The Lasting Legacy of Broad City

When Broad City premiered in 2014, I had no idea how it could possibly end. Abbi and Ilana had a perfect friendship. Living in a big city could never get boring. Friends would always be priority one, and the terrible job and romantic and life experiences would always be a footnote to what really matters: fun. Broad City was a dream world that also somehow reflected the dreams of myself and my friends. I was so excited to watch a world that could never, ever in any way change.

Which, as we know, is an impossible feat. Change is the only thing we can rely on, and nobody wants to watch a show about anyone who doesn’t grow. Fortunately, Abbi and Ilana and Broad City grew and grew. Characters evolved, storylines changed, and last night, our beloved heroines parted ways to begin the next chapter of their lives – something that seemed impossible only five years ago.

But it always seems impossible. In 2014, I thought my life would consistently be a narrative defined by the adventures of my friends and myself, and that the stakes would always be low because our dreams and goals would always seem worlds away. I couldn’t imagine not wanting to go out, not having my life defined by my best girlfriends, or by hours spent talking about what we’d just spent talking about in person hours before. And then time passes, and you change, and your goals change, and your friendship dynamics change, and none of it is worse, but it is certainly different.

Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure. I’d love to write about how I’m so much better now that I don’t want to do 100% of the things I did in 2014, but at the same time, those memories and moments were important to me and are responsible for morphing me into the person I am now. Also, sometimes being older straight-up sucks: when the stakes are high or when dreams come true, that’s a lot of pressure. When friends move away, it’s lonely and you miss them. When change happens – in any way, shape or form – that’s terrifying. All of it is necessary, but is it good? Okay, fine. But the pain of growth can still feel bad, and I think it’s important to honour that.

Which is why the way Broad City ended was perfect. I didn’t want to see Abbi and Ilana say goodbye, but they had to – much like we’ve all said goodbye to people we love because that’s the way life works. And then, when the pain of the immediate “I miss them!” wears off, we forge ahead and create new paths in brand new worlds and realize that despite being different than the people we used to be, there’s still room for those who matter to us; that distance is arbitrary and true friendship transcends and while our priorities may shift and change, those friendships will sustain us. And they will keep us alive. And they will keep us warm. No matter how different we and the worlds we live in look  over time.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, Broad City, top story, topstory

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