Seen at SXSW: Five Things We Learned About the Broad City Series Finale

In three weeks, the project that Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have given “1/3 of our lives to,” Broad City, will air its finale on Comedy Central. A fervent crowd of about 700 had the opportunity to see the show’s final three episodes at Austin’s Zach Theater, and their reaction confirmed just how much the show will be missed.

While I’m unable to share details about the episodes themselves, I am able to share some insider tidbits about the show and its impending conclusion, as shared in an in-depth Q&A following the screening featuring Glazer, Jacobson, and Comedy Central president Kent Alterman. With that, I present five things we learned from the creators and their boss:

#1 Glazer and Jacobson’s decision to end the show was as personal and as hands-on as all other elements of the show before it.

Alterman made sure to praise the co-creators for the manner in which they relayed the show’s end to him: “you weren’t communicating through other people, and everything about the choice honored the characters and the show.” With that said, he did also admit a sense of sadness and disappointment upon hearing it.

He asked the pair if they regretted the choice; Glazer was unequivocal in her response. “I feel more validated about it by the day,” she noted, adding that she and Abbi have grown along with the characters and their time together had come to a natural end. Jacobson then turned the question toward Alterman, asking, “Do you think we made the right choice?” Despite his own personal disappointment, he admitted that the time had come. “I feel like I’ve grown with you,” he added.

#2 Not only did Glazer and Jacobson know when it was time to end the show, they’ve always known how it would end.

This may be difficult to convey without spoilers, but suffice it to say that the journey for these two characters ends in a way that is both logical, and uniquely them. Jacobson said of the eventual conclusion, “the Abbi and Ilana on the show still exist, but in a different way.” Part of getting to end the show on its own terms meant giving them an end that felt authentic to them, to the characters, and to the city of New York as a whole. The precise ending, Glazer shared, was one they “found over time,” and the time they spent is worth it; the end satisfies in a way that honors the characters we’ve grown to know and love.

#3 The existence, and eventual end, of the show has given new beginnings to a number of the show’s collaborators.

As they spoke about the community of people on the network that poured support and energy into them, Alterman made a point to stop and acknowlege how much the pair had given to others, praising them for how “they fostered so many people,” in an “effortlessly inclusive” way. Notable members of the Broad City alumni group who have gone on to larger success include Chris Kelly (former writer and creator of the network’s The Other Two), Arturo Castro (creator of the forthcoming Comedy Central sketch show Alternatino), Naomi Ekperigin (former writer now developing projects with the network), John Gemberling, and Hannibal Buress- who made a surprise appearance during the audience Q&A with heartfelt congratulations and a very insightful question about a pivotal scene from the penultimate episode.

 

#4 While Abbi and Ilana are not their characters, they’ve given those characters revealing amounts of themselves.

In the five seasons of the show, Jacobson and Glazer have given untold amounts of themselves- their stories, their feelings, their bond- to their characters. And even with the practice of doing it, Glazer was open about how it never really got easier to pour into the characters as they did. “It doesn’t get any less vulnerable. We shed skin, create new cells, and are growing and changing all the time,” which played out in their character’s stories.

Jacobson was especially adamant about that, as her character explored dating women in the final season- something the “real” Abbi has started to explore. “I pointedly wanted to mirror myself more this season than any other time.” She also shared that the paths these characters end up walking, are not unlike the paths she and Glazer could have walked, saying, “The alternate paths are real.” Alterman brought this quality back to his continued appreciation of the pair, eloquently noting, “the greatest art isn’t just about the creativity, but about the humanity.”

#5 The pair describes the whole journey as “wild, unique, and hard to relate.”

The episodes screened at the Zach were completed this past Monday, and as such their creators have not yet had much time to really process the coming end to this labor of love. “The show has been the defining thing in my life,” Jacobson shared, and Glazer quickly agreed, adding, “I feel really privileged to have had this experience.” Alterman mentioned that the most profound experiences “have moments of intense sadness and unbridled joy.” Glazer concurred, saying it much in the same way as her counterpart would: ‘it’s a trip. It’s a fuckin’ trip. Light and dark, light and heavy, beautiful and ugly.” And again, without spoilers, it’s hard to convey precisely how elegantly the final three episodes touch on all those feelings. But know that you won’t be disappointed, that you’ll walk away feeling good about the future of these characters, and that the final scene is on

 

The final three episodes of Broad City will air starting Thursday, March 14th, at 10pm ET on Comedy Central.

 

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Amma Marfo

Amma Marfo is a writer, speaker, and podcaster based in Boston, MA. Her writing has appeared in Femsplain, The Good Men Project, Pacific Standard, and Talking Points Memo. Chances are good that as you're reading this, she's somewhere laughing.
Amma Marfo
Amma Marfo
Amma Marfo is a writer, speaker, and podcaster based in Boston, MA. Her writing has appeared in Femsplain, The Good Men Project, Pacific Standard, and Talking Points Memo. Chances are good that as you're reading this, she's somewhere laughing.