‘Broad City’ Season 1 Episode 9 Recap: “Apartment Hunters”

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First things first: I could write a thousand words just praising that cold open. Ilana and Abbi as Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliott, strolling into the bank lobby over Drake’s “Started From The Bottom,” playing the role of big spenders. It’s nothing short of amazing: the check written out to “eight f**king thousand dollars,” the slo-mo shots and fisheye lens, the way even the teller gets into the music video vibe. It’s a great fantasy but we’re dragged back into reality with the realization that this $8,000, a lot of money for Ilana and Abbi (and for me and you, I’d say), is nothing to the bored teller. That’s the way Broad City goes, these beautiful fantasies interrupted by annoying realities. “Apartment Hunters” is another fantastic installment the series and it might be the most relatable one yet.

Moving is one of the most frustrating and draining life experiences that we go through. Trying to find a somewhat-acceptable apartment in New York City takes all the normal unpleasantness of moving and ramps it up to a point where you’d rather live in a park than look at another place. Brokers are liars, apartments are fifty times smaller than advertised, and strange roommates are at best disgusting human beings and at worst straight up murderers. I found myself relating to both of the girls’ storylines in “Apartment Hunters” — not only have I moved about 15 times in the last decade (a handful of those being in NYC) but during one of those moves, I lost a cable box resulting in over a year of daily early-morning phone calls from the company and endless bills from debt collectors over the tiniest fee.

In “Apartment Hunters,” Abbi gets a large sum of money from selling an illustration and, upon coming home to find Bevers’ getting himself off while watching The Good Wife in the living room, she decides that it’s time to move out. She goes on the apartment hunt and it’s all hilarious mishaps. There is the terrible, oversharing broker (Amy Sedaris!) who parks on the sidewalk and shows crappy apartments. Railroad apartments with no bathrooms, a place with blood still on the walls. The show has the real estate speak down: “It’s a pre-war building … built right after the Iraq War.” It’s so reminiscent of the shitholes masquerading as apartments that you get used to when schlepping around the city, becoming more and more defeated as the hunt goes on. Abbi eventually fires the broker and decides to try her luck on Craigslist.

Ilana has to bail on the rest of the apartment hunt so she can try to find the missing remote control that the cable company keeps charging her for, often causing her bank account to overdraft. She has no luck in her apartment (but does find a tape recorder and learns that she invited Instagram years before Instagram existed) and decides, naturally, to get high because she was most likely high the last time she had the remote (it’s the “if I get drunk while studying and then get drunk again while taking the exam, I’ll do great!” logic). It works but it means she has to talk to her old roommate Dale, a guy she had really bad sex with and a guy who is completely obsessed with her — as evidenced by the shrine in his basement. By the way, the scene with Ilana getting high is easily my favorite of the episode, thanks to some creative directing (and Ilana’s ace weed smoking skills).

Broad City continues to kill it with the side characters. This time Dale, the roommate who may or may not have given Ilana herpes is an excellent creep (and I love the body butter callback to Bevers). He’s not over Ilana and shows up to meet her in a limo with balloons. He’s willing to leave his fiancee for Ilana (he has already brought her a one-way ticket out of New York and, even funnier, she’s waiting in the limo). Ilana sets him straight and gets the remote back. It’s the wrong remote but it turns out she only has to pay five bucks to the cable company (unfortunately, they don’t take quarters).

Back to Abbi’s apartment hunting nightmare: the first Craigslist roommate (who is almost definitely a Craigslist killer) is a total weirdo who is a little too interested in Abbi’s shoe size and recommends that she spend a few days in a hotel after he uses the bathroom. Lincoln, however, is oblivious because he’s enamored by the apartment and Abbi has to force him to leave. Lincoln’s marvel over how big the sink is? Beautiful.

The next apartment is too cheap for Manhattan and belongs to a nice, normal couple who go away for the weekend and cook dinners for everyone to share is perfect which means, of course, that something has to go terribly wrong. As everyone is toasting and celebrating Abbi’s decision to take the place, the commercial that her illustration is featured in comes on the television. Turns out — and this is the absolute funniest thing in the episode and one of the funniest in the series — the dating company is racist and exclusively for whites (it’s the “final solution in dating!” says the cheerful spokesperson, a line that had me nearly choking from laughing so hard) and the couple, who are black, are not happy with Abbi.

At the end, Abbi finds herself staying her apartment but Bevers has cleaned up and apologized. It’s a small victory, minuscule even, but these tiny victories are also what makes up Broad City. “Apartment Hunting” is downright hilarious, so much so that I watched it again immediately after (and watched the cold open close to ten times), and it’s making me sad that next week is the season finale. Though, if it manages to stick the landing — and I have no doubt that it will — Broad City will have had a hell of a first season.