Given the current state of Hollywood in the midst of the #MeToo era, it’s shocking to see one of TV’s most touted feminist shows air an episode that seemed to glorify the sexualization of children.
In last night’s episode of Broad City, “House-Sitting,” Abbi matches with a former teacher on a dating app. In theory this would be fine, but his near immediate confession that he thought of her in a sexual manner when she was a student caused things to take a more perverse turn. Abbi, being justifiably creeped out, ran to Ilana who told her that all teachers jerk off to their students and should be respected for not making a move and assured her it’s fine; using Abbi’s own sexual fantasies of a young Jonathan Taylor Thomas as an example that "everyone masturbates to teenagers." Ilana also goes on to say that she hopes her future children's teachers jerk off to them if it keeps their hands off of them.
When Abbi later decides to sleep with the former teacher, it devolves into an uncomfortable sexual fantasy where he pretends she’s still his student looking for extra credit. Once she realizes that he truly wishes she was still underage she promptly freaks out but it's her friend Jaime who truly puts an end to things -- as he had been trapped in the room watching this all go down. Before making him leave, Abbi asks him if he jerks off to his students and he replies ALL teachers masturbate to their students, “they kind of have to.” As he walks away Ilana calls him a righteous dude while giving him an idolizing gaze.
Over the past few weeks we’ve seen countless articles and think pieces denouncing the sexualization of child actors (and yes, teen actors are child actors), due in large part to the obsessive (and creepy) Stranger Things fandom. Former child actors like Mara Wilson have even chimed in, writing: “What’s really at play here the creepy, inappropriate public inclination to sexualize young girls in the media. We do not need to perpetuate the culture of dehumanization Hollywood has enabled. “ So why has the pedophilic nature of this episode of Broad City been so grossly ignored by the media and fans alike?