When you think of Broad City, what pops into your mind first? Is it Abbi pegging her neighbor? Ilana's stunning collection of bewigged bicycle helmets? Lincoln's beautifully crafted gingerweed man? Rat babies, natures pocket, Oprah shrines, Bed Bath & Beyond coupons, and old women called Garol with a penchant for yoghurt? While I'd like to say all of the above — for Comedy Central's contemporary piece de resistance is a veritable clusterfuck of brilliance — it wouldn't exactly be true. There are two words that pop to mind immediately when pondering Broad City. Two words that have managed to wiggle into the ears of people who don't even watch the show. Those two words? "Yas Kween."
Infectious, fun and applicable to infinite occurrences, "yas (said like yaaaaaaas) kween" has become the retort of choice when wanting to back a pal for their solid life choices. From meal suggestions to sexual fluidity, career wins to spring breaks, flinging a "yas kween" not only informs a person that you think the idea they just had/move they just made/person they just did is pretty damn sweet, but that you're in full support of it. That approach, in an essence, sums up #BroadCity, and the friendship between its protagonists, Abbi and Ilana. It's also what makes the show so refreshing.
With the exception of Orange Is the New Black, which probably shouldn't count seeing as it's set in a women's prison, many mainstream television shows disappoint when it comes to portraying healthy, supportive and unconditional loving friendships between their female characters. Take Lena Dunham's Girls, for example: While many hail the show for its honest representation of 20-somethings trying to work out who they are while navigating through various romances, vocations, and family dilemmas, it's also deeply criticized for its harmful depiction of friendship between women. Through its seasons, there were some sweet moments between the show's four leads, sure, but they were hugely overshadowed by their cruelty to one another, their competitive nature, their incessant rudeness, and their total lack of respect. As The Guardian penned, rather than seize an opportunity to show how genuinely important friendship between women is, #Girls:
... reduced women’s friendships to their most negative stereotypes: selfishness, narcissism, a willingness to throw other women under the bus when sex with a man is in the offing.
And who has time for that? Of course Girls isn't alone here, the women in Sex and the City rarely discussed anything other than their sexual partners with each other — that's not to say that things didn't happen to these women independently; Carrie released a book, ffs — they just didn't make much time to show us, the viewers, that they could survive without men. And, if we're being honest, it was kind of similar with Monica, Rachel and Phoebe in Friends, too, though not as extreme. And while that's fine to an extent — you do talk about your romantic relationships with friends, discussing them at length and letting off steam — it's incredibly unfortunate, and damaging, to spread the message that this is all women do.
That's what makes Abbi and Ilana's friendship different. Though they do talk about their sex lives — hell, Ilana even Skypes her BFF while Lincoln is still inside her — it's a side narrative; you don't even need to bother whipping out the ol' Bechdel Test to prove that. Rather, these girls spend the majority of their time supporting one another. They don't see eye-to-eye on everything but that doesn't lead to petty arguments. They are cheerleaders: They constantly applaud each other on their body shape, teaching self acceptance and body confidence. They're honest with each other, and on the odd occasion they're not, it's painful. They have their own catchphrases. They're realistically weird and vulnerable without being pathetic. And most importantly, they have fun in each other's company. And it's quite depressing how rare that is.
All hail Abbi & Ilana — the Yas Kweens every girl needs.
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