Captain Holt’s (Andre Braugher) freshly acquired collection of novelty shirts (bought from a gift shop after he left New York in a hurry during last night’s season premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine) portrayed a sense of either bro-y or ironic (but not both) whimsy that would be hilariously out of place on the captain’s body in a normal episode of the show. But with Holt sulking and getting darkly philosophical as he works through the five stages of grief following a bit of a personal let down, well, the sight gag feels like a B99 all-timer and something we wanted to really focus on in this surprisingly deep ranking of Holt’s novelty shirts (which is best enjoyed after having seen the episode. For both humor and spoiler reasons).
5. Three Tequilas And The Floor
I don’t know that being floored by three itty-bitty shots of tequila is something I’d want to broadcast on a tee shirt. Really, you’re celebrating failure, not fun. And you’re doing it with a sort of slime green tri-blend. What kind of message is that? Maybe that’s why they chose this shirt for the moment when Holt decided to quit the Nine-Nine and metaphorically lay down on the soothingly cold linoleum floor of his life after losing out in his bid to be commissioner, his head spun around by the bitter brew that the universe’s bartender had recently served him. I’m so proud of him for getting up, smacking a hand down on the Formica bar (it’s not a very nice place), asking for another shot, and, above all else, changing that shirt. I don’t even believe that that change happened because of a lube accident (imagine someone reading that line having not seen the episode). I think Holt shed that shirt like a caterpillar sheds its trash caterpillar legs and other parts during the pupa stage before becoming a glorious butterfly.
4. DTF – Down To Fiesta
We’re already leaps and bounds ahead of the tequila failure shirt. Fun tee shirts should be fun. It’s a chest billboard advertising the kind of person you are. Consider your brand.
I don’t know that, according to the vibes he was putting out at the time, Holt was really down to fiesta but maybe there’s a small part of him that was crying out and hoping someone would pull him into a fiesta and take him away from his problems for a little while. Sometimes we need to be nudged to get out of our own heads, you know? I guess Jake and Amy tried to do that. They do seem fun when they’re beating people over the head with their stacks on stacks on stacks and, in private, with their Die Hard sexcapades, but with Holt, their vacation was all about sitting in tepid water and eating cold fish. I love Amy’s ferocity when Holt dents Jake’s goofy outer shell by calling him selfish, but consider the other side: this man was in pain and needed to get on a jet ski or slam street tacos and dance until 5AM. He did not need a mud mask. Of course he lashed out.