Abbi and Ilana are growing up.
It might be hard to tell in Thursday night’s premiere, where you’ll see the BFFs run around New York City — quite literally at some points — to celebrate Abbi turning the big 3-0. The majority of the episode is captured in an Instagram Stories-like frame, which is both perfect and jarring. As the entire day goes awry, which generally happens when these two attempt to plan anything, it’s easy to see why we’re about to say goodbye to these uncomfortably close pals. Not because the humor is gone, because if anything, it’s stronger than ever, but simply because life as a thirtysomething is inherently different than the previous decade that this show has mined so well.
The actresses who play these characters with identical first names, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, are more than ready to say goodbye. “We love the show and feel it has a certain level of potency that we think it deserves and know that we can give it through this season, and [Comedy Central] got that and understood it and supported it,” Glazer told reporters at a press day in Los Angeles last week.
After all, an entire college career (including a super senior year) is a good amount of time to hopefully learn some major life lessons — and that’s if you forget the fact that the ladies have been doing Broad City for 10 years, since its original iteration as a web series. As Glazer points out, that means one-third of her life has been devoted to these characters. “I will miss the show, but it’s perfect timing that it’s over now,” the 31-year-old actress says. “I’m very of the mindset of I wouldn’t change a thing about it, but it needed to end. But I’ll miss it.”
As if it’s not confusing enough to share names with their onscreen personas — which Jacobson admits is both a blessing and a curse — the two often finish each other’s sentences and even whisper to each other about upcoming plot points. Broad City has always been about their friendship, love and respect for one another, sometimes eerily so, and it’s clear that the last remaining episodes will be full of the same bonkers scenarios we’ve come to expect topped with even more reason to appreciate their unique relationship that many millennials see themselves in.
The rest of the season also shows us what it’s like when we suddenly age out of our twentysomething hijinks, especially in a time of social media, influencer beauty lines and ugly dad shoes. Without giving away any spoilers, we’ll get a firm answer on where Ilana’s relationship with Lincoln (Hannibal Buress) can possibly go while watching Abbi try to date a woman for the first time (played by a perfectly cast Clea Duvall). The latter story was important for both writer-actresses to share on screen, but especially for Jacobson, as it mirrored her real life.
“I think it was important to [Glazer], too, but it was very important to me. It’s very directly pulled from my own life, where I always dated dudes and then all of the sudden I was dating women,” Jacobson, 34, explains. “So much of the show is from our lives, seeds and I was so excited to put that on the show. The show, in general, is so queer and fluid and open, but it’s definitely more [for] Ilana’s character and Jaime’s, and Abbi is not the opposite but sort of seen as more hetero, and I was just so excited to put that in there. It feels really real.”
“It makes that available to the Abbis who watch,” Glazer adds. “And to make that opportunity available to our viewers was important to us.”
Ilana clearly has the most growing up to grapple with, and we’ll see much of this season’s humor in that, especially midway through the season, she barely holds it together when she realizes that Abbi may be able to have fulfilling relationships without her. “Ilana is this joyful character, and it’s so fun and satisfying, for me anyway, to see her tragedy. I keep saying this word, but it’s such a pathetic moment, it cracks me up,” Glazer admits. “She’s losing it!”
Despite a rabid thirst from fans to know how this will all end, Jacobson and Glazer don’t want to give away any of the ending, to the point that they had to turn away from reporters and quietly discuss how much they would even reveal about their final day of filming. What they would tell us was that they tried to film as much as the fifth season in order as they could, making it an absolute priority to film the series’ final scene last. This meant pulling an all-nighter, shooting with their whole crew “way out in Queens” from a call time of 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning, which Jacobson describes as “really intense.”
Glazer seconds that emotion. “It was incredibly emotional,” she says. “We were weeping, looking into each other eyes, holding hands, holding each other. We were talking as the characters and yet describing ourselves and our journeys as creatives. It was amazing. It felt like this trip or a dream. It was, like, divine.”
That’s exactly how we’d expect the finale to be.
Broad City returns Thursday, Jan. 24, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central.