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Comedy Central has a winner in 'Broad City' from MICA grad

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Last year, Comedy Central delivered one of TV's most successful midseason series with "Inside Amy Schumer," starring Towson University grad and standup comedian Amy Schumer.

Wednesday night, the channel introduces another new series starring a Baltimore-area college grad, and it looks like Comedy Central has another winner.

"Broad City" is created by and stars Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer as best friends trying to navigate lousy jobs, incredibly awkward situations and continually dashed hopes in New York City.

Jacobson is a 2006 graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) with a major in fine arts and a minor in video. After MICA, the suburban Philadelphia native moved to New York where she started training and performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, The Atlantic Acting Conservatory and The Magnet Theater. She and Glazer have been doing "Broad City" as a web series the last two years.

The first season of 10 episodes, which starts Wednesday night, is produced by Amy Poehler, of "Parks and Recreation."

Episode 1, "What a Wonderful World," opens with an image that I can't come near doing justice to on a blog at a mainstream media website. It involves the two friends chatting via Skype while both of them are involved in different sexual encounters.

The final tableau before the opening credits roll is original, raw and a near-perfect introduction to the twentysomething world of these two characters where digital technology and human sexuality constantly mate but don't always make the best bedfellows.

Abbi is the "nicer" and more mainstream of the two, with Ilana playing Lucy, getting them into schemes in the opener that are well beyond their talents and/or imaginations. Abbi has one of the world's worst jobs working as an attendant at a health club unplugging clogged toilets and folding towels. She dreams of being a trainer.

But at least she gets paid something. Ilana "works" at some sort of web operation where the checks are always delayed.

I love what a series like this has to say about the real shape of the American economy -- as opposed to the phony, positive spin put on it by the politicians in Washington. Here's what a new generation of American workers is faced with in trying to find a decent job. For all the laughs, this series has something deadly serious to say about the view from where Abbi and Ilana live.

"Broad City" makes the lives of the characters in HBO's "Girls" look positively upscale, and I suspect that is part of the point. In addition to the story of these two characters, "Broad City" will probably be seen by some as yet another commentary on what some see as the lack of authenticity in "Girls."

I am sure there is room on TV for two cable comedies about young women trying to find their way in New York City. I like the edge of this new one from Comedy Central a lot.

"Broad City" premieres at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central.

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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