A review of last night’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as my itinerary to Rome connects through Vietnam…
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a comedy bursting with great characters, some who arrived in the pilot fully-formed (Holt, Terry, Diaz), some who are still being tweaked as this season goes along (Peralta, Gina). Then there’s Boyle, who took a few episodes to become the original, hilarious character he is now, and the kind of guy who works perfectly as the center of a delightful episode like “Full Boyle.”
There are neurotic and/or clumsy characters on plenty of ensemble sitcoms, but the writers and Joe Lo Truglio have found something distinctive and wonderful about the way Charles overdoes everything, usually with unapologetic enthusiasm – and the early scenes of Boyle being cool, confident, and shockingly attractive to Gina were hilarious – here with utter panic as Jake convinced him that the Full Boyle would scare Vivian away. It was a great showcase for Lo Truglio, but also a nice character story for Peralta, who utterly torpedoes a sure thing with the woman of his dreams entirely to protect Boyle, and doesn’t even seem to be upset about it later after he realizes he was wrong. The show’s on a good run lately of finding ways for Jake to be immature and/or obnoxious while trying to do right by others, rather than out of worry about his own needs, and this continued that – while also giving us the spectacle of Peralta and Boyle pepper spraying each other in front of the hot dog cart.
It’s interesting that while Santiago wandered into the A-story at times – and Jake blowing it with Bernice is less of a big deal because the show is angling to put him and Amy together – Diaz never did. The cliche in this kind of plot is to have Diaz suddenly get jealous of Boyle when he’s with someone else, but now he’s engaged to Vivian and Diaz doesn’t seem involved or concerned at all. I wonder if the show is just dropping the unrequited crush angle now that Santiago and Peralta are the long-simmering couple-to-be, which would allow Marilu Henner and her perfect memory to stick around in a recurring role, or if we’re setting up for a reverse “Graduate” later in the season.
Diaz and Santiago’s actual case, involving Nate Torrence as local vigilante Super Dan, is a cop show staple (“Hill Street Blues” did a memorable run of episodes where Mick Belker reluctantly befriended a nerd calling himself Captain Freedom), but it worked well enough and set up Super Dan as someone who can return down the line like the Vulture or Fire Marshal Boone.
Holt’s political challenge, meanwhile, continued the running gag that the captain is funny to everyone but us. But it also did a nice job, as the show has done so often this season, of dealing seriously with the challenges a gay man of Holt’s age would have dealt with over his career. Andre Braugher gets to be humorously robotic as usual, Chelsea Peretti got to do another goofy dance, but – like “Parks and Rec” and “The Office” when it was good – “Brooklyn” manages to find shading and humanity even within fairly silly stories, which makes them feel satisfying beyond the effectiveness of the jokes.
What did everybody else think?