Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: What a riot

Growing up is hard to do: Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg, left, with Joe Lo Truglio and Stephanie Beatriz) is one of the precinct’s finest but the 33-year-old is finding it hard to put away his childish ways in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Growing up is hard to do: Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg, left, with Joe Lo Truglio and Stephanie Beatriz) is one of the precinct’s finest but the 33-year-old is finding it hard to put away his childish ways in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine raised eyebrows when it won two Golden Globes, but the cop comedy flick deserves the awards.

LIKE many viewers, I only took notice of Brooklyn Nine-Nine after it picked up two Golden Globes earlier this year, despite being only in its first season.

Nine-Nine beat out heavyweights The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Parks And Recreation and last year’s winner, Girls, to clinch the Best Television Series (Musical or Comedy) award.

Even more surprising, first-time nominee Andy Samberg who plays the show’s protagonist Detective Jake Peralta took home a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV series (Musical or Comedy), surpassing veteran comedian (and four-time Golden Globe winner) Michael J. Fox and Jim Parsons, Jason Bateman, Don Cheadle who have all won in the category at least once.

Nine-Nine, created by Michael Schur and Daniel J. Goor, is a workplace comedy set in the fictional precinct, Brooklyn’s 99th of the New York City Police Department.

The show begins with the introduction of Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) to the precinct as its new Commanding Officer.

The no-nonsense, by-the-book captain implements new rules and practices, rocking the boat a little in the hopes of steering it to the right direction.

But of course there are those who prefer to catch their own waves. Jake is one of the team’s finest cops who thrives on following his gut and ignoring orders. Unfortunately, he acts like a kid stuck inside the body of a 33-year-old.

He eats cereal with orange soda, comes up with intricate fictional storylines to go with his real-life crime-solving endeavours and has rented Olympus Has Fallen 12 times - basically the maturity of a caterpillar. OK, that was a little mean.

But a workplace comedy is as good as its characters are. And Jake’s transitioning to his adult life conjures some hilarious situations and one-liners (“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing, I saw the first 15 minutes of The Hurt Locker,” he says after being assigned a task). At its core, he speaks to the part of all of us that don’t want to grow up no matter how old we get.

Other quirky, endearing characters include his trusty sidekick Detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) whose adoration for Jake is adorable to watch; driven, ambitious Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) who would lick dirt off her captain’s shoe to impress him (wait, I’m not sure if that was a figure of speech or it actually happened) and my favourite character, office administrator Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) who doesn’t do much around the office (if at all) except spew out awesome lines like, “I was born for politics. I have great hair and I love lying.”

The script is incredibly witty, to say the least, but what’s a cop comedy show without some slapstick? That’s where Sergeant Terry Jeffords played by physical comedy veteran Terry Crews steps in.

He leaves audiences in stitches (besides pulling those signature silly faces) because of the juxtaposition between his tough guy, muscle man image and his timid personality (he fears that being on the field could lead to his children being fatherless one day).

All this talk about the comedy aspect of the show might have you thinking if this is even a cop show anymore. A majority of its episodes do feature a different investigative case each but it must be said that Nine-Nine is decidedly character-driven and by extension, comedy-driven.

These cases are used to flesh out the characters’ idiosyncrasies, and in doing so, lap up plenty of laughs. Some episodes don’t even revolve around a case at all (my favourite one is when the team attends the fearsome Captain’s birthday party). So if you’re hoping to catch some crime-busting action, well, watch Law & Order.

I also love the fact that the scriptwriters make it a point to put their characters in situations outside their comfort zones – the serious Captain getting hooked on a game on his phone; the free-spirited Jake learning to put on a tie; and the precinct’s scariest cop Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) cracking a smile.

My only criticism is the show’s characters remind me too much of Parks And Recreation.

Schur, who also co-created Parks, probably couldn’t help but bring Ron Swanson to his new show in the form of the precinct’s captain.

Both come off as cold and uncaring and speak in this low, monotonous drone. Rosa is obsessed with violence and is expressionless most of the time like April Ludgate of Parks and Nine-Nine’s resident clumsy duo Michael Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Norm Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) is basically a carbon copy Jerry Gergich. These characters are no less funny but it doesn’t hurt to see something new and fresh.

There’s plenty of talk suggesting Nine-Nine shouldn’t have won the Golden Globes purely because it is only in its first season.

But, that would be like a school teacher downgrading an A test score to a B+ so the poor student wouldn’t be “overconfident” and would “try harder” next time.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is what it is and it is good.

Do you like or loathe Brooklyn Nine-Nine? E-mail your comments to

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment , Showbiz


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