Broad City 5.6 Recap: Abbi & Ilana Get In Touch With Their Jewish Roots

by Gary Catig

Abbi’s new romance with the doctor is going well and they’ve spent the night together. Lesley lies quietly watching her girlfriend sleep. However, it’s more to see if she has a deviated septum than anything romantic. When Abbi wakes, she’s given a yellow hat as a present. Even though she has reservations wearing it, she doesn’t want to voice them fearing it might hurt Lesley’s feelings.

[*Spoilers For 5.6 Ahead!]

Ilana sent away her DNA to an ancestry website and is anxiously waiting the results. She wants to learn more about herself and incorporate her findings into her personal statement for graduate schools, in particular, the history of mental illness. One of her more exciting takeaways is she is a 1/16 cousin to a Holocaust survivor and he lives right in Manhattan. She decides to visit this distant relative, Saul Borrowitz, to gain firsthand knowledge about her family history and any shared mental illness. Abbi tags along for the ride.

When the two arrive at Saul’s assisted living home, they find out Ilana isn’t the first to seek him out because of the DNA tests but she might be the one with the strongest resemblance. After all, a young Saul looked like Ilana with a mustache. While the future graduate student is eager to learn from her newly discovered family member, Saul has only one request. He’ll tell her everything she wants to know if they can sneak him out for a day in the city.

All three of them enjoy galivanting throughout Manhattan. First, Saul purchases a nice pair of kicks to replace is old worn out shoes. As they are determining a place to eat lunch, Abbi and Ilana spot actor, Alan Cumming out on the street. They begin fangirling and stalk him to a restaurant for drag brunch. Though it’s not Saul’s scene he embraces it flirting with the waitress, joining a conga line and taking a hit out of Ilana’s marijuana pen. Meanwhile, our heroines muster enough courage to approach Cumming but in the process, lose track of Saul.

Panicking and also high, the best friends try to think like an old Jewish holocaust survivor to find their ward and end up in stereotypical places. They hit up a Jewish grocery thinking he wants pickled herring, visit The Holocaust museum and enter a department store with a huge sale. At each stop they lack the urgency of finding a missing person since they do something for themselves. They buy some babka at the grocery, walk through the whole museum and pick out new outfits.

Giving up, they head back to the assisted living home to inform them of losing Saul. The receptionist is angry they took him out but tells them he always ends up at Ikea whenever he breaks out. Sure enough, there he is with a cart full of items. Before they leave, they can’t pass up eating the Swedish meatballs. Over dinner Saul reveals he finds the furniture store therapeutic. When he escaped his concentration camp, he ended up in Sweden where they were very welcoming. He’s been avoiding talking about his experiences because he didn’t want to be reminded of his time during the war.

Afterwards, Abby and Ilana end up in their respective apartments. Abbi is watching TV with Lesley and decides to tell her significant other how she really feels about the hat. She gave it a good try all day, but doesn’t feel it’s her style and Lesley understands. Elsewhere, Ilana is finishing up her personal statement and decides to go in a different direction. Instead of discussing her family’s history of mental health, she discusses her identifying with her Jewish roots and the resiliency her people, like Saul, exhibit in the face of adversity.

This episode was about embracing culture and heritage through the typical Broad City hijinks. Though Ilana’s initial intentions were to focus on mental health, she gains a broader perspective on being Jewish through her interactions with Saul. It’s also humorous that all the things Ilana and Abbi think an old stereotypical Jewish person would enjoy were also things that they like and do. Especially for Abbi since the running gag was that she was Jewish, but with emphasis on the “ish”. In the subplot, it’s nice to see Abbi happy in her relationship and be willing to be honest with her partner. Sometimes early on, people aren’t willing to rock the boat when things are going well. Ilana is still coming to terms with Abbi’s bisexuality. She’s happy for her best friend but there could be a little jealousy there. We know they have a special relationship and maybe Ilana wishes Abbi explored this side with her. We already know from the season premiere how much Ilana loves that ass.

Other interesting episode notes:

  • From her genetic tests, we learn Ilana is susceptible to IBS, which could explain how she wrecked Lincoln’s toilet last episode.
  • In order to leave the assisted living home, Saul was smuggled out in a rug. You can see him purchasing a new one at Ikea.

Broad City airs Thursdays at 10:00 pm on Comedy Central.

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