It has been a while since I could call myself a 20-something. I am more than ok with that, and I really appreciate the distance and wisdom that has come over the years. Like many, I thought I was super smart and super together, but I now realize that I really had no idea who I was or what I wanted. That’s ok, because that is what is supposed to happen. In fact, there are quite a few good television shows that support the endearing concept that men and women in their 20s have no clue, try hard, talk like they actually know what they are talking about, and are entertaining evoking laughter and tears.
My two favorites are Lena Dunham’s Girls, no surprise here, and Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s Broad City. Girls has been a favorite for a while and has clear cross over appeal. When I was in my 20s, I had HBO’s first big hit, Sex and the City as my guide. This was tough. Very few people working in book and magazine publishing can afford Milano Blahniks and meet guys like Mr. Big. I never really felt like a “Charlotte” and certainly never come close to being a “Samantha”. It was entertaining though and made me want to buy shoes and smoke cigarettes. I am happy to report that Dunham’s characters, while still characters, have lower expectations and look a bit more ‘normal.’ This must be a relief to a generation of 20-somethings.
My husband discovered Jacobson and Glazer’s original Broad City web series (he probably read about it in the New Yorker). I knew he was on to something good when he was belly laughing and coming to get me to show me their comedic bits. They really are bits. This is how the youngsters watch media these days, snippets, quick concepts … or at least this is what my tween seems to prefer. Their critically acclaimed Web series made it to the big leagues or at least to the somewhat older audience of Comedy Central, and I can happily report, it’s still really, really funny.
Even though they are very much 20-something characters with 20-something adventures, their humor is ageless and hijinks are comedic perfection. Jacobson and Glazer are young, but they are pros at their craft. They started out at Upright Citizens Brigade and were clearly good enough to be recognized and supported by UCB co-founder Amy Poehler. She’s an executive producer on their show. Moreover Jacobson and Glazer appeal to older, more seasoned comedians in the business and they often feature oldies but goodies such as Fred Armisen, Janeane Garofalo, and Amy Sedaris.
Watching and enjoying shows like these, I have come to appreciate good writing, its story and characters. These shows are good because they are not for 25 year olds, expressly. They are good because they can be appreciated by a broad spectrum of viewers — you just have to have the right sense of humor. I personally think a sense of humor just gets better with age!
Photo Credit: Fair use image of Comedy Central logo.