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From Broad City’s very first episode in 2013 all the way up until the Season 3 finale, we (and probably everyone else) assumed Ilana and Abbi had been BFFs their whole lives. But in the Season 4 premiere, “Sliding Doors,” we learn that our favourite kweens didn’t actually become friends until (gasp) their early 20s.
The season kicks off in 2011, when (a shockingly straight-haired) Ilana offers to let Abbi use her MetroCard to board the subway. Ilana, of course, gets into the subway by hopping the turnstile.
Then things start to get a little weird. Abbi and Ilana run to catch the subway, but a nauseous businessman blocks their way. In one version of the story (let’s call this Timeline One), Abbi and Ilana sidestep the man’s vomit and catch their train just in time. In the second version (Timeline Two) they miss the train and end up awkwardly introducing themselves. This isn’t just an origin story, y’all—it’s a story about what could have happened if Abbi and Ilana never. Became. Friends.
In Timeline One, Abbi and Ilana quickly go their separate ways—a man selling novelty water guns verbally harasses Abbi on the street while a Tisch School break dancer accidentally kicks Ilana in the face. Ilana also gets fired for sleeping on the job (and using a bag of Kenyan hazelnut coffee beans as a pillow) and the insanely creepy “New York City Snipper” cuts Abbi’s ponytail off
In Timeline Two, on the other hand, Abbi still gets harassed but Ilana promptly calls the water gun guy out for being a “needle dick bitch.” Sure, Ilana drives the man to tears, but it was probably for the best.
Ilana still gets fired, but thanks to a couple of overactive sprinklers we get to witness the curly-haired Ilana origin story. At first Ilana’s unsure about her new ‘do, but after Abbi insists it gives her a “Rosie Perez vibe,” she’s completely sold.
An irritated Timeline One Ilana finds out that her roommates, the “Madisons,” are having a suite meeting (aka a “sweeting”) without her—and it’s about none other than Ilana herself. Admittedly, we’re kind of on the Madisons’ side when they tell Ilana to stop showing them videos of a man trying to have sex with a horse (or, as Ilana puts it, “fighting for the sensual pleasure of his life”).
Abbi, now with what looks like a cross between a shag and a mullet, returns to her apartment and meets Bevers for the very first time. But in what might be the biggest shock of the episode, Bevers is completely ripped. Abbi then assures the freeloading Bevers to make himself at home, words that have likely haunted her ever since.
Ilana botches a class presentation in Timeline One (after she makes out with then-BF and eventual roommate Jaimé and before she offends a classmate who lost her house to a sinkhole) and gets her shirt accidentally ripped off by a reckless bicyclist. In the meantime a lonely, ponytail-less Abbi eats the saddest cup of frozen yogurt in the world.
In Timeline Two, a much happier Abbi and Ilana impulsively visit a psychic and find out that they’re apparently going to die later that day. They refuse to believe the psychic’s warning (“she was eating a burrito bowl”) but use it as an excuse to do something spontaneous…i.e. get a back tattoo of one of the biggest TV icons in the world.
Abbi and Ilana celebrate Abbi’s new ink by eating pizza and smoking up, respectively. A cop car drives by and they make a run for it, but in a shocking turn of events they get run over by a bus (plastered with an obnoxious The Apprentice ad, naturally) while sprinting across the street.
Yep, turns out that if Abbi and Ilana had missed their subway, they would have straight up died. But all hope is not lost. In Timeline One, Ilana (who eventually found a new shirt) and Abbi run into each other at the same pizza-smoking bench from Timeline Two. They immediately bond by agreeing to write their names in a nearby patch of wet cement (after Ilana’s suggestion to press their breasts into the cement got shut down).
After that, all it takes is one convo about why people can’t buy eggs after 11:30 a.m. for Abbi and Ilana to form a friendship that, so far, has endured three seasons. We have no idea what the rest of Season 4 has in store, but it’s nice to know that despite the vomit, the Snipper, and the bicyclist, Abbi and Ilana still found a way to become besties.
Watch new episodes of Broad City every Thursday at 2:30 a.m. ET.