It all started with rumors that Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer were going to head to Israel with a Comedy Central crew in order to mine the comedy potential of a Birthright Israel trip. That idea was scrapped as a result of stupid fears engendered by the Stupidfada back in October. Instead the last two episodes of Season 3 deal with, among other things, getting to the airport and flying to Israel for their free “Birthmarc” Israel trip. Is Birthmarc an homage to head of Birthright Israel Gidi Mark? Perhaps, but I digress.
Abbi and Ilana hope to sit together on the flight but they are informed by their bearded, ponytailed and kippah wearing counselor, played by Seth Green, that they are being seated according to their “match potential.” As the El Ol flight takes off, the Birthmarc kids cheer “Jews! Jews! Jews!” Much happens on the flight – for instance we learn that whenever a plane hits a rough patch it just means that the pilots are blowing each other. Speaking of which, Ilana introduced herself to the group by stating that her goal on the trip was to join the Mohel Chai club. Which is yet another blowjob reference. Sigh. Jared the counselor confides in Ilana and lets her know that he gets a commission for every match made on the trip, double if it happens before the plane touches down. He warns Ilana against getting between him and his money and for some reason this turns her on. They go to the bathroom and Jared helps her finally join the Mohel Chai club.
So in the middle of all this, Abbi gets her period but doesn’t have a tampon. Ilana then fashions one out of a kippah, a pita and hair. Somehow this morphs into an incident whereby the flight attendants subdue the girls, suspecting them of plotting to blow up the plane. They are then interrogated by the Israeli police and sent back home, in plastic handcuffs, accompanied by an air marshal.
There is so much that is wrong with this episode that we had to create a listicle of everything Broad City got wrong about Birthright, and everything else. So here goes:
1. Nobody chants “Jews! Jews! Jews!” on Bithright. Most Birthright Israel trip participants are as ambivalent about their Judaism as you are, and are about as likely to yell “Jews! Jews! Jews!” as they are to be caught shopping at T.J. Maxx.
2. Ilana’s match on the trip is an accountant who writes short stories in his spare time. There is no such thing as an accountant who writes short stories in his spare time.
3. Birthright Israel does not seat you on the plane based on your match potential. The airline and travel agent seat you, and while they try to honor requests for aisle or window, none of that is guaranteed. Birthright Israel does not actively try to get you laid on the trip.
3. Cornell as an Ivy: Jared the counselor tries to set up Rachel H2 with David3 because Rachel went to Dartmouth and David went to Cornell. Rachel responded to this suggestion with disgust, stating “Ew. Cornell?” to which David responded “Hey, it’s still an Ivy.” The implication is that Cornell is not in fact an elite university. Oh. I guess they got that part right. Or maybe not? Cornell often ranks higher than Dartmouth in Ivy League rankings.
4. Sex on Birthright: Jared allows Ilana to blow him in the bathroom of the plane so that she can join the Mohel Chai club. Jared is a counselor and would immediately be fired if caught engaging in sexual activity with a trip participant.
5. Jared the counselor wears a kippah. Only about .5% of Birthright Israel counselors leading a trip not run by Chabad wear kippahs on a regular basis. And that pony tail? Ugh. Is that a goofy Jewish camp counselor reference? Most Birthright Israel trip counselors are almost indistinguishable from their charges.
6. Birthright Israel does not actually give their trip counselors a commission for every engagement that takes place on the trip. They certainly don’t double the commission if the engagement takes place before the plane lands.
7. You cannot make a tampon out of a kippah and a pita.
8. Wardrobe Malfunction: The patches on the uniforms worn by the police interrogating Abbi and Ilana are backwards. It’s not even a mirror image. It’s backwards! As if I spelled Israel “learsI.” WTF??
But it’s ok. I get it. Unaffiliated American Jews often have a very inaccurate perception of what Birthright is. Lena Dunham, the star and creator of Girls, ranked #2 in the laughable “Guest Stars” JTA list of most influential Jews on twitter said about Birthright: “Israel was a place I didn’t even want to go in the first place. All my associations were with birthright trips and bad sweatpants and teens carrying their own pillows on the plane.” So of course Broad City was going to fuck up that part of the show. Especially since they never actually made it to Israel at all. Hopefully they’ll make it to Israel some day! Or at least get some respect from the JTA twitter list mavens…
Extended footage from the police interogation that didn’t make it into the episode but is still SO worth watching!