A review of tonight’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine coming up just as soon as the stain on my pants looks exactly like Bryan Cranston…
Brooklyn has more celebrated traditions like the annual Halloween caper and the periodic return of the Pontiac Bandit, but the idea of ending each calendar year with a Peralta/Boyle team-up (which began with season 2’s “Stakeout,” and continued last year with their Die Hard adventure) has turned out to be comically fruitful in its own right. Of course, the show does plenty of other Jake/Charles stories throughout the season, but it feels appropriate that the show’s closest relationship(*) is the focus as we head into the holidays each year.
(*) Just as Ben Wyatt understood that he would always come in second to Beautiful Ann in Leslie’s heart, it seems Amy has made peace with the idea that Jake will always love Charles best.
“Captain Lativa” was an excellent Joe Lo Truglio spotlight, allowing Boyle to be simultaneously creepy and awesome in his pursuit of the perfect Christmas gift for poor Nikolaj, taking advantage of his musk, his flat butt, and everything else that will give Jake nightmares. The scene where Charles beats up the goon while screaming out the only Latvian phrases he knows — all of them the kinds of things a father would say to his young son — was a particular delight.
The rest of the squad’s Christmas carol shenanigans didn’t entirely work, though. The Nine-Nine having rivalries with other precincts or agencies is usually fruitful material for the show, but there didn’t feel like enough motivation for Holt and Santiago to both go against their own love of the rules this much, and it felt like a lot of the story seemed to be ignoring that Scully has a beautiful singing voice — and thus would have made getting a ringer from the drunk tank unnecessary — up until they let him sing a few times near the end.
Still, the entire squad caroling, terribly, in front of the Boyle home brought an overall strong year for the show (which wound up on my best of the year list) to a nice close.
Some other thoughts:
* As promised in last week’s review, I had a long, “Dianne Wiest infection”-inspired discussion with Mike Schur about the art of the sitcom cold open, including analysis of different ones from this show, The Office and Parks and Rec.
* This week’s cold open, meanwhile, was a mixed bag. On the one hand, Jake’s inflatable Christmas tree proving a danger to the entire squad was a fun sight gag. On the other, the show has gone to the well too often of a character cheering in the aftermath of something where you would expect them to be dismayed, and Terry’s celebration of having crashed through a window felt like a punchline in search of a different joke.
* I never felt the urge to see the fifth Die Hard, but I appreciate that its badness was the one way for Charles to get Jake to realize things don’t always work out the way you hope.
* Mary Lynn Rajskub is so funny that I wish the show could both use her more often and give Genevieve more weird things to do when she’s around. At least here, we got the very Boyle family moment where Jake had to endure Genevieve and Charles flirting in front of himself and Nikolaj.
What did everybody else think?