It took two viewings for me to truly appreciate “St. Marks,” the season finale of Broad City. The first time I watched it, I thought, “That’s it?” But upon the second watch, I realized that this episode accurately sums up what the show is all about: female friendship, quirky characters (Tree Man!), and slice-of-life storytelling.
In the season finale, it’s Ilana’s birthday. She’s turning 23 (which feels like a nothing number compared to the other ones). Being the best bestie that she is, Abbi buys her a bottle of wine ($12.99!), and they head out to a BYOB in St. Marks to start Ilana’s new year off right, even though the birthday girl is already planning out her will.
“My people plan for death, Abbi,” says Ilana, after nearly meeting her demise from seeing Tree Man, a man on stilts covered in moss who apparently circulates the St. Marks area.
When Abbi reminds Ilana that she, too, is Jewish, Ilana tells her, “You’re a mainline Jew. New York Jews wake up every day just thinking about how they’re going to die.”
“I think about death,” says Abbi. Six Feet Under is her favorite show, after all.
In her will that was made out on a napkin (she made copies, obviously), Ilana gives Abbi power of attorney (“I need you to be able to fight against my killer or whatever and then option my rights”).
Ilana also wants her to take care of her valuables, which include her Beanie Babies (even the flamingo one). While they’re walking by a group of homeless people, discussing the cyclical market of Beanie Babies, a female beggar asks them for a dollar, and the ladies oblige.
Then, another homeless man asks for a dollar, and the ladies say no. He says, “But you just gave her a buck?”
“We can’t give everyone on the block a dollar,” says Abbi.
Ilana offers the leftovers from the restaurant they’re headed to as consolation (although Abbi is really hoping to eat those for lunch tomorrow).
“Oh really? That would be so generous of you,” the homeless man patronizes.
“Lil Wayne, party of two?”
At the restaurant, the ladies wait to hear their name called in order to be seated, although Abbi has the reservation under a secret name she whispered into the maitre’d’s ear. Abbi tells Ilana to prepare to have your stomach stretched.
Then, the maitre’d calls: “Lil Wayne, party of two?” (Which may be the best restaurant joke since my friends and I used “Salingers, Party of Five?” in high school—which the show makes light of later with “Scott Wolf, party of five?”). Ilana is immediately starstruck. Weezy is here! He’s so real!
“No, that’s us,” says Abbi. “We. . .are Lil’ Wayne.”
“You are sweeping me off my feet!”
At their table, as they are discussing getting as many dumplings as they want, an obnoxious voice permeates their ears from one table over: “Oh, my God!” No, it’s not Janice from Friends, but it’s SNL’s Aidy Bryant and Late Night with Seth Meyers’ writer Conner O’Malley (who are actually dating in real life—power comedy couple?).
They know this boisterous couple, but you can tell it’s not something they’re excited about. In fact, Abbi and Ilana have spent a lot of time avoiding Allie and Chris and their show choir shows.
“Do you still live in New York or did you move, because you never respond to any of my Facebook invites?” says Chris.
Abbi admits that she’s not very skilled when it comes to Facebook, what with the interface that keeps changing.
Chris tells her he’s bummed that they missed his solo performance, and so he proceeds to act it out, which involves him simulating masturbation (imagine him naked on stage, fully erect, standing on an American flag, yelling “Dear Uncle”).
“We can push your tables together, and maybe you could talk a little quieter,” says the waiter.
Naturally, the couple is all for that, and in a power move to get the hell out of there, Ilana dumps the expensive bottle of wine on Abbi.
“I’m such a klutz,” says Ilana. “We have to go.”
But the waiter tells them they can’t leave with an open container. So Abbi and Ilana clink wine glasses and chug the wine the planned on savoring with their dumplings. Sayonara!
“I am sorry,” says Allie. “But they are too much.”
May I call you, Jiggly?
The homeless man from before spots them coming out of the restaurant. Where are his leftovers?
The ladies tell him that it was too annoying. They didn’t even order.
“Must. . .be. . .nice,” he says.
Walking away, they feel terrible. Ilana surmises that he probably had it tough after coming out to his family and then hopping a boxcar from Oklahoma to turn tricks in St. Marks.
“Child sex trafficking is all around us,” she says before discovering a store sign and screaming, “Wigs!”
Because it’s her birthday, Ilana wants a wig. But before she heads over, she stops to watch a business Guido lament about losing his Christina and dick function.
In the wig store, wigs are $10 and RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Jiggly Caliente is behind the register.
“This is the kind of wig you get buried in,” says Ilana. “I want to look dope as fuck at my funeral.” Ilana has it all planned out, including the playlist, which has RuPaul’s “Supermodel” on repeat (how appropriate!).
“I want a really nice funeral on a hill,” says Abbi. “Then, everyone has to go to Six Flags. My treat.”
She tells Ilana that she can Weekend at Bernie’s her for that Six Flags trip, but no log flume. Then, the two argue over who will die first, and Ilana says the husband always dies first (the husband being her).
In addition to Ilana’s wig, they also buy tees (“Challah Back” and “Female Body Inspector”). As they’re walking out, Ilana does a tongue gesture that sparks the interest of two gentlemen, but before the ladies that strike up a conversation, Abbi’s bag with Ilana’s birthday gift is stolen by the homeless man.
They chase after him, Ilana losing her wig in the street, and run through a grocery store to try to nab the perp. The chase takes them to the back of the grocery store and into an adjacent restaurant area before finally taking them down a basement and into a lower-level alcove that requires Spiderman skills in order for them to escape.
The man heads into a brownstone across the street. When they ring the doorbell, Patricia Clarkson answers and a dinner party is going on. They tell her that the young boy who ran in here stole their bag. She asks Timothy to come down the stairs and explain himself in front of Abbi and Ilana and the dinner party guests.
The ladies are confused. The young boy lives here, in what looks like a dope house? Turns out, the young boy is actually a 34-year-old man (she was young when she had him).
Timothy’s mother forces him to give back the bag he stole. Timothy pouts like a teenager.
“Ever since he dropped out of grad school,” she says. “He’s given me a lot of grief.”
Timothy throws the bag down the stairs, and the mother and son begin to have a very awkward spat, it ending with Timothy’s mother calling him a “loser, loser, loser, loser.”
“Do I look like the son of a quarterback?” Timothy says, after bringing up her reliance on alcohol and painkillers.
“I’m a very good mother,” she says. “But sometimes you get a dud.”
“I’m sorry your son sucks so hard,” says Ilana.
Timothy’s mother pleads for the girls to come back and see her as she walks them to the exit.
As they’re leaving, Tree Man brings them Ilana’s wig that got lost in the chase, and the three hug (“It’s like the Giving Tree in real life!”). Then, a cab shines a light on them to get them off the road. Tree Man begins to bitch the cab driver out, and Abbi and Ilana quietly exit.
The two end up eating pizza at a local shop, laying on the ground with Abbi’s gift, which is the best thing since the AIDS quilt: a blanket with a naked black man lying face down (so it looks like she basically had Taye Diggs stay over—or Lincoln!).
Abbi’s family has a tradition where on birthdays they discuss things they’ve done and things they plan on doing with in the new year. The two then discuss things they’ve done over the last year—and season (“I pegged”) and things they want to do over the next year (“See a mangina”), and the camera pulls up, looking out over St. Marks.
When a random dude tells them to smile and the two of them smile—with their middle fingers.
The chick taking a selfie while taking a leak in the street.
Ilana’s idea of milestone ages: “22 you graduate college, 21 you’re suddenly allowed to be alcoholic, 20 you lose your virginity, 19’s your last teen year, 18 you get to vote, 17 you get to drive, 16’s your sweet sixteen, 15 Quinceanera.”
“23 feels pretty great for me,” says Abbi. “It was the year I met you.”