Review: Nick Offerman stops by ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ for ‘Ava’

Senior Television Writer
11.22.15 18 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as I call the vaginal Gandalf…

Farce is tough to do in a sitcom format – “Frasier” is the only show I can think of that did it consistently well – because farce depends so much on momentum, and commercial breaks bring that momentum to a halt, forcing the show to start over again in the next act. Combine that with the four-act structure I’ve been mentioning recently in some of these “Brooklyn” reviews, and the fit becomes even tougher, which is why this series’ farcical episodes, like “Ava,” have never been my favorite, going from a resting breath to flop sweat and back much too quickly to be worth the bother.

“Ava” felt very much like season 2’s “Lockdown,” which also put Jake in a position of authority on a crazy night in the precinct. The idea here that Holt gets weird around Sharon, and thus needs to be kept away from her at this stage of the pregnancy, wasn’t a bad one – Holt pouting and being deliberately difficult because his feelings were hurt is a different note for Andre Braugher to play – and it kept all three stories tied together so that none of them felt too insubstantial. But the second he went to see his ex-boyfriend Frederick, all I wanted was for the whole episode to have been a Braugher/Nick Offerman duet. I can imagine the creative team worried it might be too obvious to have those two spend a lot of time trying to out-deadpan each other, but it felt like a missed opportunity. When you have Offerman, period, let alone when you have him on a show that features such a spiritually compatible comic actor in Braugher, you need to have them interact much more than they did here.

As always, you can’t get through a “Brooklyn” episode without a bunch of individually funny moments (Amy being weirdly attracted to Boyle due to his paperwork prowess, Terry crying his way into getting that confession, the running gag about Jake being Sharon’s godhusband), but “Ava” didn’t quite work overall. Hopefully, Offerman’s available again down the road, and the writers contrive to lock Frederick and Holt into a meat locker for a half-hour.

What did everybody else think?

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