Goodbye, My Kweens! Farewell Broad City

I don’t remember when I started watching Broad City – if it was before I came to New York for the first time in 2014, or after – but what I do remember is becoming so obsessed with it, so quickly, that I would ask everyone if they’d seen it and recommend it to anyone who was looking for a new show to watch.

Abbi and Ilana are two special, hilarious, and unapologetically badass women, living their New York lives the best way they can. The main reason I love this show way more than I love so many others set in New York (Sex and the City, Friends, How I Met Your Mother) is because it shows the real, gross side of New York.

All of the characters in the aforementioned shows live in Manhattan – except Robin who lives in Park Slope in the first couple of seasons of HIMYM, and Miranda who moves somewhere in Brooklyn (they only ever say “Brooklyn”, which is stupid since Brooklyn has heaps of neighborhoods and based on that alone, she could have lived in Brighton Beach, Park Slope, or Williamsburg which are all incredibly different places) in the last season of SATC – and we don’t see them use any public transport. Sorry, but Carrie getting on the subway once, ONCE, to get to FiDi from the Upper East Side doesn’t count. 

Image result for carrie bradshaw subway
Also, she gets on a subway wherever she jumps out of the cab that doesn’t have the option to change to the subway she gets out at, so… don’t know how she got there

Abbi and Ilana live in Astoria in Queens and Gowanus in Brooklyn (which is where I live, it was a coincidence I swear), respectively. They aren’t getting handouts from their family to be in the city, unlike Monica from Friends who’s taking advantage of an illegal sublet in the Village after her grandmother moves out. Aside from Abbi’s splurge on that blue dress, the one she wears to literally every big event for the rest of the show, and her spending too much money at Whole Foods when she’s high after getting her wisdom teeth out, they aren’t spending so much money that their credit cards have to be cut up while paying for a pair of shoes in Dolce and Gabbana (Carrie, duh), and they aren’t drowning in secret debt like Lily in HIMYM

In fact, the first episode of Broad City is centered around Ilana learning she isn’t getting her paycheck for another week, which means she can’t buy tickets to see Lil Wayne. Instead of asking her parents to lend her money, or putting them on a credit card to pay off later, she steals office supplies from her job and sells them back to the store. She trades Jaime the gift card from the store for weed, and she and Abbi (unsuccessfully) try drumming in Washington Square Park to make more money.

The episode ends with the girls cleaning an adult baby’s apartment, while dressed in their underwear. The adult baby – played by Fred Armisen – refuses to pay them: “I’m a baby, I have no money!” “I can pay you in bwocks!” so they trash his apartment and steal bottles of expensive alcohol and fur coats. It’s clear from the start that Abbi and Ilana aren’t glossing over their New York experiences – they want to show how frustrating, how difficult, and how disgusting it can be.

Image result for fred armisen broad city

They poke fun at how unreliable the G train from Queens to Brooklyn is: “I’m going to get the N to the R, and then be home in a tight 90 cos the G’S, NOT, RUNNING!” show that New Yorkers are some of the dirtiest people: “Let’s meet at the ATM where that woman threw up on you,” “The time that guy jerked off on your pocket book in Bryant Park,” and demonstrate that NO ONE who lives in New York EVER wants to go to Times Square, the Upper East Side, or Penn Station unless you’re chasing your phone around on “Find my iPhone” or trying to leave the city to go to a wedding.

They don’t make living and working in New York look easy and glamorous, because it’s not. Friends made it look like you’d all have time to sit around drinking coffee from huge mugs all day, and that your best friend will pay your rent and support you while you try to be an actor. Try again. Sex and the City made a freelance writer’s life look easy, when all the freelancers I know spend every waking moment trying to get more work, and don’t wear Manolo Blahnik shoes. How I Met Your Mother made you think you can rack up a huge credit card debt – “the size of Mount Waddington!” – and your husband will pay it off by landing a high-paying legal job right out of college. Nah mate.

When the Broad City girls are broke, they’re fucking broke, and they take care of it themselves. Abbi tries, and fails, to sell her clothes and her art when she breaks a mirror at Soulstice, and Ilana performs on subways to make money when she gets fired from Deals Deals Deals.

They call out the ongoing gentrification of their neighborhoods – Ilana and Bingo Bronson when they see the Whole Foods store in Gowanus: “This neighborhood is changing!” “It’s a whole new Gowanus,” and a woman in Abbi’s building who criticizes the price of sandwiches since millennials started moving to Astoria – and they don’t unrealistically spend all of their time in Manhattan. 

Image result for bingo bronson broad city

Abbi and Ilana may be trying to live their best lives, but they inevitably demonstrate poor judgment and make mistakes. They are 20-somethings, after all. Abbi melts Jeremy’s special dildo in the dishwasher. Ilana gets fired from her job for uploading bestiality porn to the company Twitter account. Abbi leaves Soulstice after her relationship with Trey ends, but tells them she won the lottery instead of saying she found a new job. She then gets fired from her next job when her boss’s cat jumps out the window and dies at an event in her apartment, and then gets fired from Anthropology for making a window display out of rubbish Jaime cleared out of his room, and inadvertently putting a rat in the store.

They capture what it’s like to figure it out, day by day. They get blackout drunk, Abbi so much so that she morphs into someone called Val and performs at The Back Room. They smoke a LOT of weed and mix it with prescription medication – Ilana with her anti-depressants, Abbi with painkillers after she has her wisdom teeth out – and they try mushrooms and do MDMA together. They sleep with men casually, they go back to their exes, they experiment with other women, and they even go home with two DJs who were planning on tricking them into group sex. 

Image result for abbi val

Broad City showed me that you can be loud, own your sexuality, make mistakes, get fired, get drunk, get high, and most of all, simultaneously hate and love living in New York. Abbi and Ilana think about moving to Florida when they go to clear out Ilana’s deceased grandmother’s condo, but realize the cold, expensive, disgusting garbage island that is New York is their real home. 

The most vivid memory I have of watching Broad City is when I was visiting New York in June of 2015. I was toying with the idea of moving here, and it was kind of a practice run for me. I was staying for two weeks, working in my old work’s New York office, and trying to live like a New Yorker instead of a tourist.

The biggest mistake I made on that vacation was not finding and packing comfortable walking shoes to wear in summer weather. I had boots, but they were rubbing against my ankles and giving me a rash. I had sneakers, but they didn’t go with the dresses I had to wear when it was hot and humid. So instead, I wore thongs (flip-flops). Don’t do this. Don’t. Just… don’t.

After the first day of wearing thongs from my Airbnb in the East Village over to Chelsea, and up to Midtown, my feet were completely black. I had to wear them again a few days later after the new flats I’d bought had given me painful blisters all over my feet. It was much hotter than it had been the first day I’d worn them, so my feet were sweating. That, mixed with the dirt I picked up off the street, the subway, and Washington Square Park created a gritty mud between my toes. It was disgusting.

I decided to get the subway home but went the wrong way and ended up somewhere on Canal Street. If you’ve ever been to New York, you’ll know that Canal Street is in Chinatown and features a lot of food markets. Food markets selling raw, fresh fish. It also features a lot of people – tourists and locals – who walk very slowly as they shuffle from market to market, meaning the streets are very crowded, it’s impossible to walk fast, and it SMELLS AWFUL on a hot summer’s day.

After that experience, I’d had enough. I got a taxi to my Airbnb, closed the blinds, turned the AC on and lay alone in the dark for a while. I thought about the possibility of living here, and whether I could handle a city like this all the time. I thought about whether I would end up having to spend a fortune on taxis everywhere, because people on the street were too annoying (yes). I wondered if I’d ever find a pair of shoes I could walk around in during summer (also yes). I thought about how hard it was to do simple things here, how hard it was to find some space. I couldn’t even find somewhere to sit down in the shade in Washington Square Park!

Instead of crying and complaining to myself all afternoon, which I really felt like doing, I realized I had Broad City saved on my computer, and watched some episodes from the first two seasons in the dark, air conditioned apartment.

Watching them talk their way through boring, menial jobs, give sass to strangers “OUTTA THE WAY, CLAVICLE”, and deal with the harsh realities of New York: being broke, hating your job, freeloading roommates, throwing up in public, being thrown up on in public, having your phone stolen, getting bedbugs, finding rats in your apartment, being forced to go watch some guy do Improv on a date, having the water and electricity in your apartment stop working during a hurricane, having an air conditioner you just bought get stolen off the street, and not having an air conditioner on a really hot summer’s day – made me realize life in New York would never be perfect. Instead, it would be dirty, messy, frustrating, heartbreaking and… worth it. 

Image result for abbi and ilana smile gif

A year later, I arrived in New York – to stay – and though I’ve questioned it, cursed it, cried and thrown up in public, and downright hated it sometimes, I also love it and can’t imagine myself leaving any time soon.

Abbi and Ilana have been a constant in my life for years, and they’ve made some of the funniest, most relatable TV I’ve ever seen. I will miss them very much, and after their last episode airs on Thursday, you will find me crying in my room, saying “YAS QUEEN” to myself over and over, like this: 

Related image

How it Feels to Go “Home”

I recently spent six weeks in Australia, so I could have a warm Christmas with my family, surprise my best friend at her 30th birthday party, attend my friends’ wedding party (those sneaky people went and eloped in Greece and only had a party instead of a big wedding), and see lots of friends and family spread between southern Queensland and Sydney.

When I got back, I didn’t expect to feel so disconnected from my former home. I didn’t expect to feel nothing but I did, and it was even more confusing since I thought about how I was meant to feel something. Here I was, back in a city I lived in for more than eight years, where I had great groups of friends and achieved huge milestones, and also back in my childhood home. It was as if I was visiting a distant family member I know I’m meant to like because they’re family, but still having nothing to say to them.

Even though the concept of “home” can be transient, or simultaneously applied to more than one place, the idea that where you’ve spent the most time in your life is to be thought of as your “real” home is generally applied. Except it’s not for me. In just under two years, New York has come to feel more like home to me than Sydney or Grafton ever did.

While I do miss the warmth at that time of year – going out, and celebrating Christmas and the lead up to it is just more fun when it’s warm and sunny – there are some things I don’t miss, or, am just indifferent about.

I say the same thing to anyone who asks me if I miss Australia here in New York. I miss my friends and family. I miss the access to Australian music. I miss the consistently good coffee. I miss going out at Palms on Oxford Street. But I don’t miss living there. This is usually enough for Americans, especially New Yorkers, who understand how privileged anyone is to be able to live in this city.

But Australians are harder to convince. I didn’t ever want to, or make, living in New York over living in Australia a competition for people to take part in, yet some seemed to think I thought it was. I will of course always say that New York is objectively a better city than Sydney (because it is), but at the same time, I know it is not a city for everyone. I know not everyone wants to live here, and that’s OK. But in Australia, I kept being asked the same question over and over again.

“Don’t you miss it?”

Whiting Beach, Yamba

Yamba is a beautiful small town on the coast of Northern New South Wales. I grew up about 45 minutes away, in Grafton, and while Yamba is probably the best part of being forced to live in a place that doesn’t have traffic lights and where people drive around with stickers that say “Fuck Off We’re Full!” on the back of their cars, it’s not something I think about.

“Don’t you miss it?” a friend asked as we looked at the beach. “No, not really… it’s nice and everything but I’m not that keen on it. I never really came here even when I lived in Grafton anyway.”

While I understand many Australians’ general obsession with water and being near it or in it as much as possible, and then having to tell you about being near or in the water after they’ve been in or near it, this is not something I find particularly interesting myself.

People usually do this by posting pictures of their tanned friends wearing white, stripes, hats, or all three in front of Bondi Icebergs, pictures from the coastal walk trails between Bondi and Coogee accompanied by “#blessed”, or pictures of various bodies of water around the country that look pretty much the same as each other. I personally think applying some more sunscreen would be a better thing to concentrate on than adding more pictures of water to instagram, but that’s me.

We’re missing tanned people wearing white, stripes, and hats from this photo

Byron Bay
Byron Bay is another beautiful small town on the coast of Northern New South Wales, but it is bigger and more popular than Yamba, and further away from Grafton. My uncle lived there for a while when I was in high school. I have spent enough time there to know where things are, but not enough to feel personally connected to it outside of having a distant goal of retiring there when I’m a millionaire one day.

“Don’t you miss it?” my friend asked over a jug of beer at The Northern. “No… not really… I mean I miss it when I hear about Splendour in the Grass and how much fun everyone is having, but I don’t really think about Byron that much.”

My answer launched a conversation about how much she loves Sydney for its choice of beaches, outdoor lifestyle, and natural beauty, which I understand, but these were all things that I sometimes enjoyed and they weren’t major selling points for me when I lived there.


Getting to the beach, even if you have a car, is a huge pain because of the traffic and the lack of parking/lack of a million dollars to be able to afford parking when you get there. Being outside is annoying when the weather inevitably turns at the end of a deceptively warm day, and the wind makes you flash your underwear at people driving past. (If that’s never happened to you, you’re really lucky, but try walking up Cleveland Street or near Redfern station in a dress and see how you go.) The comedian Wil Anderson put it best when he said:

“Sydney is like that girl at high school who got hot really early, and never had to develop a personality.”

Another friend asked “Don’t you miss it?” as we looked at the Harbour, but I knew there was more to it, the way there was each time any other people asked me the same question. Conversations about if I missed Sydney were also chances for people to tell me about the “cool things” that have happened since I left that somehow justify still living there, even after many mutual friends and acquaintances have moved elsewhere. Even then that solitary “cool thing” is really just limited to The Lansdowne reopening and having live music now.

You guys are cute to be excited by that and stuff, but one small venue reopening and deciding to pay bands to play doesn’t make up for the rest of the shit we put up with in Sydney on a daily basis, including but not limited to:

  • Traffic
  • Disappointing and expensive public transport
  • A distinct lack of culture
  • A city full of construction as they tear up George Street and insert a light rail system that they already had and shouldn’t have gotten rid of years ago
  • Lock out laws dictating what time you can enter a venue and what time you can drink until
  • All the empty spots on Oxford Street and Bayswater Road that once hosted bars, clubs, and venues until the government decided they only wanted the city to host ugly overpriced apartment buildings that will likely remain empty after they’ve been bought by foreign investors

And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Every few months some publication in Sydney publishes a story about a disillusioned person who now hates it, either because they can’t afford to have a family there, or because Melbourne has more culture.


When are you coming back?
I was also asked, many times, when I was coming back to Australia. It was a confronting question because not only do I not know, (job and visa renewal pending) I don’t want to.  If Trump decides our countries aren’t mates any more and revokes the E3 visa, and if someone in my family (God forbid, touch wood, all the rest) becomes ill and needs me back there long term, then I won’t have a choice.

I can’t imagine wanting to move back to Australia by choice, but I also find it strange that I can’t imagine it. Aren’t you meant to want to go “home”, eventually? Though, maybe, home doesn’t need to be applied to where you lived as a child, where your family live, or where you lived for the most time in your life.

Home as an idea can be applied to wherever you feel like you can be yourself. And for some, that might in Yamba, or Byron Bay, or doing “chin chin” Boomerangs with aperol spritzes at Icebergs. That’s great. We should all be able to find our homes, even if we end up on the other side of the world from where we started.

I’m Tired of Manhattan. There, I Said It.

I’ve lived in New York for 16 months, and I know that sounds weird to say. It’s not quite long enough to say a year and a half but it’s definitely more than one year. I sound like one of those new mothers who measures their child’s life in months, even when you can say “two years old” instead of “24 months.”

I’m unsure if my introversion, and possible social anxiety, has gotten worse since I moved here and I’ve been forced to cohabit small spaces with a lot of people every day, or if I just have a lower threshold for slight discomfort and inconvenience now that I’m 30. But I have recently made the decision that I do not like Manhattan.

It’s Not All Bad
Don’t get me wrong. I love living here. I have my moments walking around the Upper East Side and you can see allll the way down (or up) town in a straight line from 3rd Avenue. I feel a lot of nostalgia for, and an ongoing connection to, the East Village neighborhood between 1st Avenue and Avenue C, since I stayed around there the first two times I visited New York. I also love going to visit Washington Square Park on sunny afternoons, watching people come up with creative ways to make money (writing poems, reciting Shakespeare, blowing bubbles) and then immediately getting lost when I leave the park and end up over near the Meatpacking District.

Sometimes, the city is gorgeous and being here makes me feel connected to something bigger – maybe in the way religious people feel when they go to church, or annoying people feel when they go to CrossFit – and in those moments I think about how grateful I am to be able to experience this whenever I want.

But, Sometimes It Sucks
On other days, usually when I have to take the subway long distances and walk through tourist-crowded areas, I realize how many people are crammed into small places and just how annoying they all are. Walking around St Marks Place on a Friday or Saturday evening is a very, very bad idea. Not only do the people who hang out in that area not know how to walk on the fucking footpath (seriously, WALK ON THE RIGHT), they don’t move when they see me and other pedestrians coming, even though we are doing the right thing. There are also a lot more bikes around than there used to be, and I have almost been hit by rogue cyclists with their City Bike memberships who think they always have right of way (spoiler alert – they don’t) when they ignored me, other pedestrians, and the traffic lights that are put there for their own protection.

I am also really tired of catching the subway with people who don’t know how to behave down there. It doesn’t help that I work right near Rockefeller Center, and my stop is always full of tourists wandering around before or after they’ve been ripped off  by going to the Top of the Rock, who don’t understand that the stairs to the platform are not a good place to check their phones, and that people behind them might have been running to that train that just pulled up and is about to leave.

Move Bitch, Get Out The Way
On Thursday, I decided to do something different instead of having yet another sad desk lunch, and walked to Central Park to eat. It is only eight blocks from my office, which is not a far walk at all, but I felt like I was running an obstacle course. Look out! Here comes a family staring up at the skyline, letting their child stop and start walking as they please, with little regard to the rest of us. Oops, almost bumped into the idiot who stopped to check Google maps instead of crossing the street, the way you’re meant to when everyone else around you does. Watch out, here comes someone trying to sell me a bike tour even though I don’t like bikes and I’m not a fucking tourist. By the time I got to the park I was exhausted, and immediately depressed that I’d have to do it all again on the way back.

I recently went to a class on the other side of Times Square from my office, and for some stupid reason, I thought it would be a good idea to walk there. DO NOT DO THIS. DON’T. I was met with crowds of people looking at out of work actors and musicians (and probably writers) dressed up as cartoon characters, who don’t seem to understand the skill it requires to move out of someone’s way. It got to the point that I was deliberately elbowing people who walked towards me on my side of the sidewalk, so they would have a story to tell back in middle America about those “rude New Yorkers.” I regret nothing.

Image taken from Natalie Walker’s Twitter


Other than people walking on the wrong side of things, trying to hassle money from you, and making you miss the train by being slow and selfish, it also really sucks when you try to do something as out there as try to get a drink or dinner after work.

Again, my experience is limited to midtown Manhattan, as that is where I have worked since I moved here, so this may be different in other neighborhoods. Just daring to get a drink at a bar near my old office on 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue, or near 51st Street and 6th Avenue, where I currently work, is like agreeing to walk into hell.

  • What’s that? You want somewhere to sit? There’s a tiny little table in that corner – no chairs – but you can rest your drink on it.
  • You want food? That’s $20 and a 40 minute wait.
  • You want a drink? Oh, that’ll be $9 for a basic beer and you’ll have to wait 20 minutes at the bar before you can order.
  • You want to be able to speak to your friends without having to yell over 100 other people and our loud music? Good luck.

The gloss has worn off Manhattan. Give me beautiful, relaxing Brooklyn any day.

Miranda, you ended in Chinatown when Steve cheated on you. Let’s not throw stones now, K?