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Broad City: “Game Over”

Broad City, Season 3, Episode 3, “Game Over”
Directed by Lucia Aniello
Written by Naomi Ekperigin, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson & Achilles Stamatelaky
Airs Wednesday, March 2, 2016

 

“I get a little intense about competition. In high school, people used to call me Tonya Harding.”

New and old, YouTube and MTV collide in “Game Over,” the third episode of Broad City’s third season. The episode looks at overlaps between Abbi and Ilana’s personal and professional talents and troubles. As Ilana faces new responsibilities and the threat of termination from her job at Deals Deals Deals, Abbi fears a team-building day at Soulstice where her aggression is bound to take over. The characters here consider how to figure out where to draw the line and to recognize once you’ve crossed it.

Ilana’s never been particularly present at Deals Deals Deals. As she tells her cringing coworker, “You’re the reason I come to work every other day!” Yet the boss, Todd, is constantly too nervous to discipline her. When a powerful female investor shows up at work, Todd tries his best to quiet Ilana and keep her out of sight. It doesn’t exactly work. Interested in hearing about new trends that will lend the company visibility with younger consumers online, the investor introduces herself to Ilana: “You can call me Elizabeth. This will foster a sense of equality.” Ilana responds in turn, “And you can call me Ilana. This will foster a sense of . . . you knowing my name.”

At first, the investor responds favorably to Ilana, who demonstrates a knowledge of the here and now in a way that leaves the other, older employees shaking their heads. She drops references to eBaum’s World and uses pseudo-technical terms like “early randomcore.” Handed the keys to Deals Deals Deals’ social media account on the impressed investor’s recommendation, Ilana excitedly takes on the new role, garnering dozens of retweets in her first post. The spontaneity that enables her to tap into great, creative ideas suddenly seems like a boon for the company. Eventually, of course, it becomes clear that her definition of what’s business-appropriate and good for PR differs greatly from her superiors’, and it’s once again time for the office to question her place there.

While Ilana must deal with others frowning up on her inappropriate nature, Abbi’s gearing up for a series of outdoor games at Soulstice. She smartly tries to avoid the games at first, explaining that she responds too aggressively to competition. When she can’t avoid the exercises, and consequently her inevitable tendency to belittle others in the competition, Ilana tries to talk her down out of the intense attitude. “You are all-caps Abbi right now,” she calmly reminds her friend. “I need you to be case sensitive.”

Needless to say, Abbi gets back in the game and once again ramps up the inner rage. Thankfully, the other Soulstice employees prove surprisingly understanding and welcoming. Her boss assumes there’s another reason for her attitude: “You don’t have to do steroids to be cool, you know?” he tells her. “Because you’re already cool.” A beat later, he offers her recommendations on how to ease into the ‘roids if she does want to do that. Clearly, a gym atmosphere (or at least the atmosphere at the kind of gym that doesn’t have a problem with steroids) helps masks Abbi’s issue with teamwork—which is a good thing, considering an online video forever offers footage of her infamous 2002 Red Rover experience at summer camp.

Although it’s not nearly as achingly hilarious as the previous two episodes, “Game Over” serves as a simple, endearing reminder that as much as their youthfulness aids them, Abbi and Ilana also have to deal with professional ramifications of their personal lives unknown to prior generations. Ilana can’t take back a company tweet; it’s cached in infamy, just as Abbi’s childhood embarrassment lives on with a “demon child” caption for future generations. Back at the office, the now-former coworker who especially despised Ilana records a message in an old-fashioned audio diary before experiencing an elaborate fantasy/daydream that we get to witness. Incredibly, she becomes a singer backed by her coworkers in a ’90s dance-music video that combines the sounds of Sister Act with the baggy zig-zag fashion of Fresh Prince—and a memorable cameo to boot. It’s the equivalent of today’s overplayed Vine, the kind that boasts a joke no one really understands, the randomcore of yore. After all, Abbi and Ilana are just two among generations of flawed individuals with indescribable cultural phenomena, in Broad City and off the air.

Final Grade: B

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Emily Ambash is a writer, arts marketer, web designer, and deep sleeper with a penchant for thought-provoking TV shows and films. She has a BA in English and Theater from Bryn Mawr College and a MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University. She also has three seasons of "Punky Brewster" on DVD and a strong attachment to puppies. Originally from Boston, Emily currently lives outside of Philadelphia. She apologizes now (but insincerely) if you dislike the Oxford comma.

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