There might not be a more iconic friendship duo in modern television than Broad City's Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler. Certainly not since Scooby and Shaggy have we seen a pair of characters so close, and certainly not since Scooby and Shaggy have we seen a pair of characters so blatantly stoned out of their gourds. But for all the #friendshipgoals and best friend memes that Abbi and Ilana's antics might have spawned, when you really stop to think about it, these two were awful friends for each other. Here are two major reasons as to why:
1. They Don't Consider Each Other's Perspectives
Abbi and Ilana are vastly different people, which can be totally fine in a friendship and even preferable sometimes. Friendships aren't food. On paper, you can be as compatible as peanut butter and a shoe, and it can still be a great friendship because adding a different perspective can enrich your life. But that dynamic works up until a point, or so long as the peanut butter can be cognizant of the shoe's worldview and then empathize with that shoe. If it can't, then you've got a shoe facing a lot of pressure to dunk itself into a tub full of jelly and ... okay, maybe this metaphor is going off the rails a bit. How about just watch this clip, and you can see what I mean:
Abbi and her crush, Jeremy, are about to have sex when a "whoopsie, sitcom misunderstanding" happens, and now he wants Abbi to peg him. It's not really something Abbi wants to do, so she calls Illana for advice and emotional support. Ilana, however, is so taken with the idea of pegging from her own peanut-buttery perspective and wants to live vicariously through Abbi, so she pressures her even further. Abbi goes through with it, despite her best judgment, and then we end up with an "uh-oh, sitcom conflict" after Abbi mishandles Jeremy's dildo.
It should go without saying that if you feel pressure from your friends to peg people that you don't want to peg, then you might be in a bad friendship, but I think the underlying issue here is even deeper. These are two people who struggle to see the world through each other's eyes and, as a result, constantly create chaos for each other.
2. They are codependent beyond belief
It's one thing to love your best friend. It's another to be so codependent that you lose your sense of self. Abbi and Ilana are an example of the latter and have reached such a level of co-dependency that it would make Freudian psychologists weep into their mothers' arms. Here's just one example of how toxic co-dependency can be:
Abbi has become so enmeshed in Illana's identity that to even not have access to her for a second causes her immeasurable psychological distress. There's also a severe lack of boundaries, which is the inevitable byproduct of any codependent relationship. Here's a clip of Illana casually calling Abbi while she's also in the middle of having sex.
It's a sucky situation, not just for Abbi and Illana, but for everyone else in their orbit, too, like Lincoln. The show eventually acknowledges Abbi and Illana's codependent relationship in season 5, but it doesn't change the fact that Abbi and Illana are not the ideal model of BFFs. If anything, their on-screen departure in the series finale proves that the Abbi/Illana dynamic is only to be copied if you want to be BFFFSAB. (Best Friends For Five Seasons At Best.)
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Top Image: CBS Television Distribution