Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Three Big Issues (and How to Fix Them)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is flying high right now. It won two Golden Globes a few weeks ago — best actor in a comedy for Andy Samberg, and best comedy — and is still basking in the glow of a post–New Girl post–Super Bowl slot that brought in almost 15 million viewers. That's a pretty big freshman season! But Brooklyn, which moves to its new 9:30 p.m. time slot on Fox tonight, is not fully hatched. The show still needs to make a few key decisions to help nail down its comic voice.


What is the show's relationship to the real world?
B99 was created by Dan Goor and Mike Schur, who cut their teeth on Parks and Recreation (both) and The Office (Schur). And the show's very much in the vein of those series: It's an ensemble comedy with a collection of weirdos. The Office is pretty clearly set in the actual world, and we're meant to see many of the interactions through the "normal" characters' eyes; at the beginning, at least, that was Jim, Pam, Oscar, and maybe Phyllis. Parks took a different tactic, setting itself in a more goofy world, though it's taken that show a while to figure out what to do with its "normal" people, namely Ann Perkins. (The solution: Write her off the show.) B99 doesn't really have straight-man or straight-woman characters, so it's hard for the show to feel anchored in reality — except that the characters are police officers who sometimes solve murders, and Brooklyn is a real place. The Office typically thrived when it confronted real-life things, like sexual harassment seminars. Parks is its best self when it embraces the cartoonishness, like Ron Swanson's audacious breakfast food orders. Right now, Brooklyn's most normal character is Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), though she has plenty of quirks and tics. She's nowhere near as ordinary as, say, Pam on The Office, but she's also not as engagingly loopy as Leslie on Parks and Rec.  Read More...


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