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7 Shows like Broad City: TV for Independent Women
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7 Shows like Broad City: TV for Independent Women

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorIf you can relate to independent women in their twenties, who follow their dreams and get into embarrassing situations along the way, you’ve probably been watching ‘Broad City’ (Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson, 2014 – Present). Unfortunately there’s only two seasons out so far, so if you’re looking for some more girl-power in the form of a good show, here are five awesome shows like ‘Broad City’, ‘Girls’, ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, ‘Inside Amy Schumer’, ‘The Comeback’ and ‘Are You There, Chelsea?’ ~ Roxanne Sancto

Two Broads Living It up in ‘Broad City’

It’s pretty easy to get into ‘Broad City’ – I mean, what’s not to like? Protagonists Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer) and Abbi Jacobson (Abbi Abrams), deal with most of the same crap all of us twenty-somethings have to put up with at some point or another.

They’re both desperately trying to make their mark in the world but can’t really get going because they spend most of their time working a dead-end job. Well Abbi does. Ilana spends more time outside of the Deals Deals Deals sales-office running phantom errands, while Abbi picks pubes from the Soulstice fitness center, where she works as a cleaner.

They’re both very different in terms of lifestyles and attitudes and yet they’re the perfect match. Abbi tries to help Ilana keep her feet firmly on the ground but usually ends up suffering the consequences of Ilana’s crazy adventures.

‘Broad City’ started out as a web-series in 2009 – 2011, but after gaining international popularity, it was picked up by Comedy Central in 2014. It’s been months since the last season aired, so if you’re desperate for some show revolving around strong, funny women – we’ll sort you out!

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Shows Similar to ‘Broad City’…

‘Inside Amy Schumer’ (Comedy Central, 2013 – Ongoing)

One thing that makes TV shows like ‘Broad City’ so attractive is that it’s not for everyone. It’s unique in that it doesn’t follow any strict formula – the writers and creators do whatever rocks their boat – if it works great, if it doesn’t, well, it doesn’t – simple as that.

The same is true for ‘Inside Amy Schumer’, a daring sketch show that often tackles subjects such as gender roles, sexism and racism – topics other sketch shows often steer clear of. Amy however, broaches the “unspeakables” in a manner that we can emphasize with and that –hopefully – opens up a healthy dialogue.

‘Inside Amy Schumer’ is divided into different parts: Stand-up segments, sketches, street interviews and long interviews with random guests who have interesting stories to tell. Personally, I really enjoy the long interviews as they give us a deeper sense of how Amy really is and what makes her tick.

Similarity Match: 80%
Series like Broad City girls and Amy Schumer have a way of handling delicate topics with a fresh sense of humour and intelligent punchlines.

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‘Girls’ (HBO, 2012-Ongoing)

If you liked Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte and their explorations of all things Sex and the City, but couldn’t quite relate to all the desperate drama about marriage, apartment hunting and spending more than a month’s worth of rent on a pair of Choo’s, you’re going to love Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’: ‘Sex and the City’ (find more great similar shows here) for broke, twenty-something year olds.

‘Girls’ focuses on Hannah Horvath, the slightly awkward, totally honest and narcissist 24 year old from Michigan, who moves to the big city to –wait for it – “make it” as a writer. She’s ambitious where her writing and her sex life is concerned – not so much when it comes to finding a job that’ll actually pay the bills. Until her parents cut her off, that is.

When she’s not doing the weird and dirty with her boyfriend Adam (Adam Driver), she can usually be found hanging out with her BFF, Miss Grown-Up Marnie (Allison Williams), the cosmopolitan, free-spirited and adventurous Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and the sweetly naïve Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet).

Similarity Match: 60%
While ‘Broad City’ incorporates more comedy, it is similar to girls in that it touches up on various sentiments 20 year old girls can totally relate to (fashion, body image, career choices/struggles, etc).

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‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ (Netflix, 2015 – Ongoing)

I imagine New York City has to be a mind-boggling experience for anyone who’s never been out of the suburbs, but for someone who has spent 15 years in a bunker led by a doomsday cult in Indiana, walking around NYC has got to be like an outer-body experience.

Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) was one of four women who was kept in the doomsday bunker. When they’re finally released, she is ready to embrace a whole new life and make up for all the years she never saw the light of day.

You’d think anyone else who has just come out of such a horrifying situation would be traumatized and need time to adjust to the outside world but not Kimmy – She refuses to see herself as a victim and instead of moping around about her past, she’s ready to start her future!

She finds great companionship in her gay room-mate Titus (Tituss Burgess) and her tough-cookie land lady Lilian (Carol Kane), and lands a pretty cool job as a nanny. Her life is only just getting started, so tune in now and be sure not to miss any important milestones!

Similarity Match: 60%
Whereas ‘Broad City’ focuses on the satirical side of humour, ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ is more about the happy-go-lucky approach. But both share one thing in common: Strong female lead characters!

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‘Are You There, Chelsea?’ (NBC, 2012)

Based on Chelsea Handler’s book ‘Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea’ (2008), the show, ‘Are You There, Chelsea’ features Laura Prepon in the role of Chelsea. Chelsea is a fun-loving, Vodka-drinking commitment phobe, who works at a bar.

She gets herself into all kinds of trouble, receiving a D.U.I in the first episode, but can always count on her friends the bubbly and naïve Dee Dee (Lauren Lapkus) and Nikki (Natasha Leggero) for (sometimes ridiculous) advise.

Unfortunately the show was cancelled after just one season, but if you’re looking to binge-watch a show with a great female cast – Natasha Lerggero!!! – this is it!

Similarity Match: 60%
The setting of ‘Are You There, Chelsea’ is a lot more “sitcom” than ‘Broad City’, but the shows have a lot of similarity in terms of humour and sarcasm.

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‘The Comeback’ (HBO, 2014 – Ongoing)

OK, come one, admit it: You’ve seen every episode of ‘Friends’ at least five hundred and twenty three times and yet… Every time you find a channel with reruns, you can’t help watching it for the five hundred and twenty fourth time. It just doesn’t get old! And neither does Lisa Kudrow aka Phoebe Buffay!

In ‘The Comeback’, Kudrow slips into the role of Variety Cherish, former star of the sitcom I’m It. Since the show’s final episode in 1993, Variety hasn’t been able to find any work, so when she is asked to be the star of the reality show The Comeback, she practically leaps at it.

This show really is bitter-sweet: Variety Cherish hasn’t really come to terms with the fact that she is no longer of interest in Hollywood and seems to have created a fantasy world for herself, where people are actually admiring her – rather than ridiculing her. This is one of Kudrow’s finest roles for which she won the Dorian Award for TV Performance of the Year in 2014.

Similarity Match: 40%
The feeling and focus of ‘The Comeback’ is very different from ‘Broad City’, but it gives the 90’s generation a chance to reconnect with our all-time favourite ‘Friends’ character.

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If You Like ‘Broad City’, You Will Like…

As you already know, ‘Broad City’ was originally a web series. There’s quite a few great web based shows at the moment.

‘High Maintenance’ (Vimeo, HBO, 2012-Ongoing)

‘High Maintenance’ became very popular and focuses on The Guy (Ben Sinclair), a marijuana delivery man who delivers smokeable goods to various people who, like Ilana and Abbi, enjoy a toke or two every now and then.

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‘F to 7th’ (Vimeo, 2013-Ongoing)

‘F to 7th’ is another brilliant web series written and directed by Ingrid Jungermann. It moves away from the lesbian stereotype usually reserved for the screen and focuses on the insecurities and “homoneurotic” tendencies of its lead character (Jungermann).

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

When it comes to web series, sitcoms and other shows, there are so many choices it’s often difficult to know what to pick. But if you’re looking for shows that give ballsy women the center stage, the shows mentioned above are exactly what you’re looking for.

Out of all these shows – Which one do you most relate to?

Which is your favourite female character?

Tell us about why you love these shows in the comment section below!

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.

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