It’s evening round-up time, with quick reviews of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “New Girl” and “The Mindy Project” coming up just as soon as I pump my fists too hard at a Weird Al concert…
Episode 3 of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” illustrated a potential structural problem for so far: the show is built around the tension between Jake and Captain Holt, and in virtually every argument, Holt is right and Jake is wrong. And that’s a problem, because as much as I enjoy watching Andre Braugher get to be smug and correct, it makes Jake into a juvenile, narcissistic clown, when he’s supposed to be immature but ultimately smart and likable. On “Parks and Rec,” Schur, Goor and company figured out pretty early how to put Leslie into conflict with other characters (and Ron in particular) in ways where either they both had a point, or where the dynamic see-sawed back and forth from episode to episode, and we need to get that kind of balance here, ASAP. Most of the comic highlights from “The Slump” came courtesy of either Terry (whether bragging about his love of “Scary Terry” or being emotionally defeated by the castle) or Gina (particular Chelsea Peretti’s interpretive dance to “Beautiful”), rather than from the main story.
“New Girl,” meanwhile, finally backs out of the dumb Schmidt/Elizabeth/Cece triangle it never should have stumbled into in the first place, but in a way that predictably ends Schmidt’s relationships with both women. I can appreciate the writers being wary of having four-fifths of the ensemble happily dating at the same time, making Crazy Winston seem even stranger and more pathetic, but this whole thing felt mechanical and made me strongly dislike Schmidt . And the idea that he’s now going to try to split up Nick and Jess? Ugh. If they don’t work out, they don’t work out, but this is dumb. All the laughs here came from small character details (Nick still using the 10,000 cell phone minutes he bought back in 1999, or his horrified reaction to Schmidt dating both women) than from the plots.
I haven’t written about “The Mindy Project” yet this season because I keep waiting for the show to settle down with its cast and tone, but it seems it’s destined to remain in flux, with the addition here of Adam Pally as the douchey new member of the practice (which had no use for a fourth partner until this week) and the jarring exit of Anders Holm as Casey. I never expected Mindy and Casey to stay together, both because Holm has a day job on “Workaholics,” because it’s much too early in the series for the writers to want Mindy to settle down, and because for whatever reason they’re convinced that her One True Pairing is Danny Castellano. But even considering that, this was Casey doing a complete 180 character-wise so the writers could shuffle him quickly off-stage without making Mindy look bad for blowing it with the handsome perfect clergymen. Didn’t work at all, and while Pally has a lot of residual goodwill from “Happy Endings,” the character as introduced here is not someone I particularly want to be spending time with. Hopefully he evolves, and quickly; as demonstrated in this very episode, “The Mindy Project” isn’t afraid to throw out pre-existing character traits if necessary.
What did everybody else think?