Written by Bill Bodkin and Luke Kalamar
Brooklyn Nine-Nine concluded its first season on Tuesday night. It was a rookie show that we felt actually delivered on its promise of big laughs and it proved, that at least for one season, Andy Samberg is a viable television star outside of SNL.
Pop-Break’s resident B99 fans Luke Kalamar and Bill Bodkin decided to do their best Peralta and Boyle impersonations and partner up to talk about the good, the bad and the hilarious that was Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Also, look for the launch of their Brooklyn-based pizza blog soon.
Luke: My favorite character is easily Detective Sergeant Terry Jeffords, played by Terry Crews. Crews has always been a good source of laughter for me, his role in Idiocracy especially stands out, but this is easily his best performance to date. He has always been known as that super jacked guy who looks really imposing compared to everyone else. This is twisted up in Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Crews playing a doting father who is incredibly sensitive and only wants to make his daughters happy. Don’t worry, the imposing elements are still there, specifically in the amazing episode “The Ebony Falcon,” but I will never forget Jeffords getting emotionally beaten by the directions to build a plastic pink castle. “Why does a castle have wheels?!” indeed.
Bill: It’s so hard to pick just one, it honestly is. This cast proved to be one of the funniest ensembles assembled since maybe 30 Rock’s first season and I’d go as far to say B99’s cast is better. So, with that being said, I’m going to make my choice — and that is Andre Braugher’s Captain Holt. Braugher has always been a fine dramatic actor, but here’s just absolutely brilliant as the stoic and stone-faced leader of the squad. He has so many amazing moments in the series, but in tonight’s finale when he puts the moves on the female judge by sauntering up to the desk and seductively saying, ‘Sup” was absolutely brilliant and legitimately made me fall out of my chair. While, he’s best at delivering stone-faced retorts to Peralta’s buffoonery, it’s when he goes along with Peralta’s ridiculousness that makes the Holt character that much more whole as a character. The best example of this was during the show’s “Thanksgiving” episode when Peralta, as only Peralta can do, invents a fake back story for the Captain in order to convince a suspect to sign a document of some sort (those details aren’t important). Of course Holy refuses but when he’s confronted with a room full of people who are just being belligerent blurts out, “My wife was killed by a man in a yellow sweater!…Sign this?” It’s such a hilarious moment. Oh and how can we forget about his obsession with Kwazy Kupcakes?
Luke: I have a whole list of moments from B99 that made me buckle over in laughter. The one that still stands out in my memory though has to be in “The Party.” While all of our characters are at the titular party, Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) occupies Gina by having her talk to a bunch of abnormal psychologists. What followed was Gina conversing with an ever growing number of professionals who are just fascinated with her unbelievable levels of narcissism. I was dying.
Bill: Any time Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) get together, it’s comic gold. I am legit pain during the majority of their scenes together as they’re both so absurdly inept and say do some of the most outlandish things on the show. However, the scene where they flash back to the 80s and they’re both doing cocaine and talking about going on vacation together to Japan for some reason I could not hold it together. I was rendered near psychosis with laughter.
Winning the Golden Globe for Best Television Series:
Bill: Luke’s going to handle this one because I’m going playing some Kwazy Cupcakes.
Luke: This is something people have been discussing for a while. Was this first season really so good it was better than The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Girls, and Parks and Recreation? While I’m not prepared to give an overwhelming “YES!”, I can see why B99 was chosen to take home this top prize. A lot of aspects about this show flow like a well oiled machine. Every character fits into a very necessary role, including the verbal punching bags of Michael Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Norm Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller), and the guest characters are all amazing. The writing is also surprisingly top notch.
Not only that, the show doesn’t fall back into consistently reused television stereotypes. The two heads of the 99th precinct are black males. Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) is a gay man in a committed and loving relationship. Neither of these qualities define the characters they’re a part of. Holt’s homosexuality becomes a focus when the story calls for it, but it’s never in the spotlight unnecessarily. It’s treated like every other relationship and couple on the show. As for race, race should never be a determining factor in occupational status and yet so many programs relegate non-caucasian races to lesser roles. Sometimes they’re more criminals than not or have seedy connections. Holt and Jeffords have none of this. They’re just two professionals who are good at what they do. No strings attached.
So is it better than the four shows I mentioned before? The jury is still out. But did it deserve the award? Absolutely.
What We Didn’t Like:
Luke: As much as I loved the characters, the show moved through their development at a shockingly fast pace. Peralta is openly pursuing a relationship with Santiago all of a sudden, Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) went from madly in love with Diaz to engaged to Vivian Ludley (Marilu Henner) to ending that engagement, Jeffords overcame his serious psychological issues in the course of one episode, etc. Boyle’s engagement to Vivian especially was when I thought, “Wow this show really is moving like an unstoppable boulder.” It’s almost as if the writers weren’t convinced they would get more than one season from the very start. Clearly that’s not going to be the case now. I hope they give the show a chance to take a breather from time to time.
Bill: Things start going a bit awry for me when Brooklyn Nine-Nine aired their Thanksgiving episode and then quickly aired their Christmas episode and then took off till February. For some reason it felt very jarring and I’m at a loss to remember what they aired in the show’s place till it returned. Was it just reruns? Seemed pretty silly. When the series returned right after the Super Bowl, it seemed to be missing a lot of the magic it had in its first few months. As Luke mentioned everything seemed very rushed, the writers pushed fast forward on way too many important story lines. Yes, there were some quality episodes in the second half, but overall, it lacked the comedic killer instinct. The season finale was probably the closest to the show’s first half run in terms of quality, so the show definitely ended on a high note.
Luke: I have long since become desensitized to new sitcoms on TV. So many get green lit during the pilot season and an absurd amount get cancelled really soon. Granted this has caused me to miss hopping onto absolutely hilarious shows like How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory when they first started, but I’d say missing the rest of the garbage justified the means. B99 hooked me from the very beginning though. I love Samberg on The Lonely Island and thought he was one of the breakout stars of Saturday Night Live. He alone made this a worthy show to check out. Yet it was the entire cast as a whole that kept me hooked and I’m really glad that I jumped on board as early as I did. B99 is probably one of the best new comedies released on network TV in quite a long time. Whiplash inducing pace aside, I love this show and I absolutely cannot wait to follow it for years to come.
Bill: My complaints aside, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was absolutely my favorite sitcom this season, period. I have not laughed this hard and this often at a show in quite some time and for a network sitcom this is a smart, fresh that never relied on raunchy, offensive and dim-witted humor to induce a chuckle. Andy Samberg was brilliant and proved he could carry a show, he also was smartly written for and directed. The role of the hot shot could easily have been overacted and become extremely one-dimensional fast…you know kinda like any role Charlie Sheen has. Samberg’s character was the clown prince, but he was also the butt of a lot of jokes, which not only makes him a funny character but a human one too. The ensemble cast was perfect — it allowed two longtime characters actors, Joe LoTruglio and Terry Crews to have substantial featured roles while longtime cult comedy figure Chelsea Peretti finally got the mainstream attention she deserves. Much like Luke I love this show something fierce, so I’m bummed that the show has come to an early end, but I’m pretty excited to see what Season 2 has in store.