Six Things We've Learned From 'Broad City' About BFFs




Yes, this is what BFFs do. (Credit: Comedy Central)

BY RACHAEL FUNK (REVIEWniverse Contributor)

Raise your hand if you aren't watching Broad City. Now take that hand and punch yourself in the head, because you are missing out. Created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson and produced by superheroine-genius Amy Poehler, this show is the only reason people finally break down and get a Hulu Plus account. If you've been going all hermit and don't know what the show is about, here is a quick overview: Abby and Ilana play our two favorite BFFs since Turk and JD. They live in New York, and somehow manage to hold their lives together as they bumble through their newly found adulthood.

There is a lot to be said about the show solely based on its merit as a female-driven comedy, but if we can all be honest, talking about that gets boring. By now, if anyone is still subscribing to the "women aren't funny" mentality, I'll go ahead and lump them in with the Westboro Baptists and people who prefer Pepsi to Coke: You're doing life wrong on so many levels. You've made your choices, now go live with them somewhere—but before you do, Let's talk about what’s really important and essential to the show's appeal: Things You Can Only Do With Your Best Friend. Below, as gleaned from Broad City's first two seasons thus far, are six of them. 

1. Talk About the WEIRDEST Sex Stuff
Pegging, y'all. Broad City did pegging, and I'm still giggling about it (don't mistake giggling for judging, it is exactly 0.00% of my business what you like doin' in bed...unless you're trying to get me in there, too). If you can't call your BFF from the bathroom in the middle of a hookup that is NOT going the way you planned it, who are you going to call? Certainly not 311. (Below video NSFW)


2. Buddy System in Bed-Stuy
Or wherever it was they rescued their air conditioner from. Is it 150 degrees outside and you need to go door to door to find yourself a little air-conditioned reprieve from the cruel heat of summer? Who's gonna be tromping through Brooklyn with you, helping you haul your ill-gotten prize? It's your sister from a different mister. She might be complaining the whole time, but remember that time she was too drunk and you had to help her take out her contacts? She owes you one.

3. Post-Surgical Care

Doesn't matter if it's yanking out a couple of teeth or finally getting those webbed toes fixed, your bestie is going to come through for you in a big way. Maybe not "follow your high ass to Gowanus on a bike" big, but if you ask really nicely and cry a little bit, she might bring you frozen yogurt and hide your cell phone for you.


4. Get Along With Your Alter Ego

If you don't think you have an alter ego when you're at your drunk drunk, it only means your alter ego is sneakier than you. Mine is named Mabel. Animals fear her and she likes to lock people into eternal full-body hugs. Not only does your BFF know how to wrangle your alter ego, but she actually enjoys it from time to time. You know, when she's not chasing you with a shoe and yelling, "Put down the bunny, Lenny!"

5. Share Your Best/Worst Celebrity Impressions

Come on. She's heard your Sarah Palin and you know exactly how her Sean Connery is going to come out. You both pretend to hate each other's bad impressions, but secretly you think they're the greatest thing ever.

6. Be Fully Supportive of Each Other, Even When She's Doing Something Ridiculous

ARE YOU KIDDING ME, THEY CHARGED YOU FOR GUACAMOLE? Those bastards! You got written up for taking a three-hour lunch? They don't know what a treasure you are! You got kicked out for taking your shirt off? Well, if they didn't want to see boobies, they shouldn't be living in New York, am I right?? Do what you want, you know your girl is in your corner waiting with a towel and a biting comment for the haters. 

In summation, do yourself a favor: Take 20 minutes and go watch an episode. Allow yourself the Broad City experience, because do you really want to be the only asshole at this rooftop party with no idea what anyone is talking about?  

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No, Toilet Paper, I Won't Go Commando



Anarchy, I tell you, anarchy! (Credit: Cottonelle) 


Of all the dastardly, dirty tricks. First, Cottonelle wants to commandeer my TV time, wining and dining me to discover whether I wipe my bottom with care (answer: sometimes). But that wasn't enough. No. Then they had to open a dialogue about the different nicknames I use for my butt (answers: poopy-kins, tough-stuff and mother). Now, however, they've simply gone too far. The toilet-paper empire and their fetching British spokeslady, UK actress/TV personality Cherry Healey, are insisting that I delight in the rippled comfort of their two-ply product and then ditch my underwear altogether. Look and listen for yourself:

Well, I've got news for you, Ms. Healey: Much as I loathe pesky elastic lines around my waist and crave the reassurance of that squeaky-clean, post-No. 2 feeling like everyone else, I refuse to abandon the only article of clothing that separates me from the animals and Amber Rose. What's next? Cottonelle parent corporation Kimblery-Clark recommending antsy elder consumers ditch their pesky Depends, or that forward-thinking parents forego the company's Huggies in deference to some baby wipes and a wish for the best? This is lunacy, I say, absolute lunacy! And totally unhygenic and desperate and weird. And while I can't speak for the ladies, as Cosmo Kramer (a risk-taker in the area of personal care if there ever was one), once so wisely declared, "My boys need a house."

Would you go commando? Or perhaps simply prefer brands don't pander to you with creepy ads that dance around the universal truths of bodily functions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

And for more stuff like (and very much disparate from) this, and other pop-culture thoughts, followKenny Herzog and REVIEWniverse on Twitter. 


'The Returned' is 'Walking Dead' With Soul, But See French Version First


There's nothing like a French mommy to comfort her French zombie daughter and her wildly sexy four-year-older twin. Welcome to the original The Returned(Credit: Sundance Channel)


A&E’s The Returned, the American remake of the French/Sundance Channel’s The Returned (Les Revenants) is (so far) an almost scene-for-scene replication of the Emmy-winning original. But as one commenter stated on A&E’s Facebook page, “No! Why on earth would I watch [the] American remake when [the] French original is goddamn good!?” And he is correct.

Fox recently did the same thing with BBC’s thoughtful thriller Broadchurch. Despite turning it into an exact copy of the British hit called Gracepoint (including the same leading man, David Tennant), it lacked all the subtlety of the original.

The Returned takes place in a small mountain town where departed loved ones come back from the dead. More like a ghost story than your ordinary zombie fare, these are not predatory Walking Dead zombies. They are the same people who died and returned as confused by it as any of their living counterparts. The concept is thoughtful and compelling. In Les Revenants’ case, it is downright riveting—one of the best TV series…ever.  In A&E’s version, it is more like misguided homage.

The returned come back unchanged, extremely hungry, not remembering anything about their death and in great need of sleep. Slowly we discover they might have some unusual powers like kinetic abilities and superhuman strength. Why have they come back? Are they dangerous? How are they all connected to each other?

Oh, yes, there’s a serial killer on the loose as well. And a lake that has its own secrets.

The original, created and directed by Fabrice Cobert, was beautifully haunting. That’s what made it so unique. The remake, executive produced by Bates’ Motel and Lost’s Carlton Cuse, is bright and shiny, lacking the lovely subtlety of the original. (Cuse did boldly succeed creating something original from other material with Bates, but has yet to show us what he has in mind with The Returned.) Much of the original takes place in the viewer’s head, but it is shoved down your throat on the heavy-handed remake.  

So why wouldn’t a copycat edition be as good as the original?

Here are 10 reasons:


The eerie music of Scottish band Mogwai adds so much to the spooky ambience of the original. The minute the new version began with its folk-rock soundtrack, they lost the foreboding spirit of the original. Mogwai’s soundtrack is like a character, skulking around, mysterious and other-worldly.  The new soundtrack by the talented Zoe Keating of the cello-driven rock band Rasputina and Jeff Russo of Tonic, attempts hints at the original, but they don’t even come close to the way Mogwai interweaves his music deep, deep into the action. Here's the haunting theme song.


 The original is in French and is subtitled. And even if you don’t know French, it’s beautiful to listen to. For Americans, hearing the dialogue in its original language adds to the stranger-in-a-strange-land atmosphere. Also, Les Revenants’ Alps-town seems ghost-like even before the dead return, and the French town is more conducive to goosebumps than the American one. Also, the doctor in the French version makes house calls. Boo, American health care system.


Original Victor? What kind of creepy secrets do you hold? (Credit: BBC Channel 4)

You couldn’t get creepier than little Victor (Swann Nambotin) in the original. The new Victor (Dylan Kingwell) is cute enough—well, too cute—but he doesn’t have French Victor’s alien eyes and devilish understatement. Nambotin’s Victor was the heartbeat of the original.


Jenna Thaim: Reason enough to watch the French version of The Returned on Sundance. (Credit: Sundance Channel)

We haven’t really gotten into new Lena’s character yet, but the original Lena (the Brave look-alike Jenna Thaim) was a wild-maned, untamed redhead whose electricity just bolted from the screen. I don’t know, but French redheads seem more intense than other redheads.


In the original, Céline Sallette plays Julie, the doctor and Victor’s guardian, with a desperate ease.  She’s broken; you know it from the first minute you see her. You fear for her fragility, but it also adds to the impending danger that always seems to surround her.  In the new version, Sandrine Holt plays her with much more confidence. Perhaps that will make her eventual break more significant, but at first blush it just seems like more of the flash that occurs when a foreign show is Americanized.


The A&E cast: No parlez vous Français (Credit: A&E)

Everyone seems like fine actors on the new version (Six Feet Under and Law & Order’s Jeremy Sisto, The Killing and Battlestar Gallactica’s Michelle Forbes, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland’s Alice, Sophie Lowe), but this one’s hard to gauge because so many of the actors are dopplegangers for the originals, and a few are complete opposites. Camille (the first of the returned), played by India Ennenga (Treme), and her now four-year-older twin sister Lena are examples of good look-alike casting. So adjusting to the new looks of familiar characters is disconcerting to return viewers, but there’s a sheen on the new actors that’s wholly American, that you don’t find on the more scruffy French ones. The French characters seem more lived in.  In the new version, everyone seems more than capable of taking on these iconic (to some) roles, but there’s a depth that the originals had, an investment in the role because they were creating the characters, that is not evident in the new roles.


Cuse, perhaps gun shy from criticism that Lost was too slow-paced and left us with more questions than answers, rushes through the story, losing that slow, savorable pace of the original. In the original, each character had his or her own episode to be drawn out in, but although the new version has named its episodes similarly, the characters come crashing in one right after another. The unhurried, mournful original had us trying to catch our breath from its depth, not from trying to keep up with it.  


Cuse promises that his show’s version will be different—that it will be original and make its own path. He says that it will be like The Office, where it starts out similarly but then diverges into an original. For that promise, I will watch—but it will be very difficult to match the enigmatic haunting beauty of Les Revenants. Also the French version has its share of nudity. How will A&E handle that?


That was the simple key of Les Revenants, and the most glaring omission of the returned The Returned.


It is not fair to viewers to see the new version of The Returned until they see the original. Catch it on Netflix, get it on Sundance On Demand, but see it. You owe it to yourselves.


For fans of the original, here's a fun behind-the-scenes look at the show.


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New Series 'Sex Box' Will Leave You 50 Shades of Speechless



This is Elle and Brandon pre- and post-coitally humiliating themselves on national TV. Oh, and there's the Sex Box. (Credit: WeTV)


WeTV's new reality series Sex Box, based on the British show, Sex Box, thinks it's title, Sex Box, is so titillating that Sex Box will be on everyone's DVR and Sex Box will be on everyone's mind. Has it sunk in yet? Sex Box. Sex Box. Sex Box.

OK, with that out of the way, here's the outrageous concept: Couples in marital or relationship peril take to three "experts"--wait, we'll get to that fun part soon enough--to discuss the intimate details of their sex life, and then they enter a sound-proof, opaque box where they have sex, in front of a cheering studio audience. They are given pajamas that have the logo "Sex Box" on them, and they look so silly that nothing they talk about, no matter how deep, can be taken seriously. The guys look especially ridiculous in their blue silk pajamas, with their hangdog looks (hangdog, of course, because they were just beaten up by the experts only minutes prior; because they just had sex in a box; and becasue they are wearing stupid pajamas).

So, let's meet the experts. Dr. Fran Walfish (best name on TV) is a "relationship psychotherapist to the stars, published author and keeper of Hollywood's bedroom secrets." Dr. Chris Donaghue is a clinical psychologist, "cutting-edge sex therapist and controversial voice in the study of relationships in the 21st century." (That's almost as funny as the men's pajamas.) Well, here's the most imortant thing about him: We see him doing pull-ups, so we know he's buff, he's tattooted and he wears lavendar shoes. He's the "cool" one on the panel. Yvonne Capeheart is a "renowned pastor and spiritual advisor to couples in serious crises." She winced at least twice, admonishing two guests about their cursing. This is fucking Sex Box, Sister Yvonne. 

Oh, we are also reminded that all three are "at the top of their field," so I imagine 30 years of practice each, publication in many revered medical journals and degrees from Harvard are also in their background.

With the tease that this is "the most transformative therapy ever captured on TV," we are introduced to the first guests: a musician couple, Elle and Brandon. Brandon's kind of a hipster with an attitude. He doesn't please Elle; she doesn't orgasm, but he does. So now we know too much about them, but it's not enough for our top-of-the-field panel. They want blood. And they rip into poor Brandon who looks like a deer in the headlights. (He looks even worse after the Sex Box romp.) 

Brandon suddenly realizes that he is on television, on a sex therapy show, after he is asked to describe what their lovemaking consists of. "Really? I'm doing this?" could not have been written more clearly on his pathetic face, and he tells a panelist that their intimate question to him was an "awkward time to bring it up." Hello, that's why you're on the show, Brandon. There was no way you couldn't have sympathy for poor Brandon, even if he doesn't please his wife, because suddenly he was being bullied by the panel of experts. His highlight was calling Dr. Chris a "suspect individual" and his lowlight was entering the box and emerging 17 minutes later to discuss what just happened. Oh, and they had to rate each other's sexual performance. Another deer-in-the-headlight moment for Brandon, who was looking more and more defeated by the minute.

Sex Box is the TV equivelant of the film 50 Shades of Grey. There's no sex. Well there is sex hidden away, but this is the least sexy show on TV. Some unlikely sounding reality relationship shows like Married At First Sight are actually pretty good, as explained in this fine, afore-linked story by REVIEWniverse co-editor Kenny Herzog. But most are disasters, and Sex Box is probably the worst. 

Just to sum up the other two couples: One husband, Dyson, apparently obsessed with Sister Wives, wanted he and his gigantically fake-breasted wife, Rebecca, to turn into a thurple (he wanted to bring in another woman into their relationship) after being together 17 years. They like extremely kinky stuff, but the thurple might interfere with raising their children, Rebecca thinks. They coupling took 26 minutes and 41 seconds. Here's their exit interview:

Alexandria and Christoper, a young married couple of two years, were nervous as they walked on stage. Turns out that they used to be kinky, but after the birth of their child, they don't really have sex any more. Their idea of not having sex anymore is once a week, by the way. The problem is Alexandria feels like a mom now and doesn't want to have sex, but she got all nostalgic and informed the audience and the panel that Christopher, fortunately, "knows the slut I can be."  Her kid will be proud when he watches this, and their truncated 31 minutes and 49 seconds reigniting their pre-baby sex life.

So, you get the idea here, right? It's not as much fun as VH-1's Dating Naked, but it's more fun than the sex you're not having.

And it's certainly not worth your DVR space. You want sex, watch Banshee.


  • Looks like next week there's a lesbian couple that the preacher lady doesn't take a hankerin' to.
  • Elle: "Our sex life now goes up and down."
  • Fortunately Dr. Walfish only said, "In my Beverly Hills practice..." once.  
  • Elle's Sex Box request: "I want to be on top."
  • Bully Dr. Chris to Bashful Brandon: "You weren't that likable [at first]." 
  • Preacher Capeheart: To Brandon and Elle after their 20-minute segment..."I've never seen emotional growth that fast."
  • What do they really do in that room? Make fun of the judges? Watch The Voice? Play "Crimes Against Humanity"?
  • Rebecca: "We've had a threesome, foursome and more-some."
  • Is the interior of the sex box Jim's Storage Facility or Christian Grey's Red Room of Pain?
  • Dyson quoted an X-rated Chris Rock routine that made the preacher blush...and then admonish him. Noone wants a schoolmarm on a sex therapy show.
  • Rebecca did not lose her foot-long fake eyelashes after almost 27 minutes of sex.
  • Post-coital Dyson: "I'm ready for a nap." The panel: "You can't handle one why do you want two?"
  • Do they sanitze the sex room between guests???
  • Walfish!!


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Rick Grimes And This Century's Five Best Pop-Culture Beards



BY MIKE VIGLIETTA (REVIEWniverse Guest Contributor)

Inspired by Andrew Lincoln's (aka Rick Grimes') grizzly growth this season on The Walking Dead (AMC, Sundays, 10 p.m.), it got us thinking: Who else's facial coverage can man-up to everyone's favorite zombie-killer? Starting with Grimes himself, here's a handful of our favorite 21st century pop-culture beards. 



Who's gonna mess with this Grime-y beard? (Credit: AMC)

Rick’s bushy, crazy-man beard is filled with blood, sweat and tears. A lot more emphasis on the blood than anything else. A LOT MORE. Who knows what Rick’s confirmed kill count is tallied at, but it’s definitely way more than any other character in the show. Not only is Rick’s beard dirty, but it serves as an intimidation factor. Anytime the group is confronted by an outsider, we are introduced to someone who is clean-shaven and appears to have access to running water and electricity. It gives the impression that they’ve had an easy go at it compared to Rick and his comrades. When these outsiders are introduced to Rick, they see a man who has been through some heavy stuff and will stop at nothing to keep his group safe. Yep, the beard tells them all that.



From mild-mannered chem teacher to Heisenberg, all it took was a beard. And meth. (Credit: AMC)

The only argument for Heisenberg’s (Bryan Cranston) exclusion from this list is that a goatee isn't really a beard. But according to the Internet, it is. It’s no secret that Mr. White was an intimidating force and eventual infamous drug kingpin. But that was only after this wimpy, mustachioed science teacher who would surrender his lunch to a fifth grader shaved his head and grew out that goatee. Those are just the facts, Jack.



Cool beard, and bad-ass coiff. (Credit: 20th Century Fox) 

More recognizable than Heisenberg’s beard. Wolverine’s enemies see those chops and they curl up in the fetal position almost immediately. This may not be a real-life stat, but it’s pretty safe to say that at least 53.4% of men who grow a decent amount of facial hair have tried out the wolverine beard once or twice in their life… including me.



How many awesome elfs did it take to groom St. Nick?

How could St. Nick not be on this list? The man is still alive and well, and the sleigh-puller's beard has reigned in the top five for pretty much every century. He’s on the all-time squad. Seeing that big white puff of facial hair means presents and joy are not far behind. He loses points for watching us sleep, though. That’s just weird.



'Nuff said. (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

I’m talking about the original Dumbledore. Not the one that replaced the original Dumbledore (much as we love Michael Gambon in our favorite new show, Fortitude). Only the late Richard Harris' Dumbledore from the first two movies of the series. Dumbledore’s beard may be the most powerful entity ever, period. If he was clean-shaven or even if the beard just wasn’t as long, he would be a muggle just like the rest of us. End of story.

Who do you think should be on this list? Kathy Bates in American Horror Show: Freak Show? Jack Sparrow? ZZ Top? Anyone who plays Moses? Hagrid? Gandalf? Fu Manchu? Tom Hanks in Castaway? Everyone on Whisker Wars? And, of course, Incredibeard!! You tell us. Let us know which are your favorite beards.

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