Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 2 Premiere Review
Boy am I glad this is back. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a show that I initially repelled because I thought the commercials looked awful. However, Kora talked me into watching a few episodes, and I was hooked. It is just that funny. It’s well written, well acted, and riotously funny. If this season opener is any indication, I’m in for another season of hilarious cop procedural shenanigans.
Quick sum up of the premise: Detective Jake Peraulta (Adam Samberg) is a competent, hotshot detective in New York’s 99th precinct. But he’s also a bit of an arrogant jackass who hogs the spotlight, pokes fun at his coworkers, and generally behaves with the same level of professionalism as a frat boy. Luckily, his superior, the taciturn Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) is there to keep him in line and focus his considerable cop skills to good use. The team is rounded out by a cast of equally hilarious characters; Terry Crews as the angry but sensitive Sgt. Terry Jeffords (ha), Joe Lo Truglio as the weird fan boy partner to Jake Detective Charles Boyle, Melissa Fumero as the neurotic, spineless, ass-kissing Detective Amy Santiago, Stephanie Beatriz as the violent yet stoic Detective Rosa Diaz, and Chelsea Paretti as Gina Linetti, the self-absorbed and yet batcrap insane secretary for the department. With all of these crazy characters and a host of funny, ridiculous cop capers awaiting them, only hilarity can ensue.
So, inevitably the first question you ask when reviewing comedy is, “Is it funny?” to which my answer is, absolutely. Format wise, the individual episodes are structured like most sitcoms, with a problem or case of the week that the characters struggle with and overcome by the end of the episode or improve as people because of them. Luckily what elevates this series above crap like Family Guy is two things. One, there are ongoing plot threads that run throughout the season and effect future episodes, and two, all the gags are way more consistently funny.
Now inevitably, not all the jokes will hit. Even some of my favorite comedies have jokes that fall flat, but that’s the nature of comedy. However, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a much better hit ratio for humor than a lot of other recent comedies, and part of that is due to characterization. Peraulta’s goofball behavior is balanced by the respect he has for his other officers, and the friendship he has with Detective Boyle, as weird as he is. Plus, Peraulta’s chaos is often kept in check or crushed by the humorless Capt. Holt, who by the end of the first season everyone has made jokes about how he never jokes or smiles. (“How often did you smile before sir?” “All the time.”) Detective Santiago’s spineless ass kissing is made fun of by Detective Diaz, who Sgt. Jeffords constantly pokes fun at for her soft cuddly traits despite her outwardly mean exterior. As for Gina, she seems to live in her own growing universe and whenever she interacts with our normal world, the rest of the characters are left scratching their heads in confusion. These strong characterizations make for plenty of great sight gags or running character themes. For example, at the beginning of the episode, Diaz is telling Peraulta what he missed while undercover in the mob (see season 1), and it includes quick gags like Santiago crying because her outfit looks better on Boyle than her, or Jeffords trying to be intimidating despite a chipped tooth giving him a lisp, or Gina ignoring the violent suspect fighting the cops in the station because she’s dancing to a song playing in her headphones. All of these gags are hilarious, even on repeat viewings, and that’s just the beginning of the episode.
The only minor complaint I have with this series is something that I don’t really know how to correct. It seems to favor the pacing and plot thread format of most season length TV shows, which often slow things down and drag them out. On the one hand, this is annoying, but it is a season length TV show and it is really funny. In another extra in this show’s favor, the opening is a quick, hilarious lampooning of 70’s cop shows, and I still love it 23 episodes later. What few flaws I can mention about this season premier are easily overlooked in face of how funny the show and its characters are. I just hope a lot of the funny recurring side characters from season 1, like the Vulture (see season 1), return to up the laughs. Other than that, watch this. It will make you laugh.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a gem in the largely dull fields of regular TV sitcoms. It has great characterization, writing, and gags. It's somewhat held back by typical season length TV plotting and some of the gags fall flat, but these are minor gropes in a really funny comedy show.