After a certain point in the latest episode of Broad City it becomes a commercial for Hillary Clinton and I was left wondering what the fuck happened. It’s not like I don’t believe Ilana or Abbi would cream themselves over Hillary, it’s just that I was expecting comedy, not a campaign ad, but ultimately, that’s all that “2016” felt like.
This episode wraps up their other plotlines fast enough to spend a significant amount of time talking about Hillary and feminism or whatever. Look, I’m sure that Ms. Clinton faces and has faced an above average amount of sexism in her career, but after an unusually tiresome run up to the primaries, these talking points are no longer convincing or even interesting. Hillary is as banal as a DMV joke, which is in fact what Abbi’s B-Plot centers around.
Watching this episode was like shrugging in slow motion. It wasn’t unfunny—it was frequently pretty funny!—but it was just a huge question mark. Last episode I wondered if Broad City is running out of ideas, and now I’m really wondering that. Everything gets shoved aside for the big cameo, leaving a truncated feeling mess of half baked ideas. Abbi takes really bad license photos—sure. Ilana becomes a bike messenger—okay. And then, very suddenly and abruptly we cut to Ilana talking about how great Hillary is, working at a campaign office and Cynthia Nixon delivering a short speech on Hillary Clinton’s policies. They’re campaigning for the marginalized, dontcha know. Sure! I guess! Super weird how she responded to black protestors shutting down a Trump rally, but if you say so Cynthia Nixon!
It’s not just that I am skeptical about Clinton that makes this so irritating. It’s just so pigeonholed, so forced and so deeply unfunny. I don’t even not believe that Abbi and Ilana are into Hillary—I just don’t know why this episode wants me to care?
Since Hillary announced she was running we’ve been laughing at her blatant attempts to court the “millennial” vote, and this just seems like another arm of that marketing. There is no reason for this episode or this cameo to even exist except to get me to vote for Hillary Clinton and it makes me feel more cynical than anything else. “2016” felt like 22 minutes of Hillary Clinton doing the nae-nae on Ellen. You’re not fooling me.
Weirdly, despite her just delivering what really amounted to fellatio towards the idea of Hillary Clinton, Cynthia Nixon was the best thing here. Despite me being so tired of being told that voting for Hillary is the most feminismsmsmsst choice or something, Nixon’s delivery really rung true for me. Ilana asks her if people really ask if Hillary Clinton is a witch and Nixon screams, “Every day!”
It almost made me feel sympathetic for Clinton because, you know, she really does face an undue amount of sexism and scrutiny because of her sex. I get that—it must suck a lot.
But it’s not enough. More than laugh, this episode made me want to take a nap until 2017. Can we cancel the election? I think this one’s broken.
Gita Jackson is Paste’s assistant comedy editor.