Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ – ‘Pontiac Bandit’

Senior Television Writer
01.07.14 17 Comments

A review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as I work for a charity that finds jobs for down-on-their-luck white people…

The story that provides “Pontiac Bandit” with its title was of a type I’ve been hoping “Brooklyn” would do away with for a while, as Jake again screws up for failing to listen to some clearly wise advice. But it was also so funny, and made such good use of every single member of the ensemble, plus guest star Craig Robinson, that I ultimately didn’t mind that much.

When I interviewed Mike Schur and Dan Goor back in the summer, they talked about reaching that point on “Parks and Rec” where they and the audience understood what was specifically funny about each actor and character, as opposed to their broader type, and it’s clear that “Brooklyn” has gotten to that point. There are very obvious sweet spots for every character, like Holt speaking in an oddly formal and almost always deadpan manner (“Hand me the small dog, Santiago”), or Santiago being eager to please to the point of risking death, or Diaz’s supreme self-confidence. “Pontiac Bandit” consistently hit those sweet spots, even as it was carefully crafting bigger comic moments like Boyle having to go to the bathroom to rescue Santiago’s grandmother’s ring, even as the “Please get out of my way” recording on his scooter plays, or Holt trying to lecture the squad while holding two adorable puppies under his arm.

Though I could do with less of Peralta screwing up out of sheer, immature stubbornness, Andy Samberg and Robinson worked really well together, whether re-enacting dialogue from “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West” or taking shared joy in how Jake looked in the Steve Harvey Collection suit Doug’s father died in. (Also note Jake’s penchant for inventing characters with ridiculous names, here turning Mangy Carl into Carl Mangerman.) And the idea of Jake and Rosa as academy buddies with inherent trust for one another – at least until this case – adds a strong layer to that particular relationship. Since Jake is always going to be in the main story, the writers have been good about alternating his partners (including Holt at times), and coming up with different dynamics each time. Jake is always Jake, but Charles, Amy, Rosa, etc. all interact with him in a different way.

I may have to skip reviewing the next episode or three due to press tour and some other travel, but I’m very pleased with the overall state of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” right now, even as I am thoroughly grossed out by everything Boyle eats.

What did everybody else think?

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