Why the Women of Broad City are the Stoner Heroines We’ve Been Waiting For

in Culture

When the cultural history of marijuana is recounted, the women of Broad City will be ranked alongside Willie Nelson, Dennis Peron, Bob Marley, and Jeffrey Lebowski as some of its most groundbreaking and influential 420 icons. Lead characters Abbi Abrams and Ilana Wexler (played by the show’s creators, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer) have given us a completely original entry in the cannabis canon: a female Stoner Duo.

Stoner Heroes have been with us since the release of Easy Rider in 1969. The archetype arose with the ’60s counterculture, but much like cannabis itself, the trope evolved into an array of countless strains. Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke, however, spurred a seismic change in stoner screen-history. Released in 1978, the film not only invented the stoner comedy genre, it expanded the archetype of the lone Stoner Hero into the even-more-iconic Stoner Duo.

Up In Smoke laid the blueprint for Half Baked, The Big Lebowski, Pineapple Express and a plethora of other films. It birthed iconic duos like Bill and Ted, Craig and Smokey, Method Man and Redman, Harold and Kumar, Jay and Silent Bob, and Shaggy and Scooby.
While these onscreen Stoner Duos have been remarkably diverse in terms of age, race, and socioeconomic status they’re almost inevitably male. Historically, the rare stoner chicks we’ve seen in film and television are bit players, adjacent to male leads. Exactly one woman made Ranker’s Top 20 Most Influential Stoners In Film History: Annie Hall, a Woody Allen character from 1977.

All of the above explains why, when women saw Broad City for the first time, millions of us nearly dropped our bongs. Finally, we were seeing ourselves onscreen for the first time–and not as desperate suburbanite widows driven to drug-dealing; or cute, pixie sidekicks to leading male characters. Broad City …

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Author: Jennifer Boeder / High Times

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