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February 24, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-24

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8A - Monday, February 24, 2014Th

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

More than just 'Millennial.
'Broad City' stars
talk comedy, life

Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" plays softly in the background.
Raw emotion makes a
real and effective 'Pas

Rising comediennes
discuss Comedy
Central show
Daily TV/New Media Editor
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana
Glazer, the stars of Comedy
Central's latest breakout hit,
"Broad City," are not afraid to
tackle the important questions
plaguing our generation today:
"Who would you rather have go
down on you: Michael Buble or
Janet Jackson?" asks Glazer's
character, Ilana Wexler, in a
recent episode. On the record,
Jacobson and Glazer both
agree that Jackson is the better
choice (though Jacobson's ideal
situation would be to also have
Michael Buble in the room,
"Broad City," which is only
five episodes into its first
season, has received critical
acclaim (see: The Michigan
Daily's coverage of the show,
including Erika Harwood's
pilot review and Kayla Upad-
hyaya's column) for its unique
voice and chemistry between
its two leads, Abbi and Ilana,
who are real-life best friends
and alums of the improvisa-
tional comedy group, Upright
Citizens Brigade (UCB), in New
York City.
Jacobson and Glazer's char-
acters - fictionalized versions
of themselves - are dirty, raun-
chy, awkward and lazy. Critics
are quick to peg the comedians
as feminist icons for bringing
these less-than-"ideal" women
to the silver screen, but Jacob-
son and Glazer maintain that,
while they're happy to be send-
ing a positive message, comedy
is their priority.
"When we're shooting, we
son't have that agenda of being
like, 'We gotta make sure that

an awesome word to describe
us and the show, but at the
same time, while it's great to be
described that way, we're not
female comedians. We're not
female writers. The show is a
comedy about people," Jacob-
son said.
It's true, the show is about
people - especially the people
of Generation Y.
"Both of these characters
went to college, used it and
abused it, and now they're try-
ing to make it after this four-
year vacation. Our generation
has a little bit of a prolonged
adolescence, so 'college life'
can extend into your early
twenties," Glazer said.
The two young comedians
showcase the trials and tribu-
lations of being a millennial
twentysomething through the
lens of their bizarre humor.
"(Our comedy) is like a
heightened realism. We like to
keep you grounded with the
characters' relationship, but
then we take things to an exag-
gerated, silly, level," Jacobson
The key to pulling off that
surrealist humor (see: Fred
Armisen in an adult diaper in
the pilot episode) is the touch
of reality that Jacobson, Glazer
and their writing staff inject
into each episode.
"We try to base the seeds
of every episode on something
that's either happened to us
or friends of ours or the writ-
ers that write the show with us
or their friends, so somewhere
within the episode or scenes in
general is the inkling of some-
thing that's happened in real
life," Jacobson said. "Like, for
example, on last night's epi-
sode (episode five, titled "Fat-
test Asses") we were at this
crazy rooftop party that Abbi
and Ilana felt really uncom-
fortable at, and that's based on
a party that Ilana and I went to

Unlike their unmotivat-
ed characters, Jacobson and
Glazer are enjoying some seri-
ous and well-deserved success
during their post-college years.
In the last two years they have
gone from co-creating a little-
known web series (also called
"Broad City") on YouTube to
co-running a TV show on Com-
edy Central and working with
comedy icon (and fellow UCB
alum) Amy Poehler, who pro-
duces the show. This March,
Jacobson and Glazer will be
flexing their improv muscles
on a live "Broad City" tour
across the U.S. (featuring a
show in Pontiac, MI on March
Despite all the recent hype,
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer
never forget how lucky they are
to be doing what they love; the
real-life 'broads' are nothing
but grateful and earnest.
"I think we both know how
rare of an opportunity this is
and Comedy Central really
lets us go in terms of what we
wanna write about. It's pretty
awesome," Jacobson said.
Glazer agreed, adding, "We
are definitely sincere ver-
sus snarky or sarcastic. And
sometimes we're like ... 'are we
lame?' But it is what it is. We
sincerely want people to like
this. We never put out like, a
'fuck you' joke. We want people
to escape and enjoy when they
watch our show."
"Broad City" is crass, charm-
ing, magnetic and funny. In a
world where Brooklyn-based
sitcoms about twentysome-
things are a dime a dozen, Abbi
Jacobson and Ilana Glazer have
cultivated a show that, while
familiar in premise, is still
the most refreshingly original
comedy on TV today. Don't
believe me? Check out the full
pilot episode on the show's web-
site. Then make sure to tune in
every Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.
on CunmodvCentral.

Daily Arts Writer
Relationship movies often
multi-manage the same ingre-
dients, but the most profound
ones don't
exploit oft- A
tropes like The Past
cozy lensing M .g
and a weepy Michigan
score. The best Theater
relationship Sony Pictures
movies care-
fully calibrate Classics
into natural-
ism with enough awkwardness
and unease to convince you that
you're screening a documenta-
ry. Up-and-coming filmmaker
Asghar Farhadi, who delivered
the sensational divorce-centric
Iranian film "A Separation" in
2011, finds his rhythm again in
"The Past," this time with more
bite and a timeless performance
by his leading lady.
The movie starts in Paris
when Marie (Berdnice Bejo,
"The Artist") picks up her
estranged husband Ahmad (Ali
Mosaffa, "Leila") from the air-
port - time to finally ink the
divorce papers. Ahmad soon
finds out that Marie lives with
her new married boyfriend
(Tahar Rahim, "Grand Cen-
tral") and his young son. Yet it's
the eldest of Marie's two daugh-
ters, Lucie (Pauline Burlet, "La
Vie en Rose") who best compli-
cates the story.

Lucie doesn't like the boy-
friend, her mother or, really, her
own (lost) identity, complete
with a compellingly insecure
and rebellious carriage. Once
Lucie realizes that her mother
was having an affair with a mar-
ried man, she acts on a sense of
restitution, creating a hellfire
of veiny screaming and water-
fall tears amid the two families.
The movie never tries to rectify
any of the characters' decisions,
because that would imply a
"mistake" was made.
As the title suggests, "The
Past" cleverly fuses the not-
so-bright pasts of the key plot
players, leaving us room to
root for no one in particular,
yet we empathize with every-
body bereft of the victimiza-
tion tropes that many acclaimed
movies in 2013 seemed to proj-
ect. You know the kind: feel
sorry for the depressed weirdo
in "Her," the protagonist in "12
Years a Slave," the oppressed in
"Fruitvale Station" and so on.
The drama is so real that we feel
on a different emotional wave-
length than we're used to when
watching a melodrama that
tells us it's drama. We instead
feel on an even keel with these
characters, as if they were our
just-as-troubled-as-us next door
Bdrdnice Bejo as Marie quar-
terbacks this palpable realism
with vim and affect. After trial-
and-erroring her way through
several relationships, she gradu-

ally loses any grip on her increas-
ingly disobedient daughter and
her complex marital mess. A
climactic scene captures her
violently shaking Lucie, scream-
ing, "Why would you do this to
me?!" She angrily informs us
that she's finished with Ahmad
and wants to tread forward
with her new boyfriend, but too
many things hold her back in the
subtlest of ways: Lucie's resis-
tance; Ahmad's comfort with
the children and the boyfriend's
contagious pessimism. Her vacil-
lating feelings lead the story into
a darker but more honest place.
The minimalist camerawork
complements the film that needs
no score. That doesn't mean the
film is unsuitable for a full-on
orchestral soundtrack, but our
helmer elected to let his charac-
ters and their raw crossings cre-
ate music, both authentic and
without superfluous notes.
We like the Bejo-Farhadi
actor/filmmaker tag-team. They
play off each other's sriousness
with humility and authenticity.
Totally snubbed it the Oscars
this year, "The Past" is a brute
cinematic force, one that isn't
afraid to show how ugly a
separation can get.


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