Classic character personality clash
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2013 23:09
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a new FOX sitcom that attempts create a goofy workplace sitcom out of one of the most unlikely occupations, detectives. It looks to be attempting to emulate the success of shows like “Scrubs” and “The Office.” While it features some solid humor, the cast doesn’t appear to have the collective strength to stand up against previous hits.
“Saturday Night Live” alum Andy Samberg stars as Det. Jake Peralta, a talented and dedicated crime solver with the mannerisms and maturity of a ten year old; like Sherlock Holmes on a sugar rush. It’s the perfect role for Samberg, who specializes in over the top, carefree humor. He does a good job of making his character amusing without becoming annoying, most of the time.
The remainder of the cast, however, is not nearly as strong. Peralta’s uptight partner Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) works only as a comedic foil when Samberg delivers the joke. Det. Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) is the archetypal neurotic loser character, who Truglio slightly overplays. His partner Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) is tough as nails, and nothing else. Only their commanding officers Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) and Ray Holt (Andrew Braugher) seem to be built around more than one tired characteristic.
The plot of the show’s pilot has the strict and demanding Holt taking over the 99th precinct and clashing with Peralta laid back manner. It’s an age old dynamic that the show didn’t seem to be doing anything new or interesting with. The arc revolved solely around Holt’s wish that his officers wear ties, and Peralta’s obvious refusal. It’s simple and I’ve seen it before. However, a small twist third act may indicate the writers do have some fresh ideas. Even so, the comparison may be obvious, but the show has the feel of a glorified SNL sketch.
Perhaps the funniest aspect of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is the nonchalant way it deals with its subject matter in line with Samberg’s constantly upbeat tone. “Good news for all you murder fans,” is how he chooses to introduce us to the plot. It adds a nice layer of dark comedy, and with enough of the direction playing it straight, the style is distinct from other police comedies such as “Reno 911” and “NTSF:SD:SUV.” But the jokes themselves are hit and miss. They are enjoyably over-the-top slapstick, but often too easy with predictable punch lines.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” right now appears to be a one man show. And while Samberg’s energy may keep his character fresh for multiple seasons, I can’t say the same for anyone else. There is a good show somewhere in here, but unless the writing is stepped up and more chemistry can be found between characters, I can’t see “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” holding anyone’s interest for very long.