“Look what I brought you — fresh, virgin, breast meat!”
It is a right of passage in a young Jewish woman’s life to be dragged by her mother or other female authority to a dingy room, to be measured by a woman who grew up in a time with different standards for personal boundaries for a ludicrously expensive, sturdy beige bra.
“Girls, a bra that fits is the single greatest gift that one woman can give another,” Ilana Wexler’s mother tells her daughter and her best friend in the most recent episode of the fifth and final season of “Broad City.” “And if I see either of you two girls wearing one of those napkins from Victorias Secrets, I will personally come and murder you.” Underscored on the show by eerie music and shadowy lighting, it’s a scene middle-class American Jewish women will instantly recognize — the horror show of shopping with your mother for a bra that fits.
As it has done so many times in the past, “Broad City” perfectly captures and lovingly sends up a quintessential American Jewish experience.
Surrounded on all four sides by hundreds of brassieres the size of infant scalps, Abbi and Ilana stand before a vicious tribunal — Ilana’s mother and two stout, Eastern European women with powdered faces and (from personal experience) ice-cold fingers. “Bring out the measuring rod!” Ilana’s mom shouts, overjoyed.
“You have a lump,” one of the women tells Abbi, nonchalantly, squeezing her breast. She cocks her head. “It is benign.”
Together, the two bras cost $533.
For bras that fit? A steal.
The intimate and intricate experience of bra shopping with a particularly supportive kind of mother is memorialized on screen forever. How do you like them apples?
Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny