I'll be honest: tonight's episode of Broad City is a weird one! Perhaps it has to do with the current cultural climate of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the entertainment industry, or maybe my cold is affecting my good humour, but I'm having one of those "is it just me?" moments. What we just witnessed was a half hour of paedophelia and masturbation jokes on the heels of two scandals involving just that. Sure, you could just chock it up to bad timing, but the fact that the episode ends with a weird tacit endorsement of teachers masturbating to the thought of their students? What is happening!
I guess what I find so disappointing is that this had the makings of such a good episode. The gang is back from Florida, Ilana and Lincoln are back together, and Mike Birbiglia guest stars! This ensemble episode is totally wasted on an episode that I suspect is going to end up haunting each and every one of them (Refinery29 reached out to Comedy Central for comment and was directed to Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer's rep, who did not respond).
But sure, whatever, let's dive in. Up top, Ilana is living every New Yorker's dream when she seizes the opportunity to house-sit for Oliver's mum whose only instructions are to fill the space with positive vibes. Naturally, Abbi comes along with months worth of laundry that they can do for free while wandering around touching expensive furniture, sampling the bidet, and swiping on Bumble. Much to her confusion, Abbi stumbles upon her old high school English teacher and he's kind of...hot? Plus, he's down to meet up, so she invites him over to the apartment later to catch up.
Speaking of men in their lives, Ilana and Lincoln are back together, but as Ilana explains while Abbi is struggling with the bidet, they're not putting a label on things.
Meanwhile, every doorbell ring practically gives Abbi a heart attack, but they're all false alarms. First, Jamie arrives with his own laundry in tow, and explains that after his recent circumcision, he cannot allow himself to get aroused for two weeks, so things have been a real struggle. Then, Lincoln saunters in to prove that he and Ilana haven't quite figured out how to be relationship people.
Finally, Abbi's teacher Richard arrives, played by Mike Birbiglia, which makes it harder for me to handle that he's a real creep! I love Birbiglia, and he brings so much of his signature bumbling charm to this role, but it's not long before things get weird. He admits that he used to find her attractive when she was in school, and Abbi makes a quick exit.
Here's where you'd think Ilana would be like "Gross! No! Get rid of him!" But nope? Instead she tells Abbi that Richard definitely jerked off to her, and that she should respect that, because it means he didn't try to do anything more.
Plus, Ilana is having her own relationship issues. Her and Lincoln rushing into their new label means things have gotten stale in a matter of hours. They're farting in front of each other, watching TV side-by-side, and scheduling brunch via their Google Calendars. Like always, however, Lincoln drops the wisdom. He doesn't want to anything for forever, and thinking of their relationship that way will only suffocate them. Instead, they'll take it year by year.
Back with Abbi and Richard, Abbi just can't quite shake that something is off. For instance, when they start getting down to it, Richard is a little too keen on the student-teacher role play. When he mentions that she should pretend to be seventeen, and actually pushes her skin back to make her look younger, that's where she draws the line.
"We were role-playing," he emphasises, but does that excuse it? Personally, no!!!!!!
Their conversation is interrupted by the fire alarm, which goes off because the dryer they were overusing wasn't equipped for their cheap clothing, and caught fire. As they stand outside, the episode puts a button on this whole weird plotline when Abbi asks Richard if he ever masturbated to the thought of his students.
"All teachers do," he says. "You kind of have to." And that is for real the end!!! I mean there's a funny Breakfast Club nod at the end, but I'm still thinking about how unfortunately timed this whole episode was. Better luck next week?