Season 3, Episode 6, “Philadelphia”
Written by Naomi Ekperigin, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Achilles Stamatelaky
Directed by Todd Biermann
“You should be honored I’m wasting my time with a yellow user. I’m a turquoise power seller, bitch.”
“Philadelphia” takes Abbi and Ilana out of their usual New York City environment as they go on a nostalgic adventure in Pennsylvania. While visiting Abbi’s dad (played by an endearing Tony Danza), the duo must confront physical and emotional memories and see how well they fit in back in Abbi’s hometown. Needless to say, things get awkward pretty quickly.
While checking out her old bedroom on the Main Line, Abbi makes a shocking discovery: an envelope containing more than $900, the amount she raised through a fundraiser for Alice Ackerman, her former middle school best friend, who was injured in an accident. She never gave Alice the money. Meanwhile, Ilana responds with astonishing glee to her own find: a JonBenet Ramsey commemorative Beanie Baby. As Ilana monitors her new eBay listing, she and Abbi head to the local bowling alley that Alice’s family used to run. There, Abbi runs into another former classmate and realizes she’s responsible for creating the horrible nickname that sticks with him even now.
With one classic Broad City mixup leading to another, Abbi’s pursuit to return the money to Alice ends up costing a lot of dough in its own right. To get information at the bowling alley, they’re forced to pay for shoes. Then, to appease the high school guy and apologize for the nickname, Abbi feels obligated to treat him to drinks. With car trouble, booze for teens, cops, changes in business ownership, and more issues popping up along the way, the envelope soon starts to look pretty thin.
By the time Abbi and Ilana get the address and reach Alice’s house, they find themselves not only short on cash but also short in general: Alice’s height was extended during reparative surgery after the accident. Now a model, she isn’t too impressed by Abbi’s generosity in returning the cash once she realizes there’s only $300 left. Ilana tries to make things right by sacrificing the extremely valuable JonBenet Beanie Baby, an offering that pains Ilana but hardly impresses Alice. Only on their walk out of the house does Abbi even realize the true monetary value of the toy.
The episode’s a fun romp outside of Abbi and Ilana’s usual stomping grounds, and it’s always a treat to see how outsiders react to their sometimes questionable behavior. In this case, they have the chance not only to see Abbi’s old friends and foes but also to confront past Abbi, stinky dreadlocks and all. By episode’s end, it’s hard not to feel ready to jump on a train along with Abbi and Ilana and escape our own adolescence, filled with the Ross and Rachel poster, Will Smith’s playground, kitchen dances, and bad hair. “Philadephia” doesn’t move a lot of plot points along and isn’t one of the show’s most humorous or creative offerings. Still, it’s hard to follow some of the season’s early gems, let alone the hype of an episode featuring Hillary Clinton. So why not put on Sleater-Kinney’s “A New Wave,” hop on the SEPTA train, and see how Broad City a non-New York city can be?