I have to admit upfront, I was pretty skeptical about Brooklyn Nine-Nine when it first aired in 2013, mostly because I wasn’t a huge fan of Andy Samberg. I can’t exactly put a finger on why I found him so irritating; he just had a face that I found smug and punch-able. The way Brooklyn Nine-Nine was advertised made it seem like The Andy Samberg and Friends Cop Show, which was not a great selling point for me.
Here’s where I admit that I was completely wrong. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is now the only sitcom I tune into every week instead of waiting for a few episodes to pile up in my Hulu queue. I’m waiting on tenterhooks for it to return on September 27. Its appeal lies in the fact that it’s not The Andy Samberg and Friends Cop Show. Samberg’s Detective Jake Peraulta is certainly the main character, but in the same way that Poehler’s Leslie Knope was the main character of Parks and Rec: both shows thrive in the ensemble. They could take Samberg out of the show and it would still succeed with the rest of the 99th precinct. The cast includes the stand-up comic Chelsea Peretti, Reno 911!’s Joe Lo Truglio, the surprisingly feminist Terry Crews, and the surprisingly hilarious Andre Braugher, who has been nominated for the Best Supporting Actor in Comedy Emmy twice for his performance as Captain Ray Holt.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine contains all of the things I look for in a comedy: a high verbal joke density and near constant sight gags. I judge a show’s funniness by the extremely scientific measure of snort-laughs, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine makes me snort-laugh at a nearly unprecedented rate of at least once per episode. (The only other shows to achieve this snort-laugh rate for me are 30 Rock and the cancelled-too-soon Happy Endings.) It’s a cop show on the outside, but it feels more like a workplace comedy. It dedicates a lot of time navigating the internal politics of the precinct, and all of the crimes they do investigate are exaggerated to extreme proportions. They spend Season 2 trying to get a vaguely defined drug called “Giggle Pig” off the streets.
Diversity is also integral to the show. That shouldn’t feel like a bonus, but it’s so rare to see women and minorities represented so effortlessly. Stephanie Beatriz, who stars in the show as Detective Rosa Diaz, told Paste Magazine that when she saw Melissa Fumero was cast as Amy, the show’s female lead, she thought, “There’s no way in hell a major network is gonna cast two Latina actresses in such a tight ensemble show I AM SCREWED.” And it’s nice to see a comedy (especially with such a traditionally male setting as a police precinct), where there are multiple female characters that get to be more than sexy lamps. The women in the show are weird and complex and get to be funny independently of men.
I urge everyone to catch up on the first two seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Even if you think Andy Samberg has a punchable-looking face.
Featured image via Google Play.