The complexity of friendships and Broad City

As I get older, the topic of friendships and growing older comes up a lot. Recently, my friend Chloe’ Flowers and I wrote about women and the friendships we have for All the Pretty Birds

And if you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan of Broad City (2015 – 2020), a show conceptualised by real life best friends about their friendship. 

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson started off with their web series sharing realistic insights about being a young twenty-something in a new city. Now, I wasn’t living in New York (sorry, Cape Town) but I was trying to find my way as a new graduate and quite frankly, Sex and the City never did it for me. 

Broad City was the first show that felt like I recognised my own friendships on screen. The dynamic that Abbi and Ilana had resembled what I knew. Sleeping in the bathrooms because you don’t wanna work and maybe hate your job? Way too relatable. Dating terrible men and trying to find romance in a dating pool that resembled a puddle? Yeah, been there.  

But most importantly, I finally watched the final season of Broad City earlier this year and it really struck me how the storyline resonated with me once more. 

Abbi and Ilana explore what it means when your core adult friendships evolve, in the midst of a city that’s changing too. 

It distilled the rhythms of the people you’re around shift as we get older: we move countries, time zones, get married and have families. 

7 years ago when I moved to Cape Town – my friends were all around the same age, studying or trying to start their careers. It felt like we were all in the same boat. Now? We’re scattered halfway around the world, navigating our lives and wondering where the time went. 

While I won’t spoil the ending, I loved watching the Broad City finale because it showed that friendships ebb and flow – sometimes realising that you need to make moves that you never thought you would. I feel like we never really get taught that friendships with other women shift over time. That you can drift apart from people or find them again. 

Yes, there are times when this isn’t applicable but for the most part, our platonic relationships are not just cut and dry. 

I’ve noticed that my own friendships have grown – we just don’t have the same rhythms we did five years ago. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, it’s been harder to keep in touch. There are more responsibilities to think about, pets or kids to take care of, a home to maintain and life to just get through. 

The enlightening moment near the end of the show, was seeing Abbi and Ilana work through their codependence and realize that change was coming – delaying that move wasn’t making any sense for either of them anymore.

I saw that in my own life, my friendships are across time zones, countries and we make time for video calls. We keep track of life through Instagram or Twitter. With the ongoing pandemic – sometimes it’s months until you’re talking again. We’re losing loved ones, thinking about our own mortality and wondering what we’re doing with our lives. 

I ended up getting a Broad City-related tattoo – lines from the theme song because my twenties are coming to an end. I no longer sleep in the bathroom to recover from a hangover. I don’t go out at any time of the week anymore and the way I view the city I have lived for the last seven years has changed. 

Sometimes I miss the person I used to be in my early to mid twenties and other times I’m just grateful I get to see another year. 

But the only thing constant is change and I’m happy to have built a life I’m proud of with good, wholesome friendships along the way. And while I might not be a SATC type, I’ll always be a broad.

-A 

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