Broad City – A-
As amazeballs as Abbi & Ilana are, it’s easy to forget how truly terrific and vital the supporting characters are to Broad City‘s fabulous NYC tableau. In the latest of pitch perfect opening montages — this one told from rat’s-eye view — Lincoln and Jaime pop up admiring, respectively, their own sandwich and own rat-bit shirt, a deft hint of an episode that embraces the rich tapestry that makes Broad City so refreshing and relatable. After a rat terrorizes Ilana and Jaime they decide to throw a rent party to cover exterminator Eugene Mirman’s bill, while Abbi needs to cleanse her make out palate after a drunken kiss with sweetly bro-dolt Trey. Predictably, the party goes off the rails, while Abbi finds Tinder and meets a bunch of duds whose pictures mask their dealbreakers. When Ilana asks why she didn’t “swipe left,” Abbi genuinely reveals she “didn’t know [she] could do that.” It so fits her person that it shines a spotlight on the fact that her pickiness over physical flaws feels a tad out of character, although her breaking into song to cover up her revulsion to a swastika tattoo so as to spare emotions of a Nazi is endearingly Abbi. Ilana’s quick conversational corrections to cover up reactions to the still-alive and scurrying, potential party-killer rodent — abruptly praising the Rat pack, or rushing to toss on a Ratatat record — stand as hilarious farce. Lincoln’s swelling pride at feeding the party while he crushes an imaginary cooking show is a further delight (all hail the next king of comedy Hannibal Buress). The show breaks down a bit as the party dies down, but it’s still a chill half hour hazily partying with the Broad City gals and guys.
– Jason Thurston
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – A
The Gang’s silliness and depravity can hide the elevated tones that the Sunny world is constructed upon. Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Dee, and Frank tossed together in a Christian cruise’s Brig sets up a stage play, specifically a take on Sartre’s “No Exit” as the always abrasive personalities collide with no possibility for escape into subset, creating The Gang’s own personal hell. The rhythm of the episode echoes a different play regarding players mysteriously trapped in a strange place, Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” as the mood changes rapidly from the group’s usual games to dark confessionals to gritty monologues to contentious fights. Of course, the battles, even when facing rising waters set to consume them, swiftly veer from such profundities as Mac longing for his father and confronting his sexuality secretly to his rooting for the Cowboys, and their “confessions” are mean-spirited tattles. Even a sweet moment like The Gang joining hands as they drown is cut by their throwing elbows when a halo of light appears above the water. Spoiler alert: they are not actually in Hell, but you knew that. Sunny knows how to land a brutal season finale, and “The Gang Goes to Hell” is no exception.
– Jason Thurston