lot more mother-daughter bonding. Joanne says "fuck!" Abbi calls her "dude!" How can this night go wrong?
I'm glad you asked. Like this: Back inside, the waiters are pulling out all the stops to get those tips as Ilana starts fading. She can't get enough light, and Abbi finds out her mom is so sexually frustrated that she penetrated herself with a bottle of cough syrup out of desperation. But Ilana is too depressed to help, so Abbi plugs in a 10,000 watt light bulb to blast Ilana with light — blowing out the restaurant's fusebox as she does.
When the lights return, Joanne is standing on the table. She tumbles into the koi pond in the restaurant, and RuPaul blames Ilana for bringing in that kind of riff-raff. She confesses that she should be the one who is fired. She can't keep up, her depression is too strong.
"Fuck it, I'll fire Owen," he says after she admits defeat. "This depression shit, it's next-level bitchy. I'm kind of digging it."
Speaking of Owen, he's back in the alley making out with Joanne, resulting in his immediate termination but in Joanne's immediate delight.
"I made out with a bisexual!" she cries. "With tongue!"
They top off the visit with a trip to a sex shop, where Joanne buys her very first vibrator. Like daughter, like mother.
Advertisement