To me, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of the smartest ideas to have come across the TV sitcom landscape in a while. It takes your quintessential cop show, but puts a very Archer-esque spin on it (Fair warning: if you are going to continue to roll with me on the B99 train, then you are going to hear plenty of Archer comparisons). Talented but silly detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and the rest of the 99th precinct work together to solve crimes, while generally causing all sorts of mischief, much to the chagrin of the new captain, Captain Holt (Andre Braugher).
Last night’s episode was no exception to the formula. There will be spoilers ahead, but if you are reading this BEFORE you watched the episode, well then you don’t make the best choices anyways, now do you? Peralta makes a bet with Holt to see if he can steal Holt’s Medal of Valor. After a series of misguided attempts that involve Peralta falling through the ceiling, dressing up as a janitor, starting a garbage fire, jamming pigeons into a vent, creating an interpretive dance group with clowns and ultimately getting arrested, it is revealed that Peralta was acting as a distraction all along while the other detectives did the actual stealing. I laughed several times during the episode, yet at the end I felt as if something was missing and that there was something wrong overall.
It was while thinking about this during lunch today (this is what lunches are like at the Department of Social Services) that I realized the problem. Where Archer is great because each character has their own unique charms and funny quirks, that allow for any combination of characters to be hilarious, B99 lacks that. Outside of Samberg’s Peralta character, the only character that is consistently entertaining is Gina (Chelsea Peretti). Last night’s episode showed that in spades. While Samberg and Gina’s character’s interacted in attempting to get Captain Holt’s medal, the rest of the cast was involved in extraordinarily dull storylines. Sergeant Jeffords attempted to look into Diaz’s past, while Santiago was a killjoy when partnered with Boyle to costume up in an attempt to spot crime on Halloween. These two sideplots generated exactly zero laughs for me, and my blog partner Brian can attest to the fact that I was more entertained by a Revlon commercial than I was by either one of those scenarios. The show consistently runs into this problem, while storylines involving Peralta and Gina soar, the rest of the cast isn’t given enough personality to be entertaining.
Last night’s episode was a bit duller than usual, largely because of this problem. Samberg and Peretti nailed another episode, but the rest of the cast felt like such an afterthought that the episode was filled with several holes that probably could have been filled better by having Gina do another interpretive dance in front of a group of at-risk teens. The rest of the cast has shown promise, but the writers need to do a better job of finding ways to either get them involved with the more charming characters, or work to dig into the other characters a bit more.
As a side note to randomly throw in here, I approached Chris Swietlik, the mastermind of 2nd Floor Commons and told him I wanted to write a spin-off show where Chelsea Peretti’s Gina character and I owned an operated a deli. He did not seem to go for the idea.
- “Who wants to have sex with a slutty tree?” – Santiago. As far as opening lines go, this is pretty solid. Obviously, the answer is everyone.
- ‘Stume probably should catch on.
- The Hillary Clinton and Kim Jong Un joke had me almost in tears. It’s a shame that the episode started out so strong and then fell apart.
- Santiago sex tape names given during the episode: “Kind, Sober and Fully Dressed”, “I’m Sorry About Tonight”, “It’s Not Your Fault, I Was Terrible” & “It Was Slightly Less Unbearable With You”.
- The Diaz as a catholic school girl storyline would be the worst so far of the season if it wasn’t paired with the Santiago hating Halloween storyline. I bitched about this at the top. I probably will again towards the bottom.
- “What does your face taste like” is something that I hope to one day say to Chelsea Peretti, as well. IT WILL HAPPEN, DON’T DOUBT ME I FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER, NO YOU STOP YELLING!
- I usually dislike physical humor, but Peralta falling through the ceiling gave me a good chuckle. It was also at this point in the episode that I figured out that Peralta would fake incompetence to get the medal. Not exactly the most surprising outcome.
- Boobs go in a bra is a life lesson given during this episode. Also, $50 can buy you two suits.
- “The advice was dance, DANCE…. daaance…” “Her dog has lupus…” – My favorite Gina lines of the night. DID I MENTION MY IDEA FOR A SPIN-OFF!?
- I’m fairly certain that the sexy robot girl was Kelly Rowland. UPDATE: I was wrong. That might mean I’m racist.
Not enough Gina and some boring sideplots make this one of the weakest episodes of B99 to date, but I was still pretty entertained. This bodes well for the show going forward. Until next week, when the Peralta/Archer and Santiago/Lana bet is maybe mentioned with more than just a look at the scoreboard and we once again see sweet, sweet Gina!