While I generally watch Broad City for the absurd but relatable humor, there’s a lot to be said about how it’s also solidly put together in the more technical terms (the three-act structure, balance between plots and characters, inspired cinematography and direction) and when it comes to writing, such as character development which is really on display in “Citizen Ship.” It’s an episode that brings in two bit players — Bevers and Jaime — and gives them both an added depth (certainly a bit more depth that we’ve previously seen with Bevers) while also providing some ace Abbi and Ilana moments.
The crux of the episode is Jaime’s impending citizenship. He passed the test and tomorrow is the official ceremony but tonight, the girls, Jaime, and Lincoln are celebrating on a boat (due to Abbi’s roommate Melody getting her on the guest list and then Abbi pretending Ilana iss her screw-up assistant in order to get all four of them in to the party) because they want to see the Statue of Liberty. After all, Ellis Island is where their ancestors passed through. “Mine didn’t,” Lincoln deadpans. The girls are barely on the boat before they run into trouble in the form of Bevers who is there with his girlfriend/Abbi’s roommate. Bevers tries to help Abbi and Ilana get free alcohol without waiting in line but, as you can easily predict, the three of them get locked inside and can’t get out.
Fortunately, Broad City subverts our expectations a bit by not forcing a bottle episode and making the three to remain there the entire time. They are only there for a little while, but it’s enough time to allow Lincoln and Jaime to bond and to reveal some more about our three captives. Bevers announces that he’s planning on proposing to Melody tonight because, after all, they’ve been dating for 12 quarters. Abbi and Ilana disagree on marriage, in that Abbi thinks it’s OK somewhere down the line and Ilana thinks marriage is for old people like “Facebook invites or network TV.” But mostly, Abbi wants Bevers to get married to Melody because it means they will move out of her apartment — the apartment where Bevers doesn’t officially live but basically does.
While they are all stuck in this room, Lincoln and Jaime are having fun above deck as Jaime shyly confesses that he wants to try out his American accent. Lincoln encourages him (Lincoln is still the absolute best, for the record) and tells him, “You’re in international waters, man. Spread your wings.” Jaime’s American accent is great: “I love hamburgers!” “I love DUIs!” A party guest mistakes him for a fraternity brother from college and Jaime rolls with it, even kissing the bro after doing a silly handshake. Lincoln mostly just hangs out and enjoys all of this, shooting the shit about Spice Girls and reenacting Titanic.
Speaking of Lincoln, we get a great Ilana moment below deck when she comes to the realization that her and Lincoln might be more boyfriend/girlfriend than fuck buddies. They haven’t had sex in four days and although she’s been hanging out with him all day, she hasn’t seen his penis once. He’s not her best friend — that’s Abbi, and Ilana smacks the shit out of her for even implying otherwise — so that must mean that they’re in a relationship. “I’m wild and I’m free! I’m a sexual X-Men!” she exclaims. She has a funny Ilana freakout, as she worries about the horrors of actually being in a committed relationship, but suddenly the three are set free and Ilana takes off to find Lincoln and informs him that they need to have sex right now.
As for Bevers, he chickens out when it comes to the proposal, totally choking on stage and blurting out that Abbi is getting a sex change and transitioning into a male. Abbi kind of rolls with it, which is weird considering how much she dislikes Bevers, but well, that’s our Abbi. Plus. “Citizen Ship” pulls off something I thought was impossible: It makes Bevers into a somewhat compelling character. It has to do with him being completely out of Abbi’s territory — her apartment and her work — and putting them all on neutral ground. It also has to do with not having him take over the screen with his grossness and annoy Abbi but rather have somewhat of a conversation with Abbi and Ilana, one that reveals some true absurdities about him but one that also has Abbi and Ilana amused and engaged, rather than totally disgusted and annoyed.
“Citzen Ship” wasn’t the best episode of the season so far but I loved it beginning to end, and am especially impressed by how it incorporates in some smaller characters while still continuing to let Abbi and Ilana shine. Sometimes, when the two aren’t together or when episodes focus heavily on other characters, we lose a bit of the Abbi/Ilana friendship but this time, everything was in place.