When Broad City premiered on Comedy Central five years ago, the big news about Wayne’s Abbi Jacobson and her partner in comedy, Ilana Glazer, was that Amy Poehler was producing their show, which had begun as a web series by two unknowns who were looking to get their work seen.
Now as the adventures of Abbi Abrams (Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Glazer) return on Thursday, the news is that the end is just 10 episodes away. (Unless you’ve never started, in which case the first four seasons await you on Hulu.)
Not even the most outrageous and adorable twentysomethings can remain in their 20s forever, and as Abbi turns 30 in the season premiere, in an episode in which the two friends set out to walk the length of Manhattan, there’s already a sense of an ending to come.
“It was so interesting writing this season, because there’s a finish line,” Jacobson said in an interview last summer. “There’s never been an end point, so we’ve never wrapped up seasons … like that. It was actually a little easier to write the last couple of episodes, because this season’s more serialized.”
Without giving anything away, the three episodes made available to critics — the premiere and two from later in the season — suggest some new directions, personally and professionally, for both characters. And it seems like the right time.
While the Conestoga High School grad said she was sad to see something she and Glazer first began working on in 2009 coming to an end, “I want to make it where it’s still good and I feel like it’s still good and I feel like Ilana and I are still so in it and invested, it’s our main priority. But I’m 34, and I play a 29-year-old."
What’s more, the Abbi in the series is "really me drawing from like 22. … This is about your 20s in New York. I think shows should not go as long as they sometimes do.”
She called the series' ending, which at the time had been written but not yet filmed, “very hopeful.”
In the years since Broad City’s TV debut, Jacobson’s career has continued to outstrip that of her character, who dreams of being able to support herself as an artist.
She’s done some other acting, including voicing Princess Bean in Netflix’s Disenchantment, the first show that Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, has done in nearly 20 years, and costarred with Dave Franco in the Netflix film 6 Balloons.
She’s also published four books, including last fall’s collection of road-trip essays and drawings, I Might Regret This, the illustrated bestseller Carry This Book, and a couple of coloring books.
Broad City, meanwhile, has continued to attract faces as familiar as Poehler (who guest-starred in, and directed, the first-season finale and who acted as a stand-in for Hillary Clinton when Clinton appeared in a third-season episode).
Actor (and former Northeast High English teacher) Tony Danza played Abbi’s father. (Susie Essman and Bob Balaban have played Ilana’s parents.)
Guest stars from the first four seasons included South Jersey’s Kelly Ripa, Philadelphia’s Seth Green, Wanda Sykes, Seth Rogen, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jane Curtin, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Buscemi, Shania Twain, Fran Drescher, Vanessa Williams, Adam Levine, Kumail Nanjiani, and Cynthia Nixon.
Among the recurring cast members, look for Hannibal Buress to be back as Ilana’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Lincoln.
For this final season, Jacobson and Glazer also chose to give some of their other writers more opportunities, with only four of the 10 episodes entirely written by the two creators, Jacobson said.
“We have a great team,” she said. “This is like a team-sport show.”