“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” shocked everyone taking home two big awards at the 71st annual Golden Globes.
The freshman series beat out CBS favourite “The Big Bang Theory” in two categories.
First, Andy Samberg beat out Jim Parsons for Best Actor on a comedy show.
Soon after, the Fox show won for Best Comedy series.
Right now, “Brooklyn” is probably the most underrated show on TV.
“Brooklyn” follows the goofy but gifted Detective Jake Peralta (Samberg) and his misfit colleagues at a fictional Brooklyn precinct, who are forced to reel in the antics when the force gets a new captain with something to prove (Andre Braugher).
So what’s all the fuss about? Here’s why you should tune into the Golden Globe winner:
It’s created by Daniel Goor and Michael Schur, the gods of the workplace comedy genre.
Schur created “Parks and Recreation,” is credited with writing 138 episodes of “Saturday Night Live,” and played Dwight Schrute’s crazed cousin Mose on “The Office.” The Comedy King of the moment has extensive experience in architecting ensembles that work together, and playing to the strengths of each cast member.
Before Goor ventured into situation comedy with “Parks,” he was a regular in the late night talk show writers’ room. He crafted punchlines for Jon Stewart, Carson Daly, and Conan O’Brien for almost a decade. His quick paced one-liners combine with Schur’s cringy sense of humour to produce this tight and bright NBC-sitcom-homage.
Unlike Season 1 of “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn” is already good.
Remember when Mark Brendanawicz was Leslie Knope’s love interest? Me neither.
The first season of “Parks” was, like the former Pawnee city planner, forgettable. It failed to convince critics it was anything but an “Office” imitation, and ratings slipped through its first six episodes.
But “Brooklyn” gets the formula right immediately. From The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman:
“Few pilots come this polished in that viewers will know what each character is like without having to wait; Goor and Schur achieve that without having to dumb them down or make them ludicrously loud like on, say, CBS’ ‘The Millers.'”
This isn’t “The Andy Samberg Show.”
His mug may be front and center on promotional posters, but the greatest strength of “Brooklyn” is the hugely talented and diverse ensemble. The idiosyncrasies of the group’s dynamic are what gives the show warmth and an endless supply of running gags.
The always great Terry Crews, of “Everybody Hates Chris,” “The Expendables,” and Old Spice commercials, plays the squad’s leader, Sgt. Terry Jeffords. Following an emotional breakdown in the field, he loses his edge and opts for permanent desk duty, so he can spend time with his wife and baby twin girls. Crews masters a combination of roughness and puppy dog sweetness that serves as a major source of laughs.
Then there’s Chelsea Peretti, a likely candidate for The Next Tina Fey or Amy Poehler. The standup comedian, who made appearances on “The Sarah Silverman Show,” “Tosh.0,” and “Louie,” plays the quirky, quick-witted office administrator Gina Linetti, who understands the precinct’s personalities and office politics better than anyone.
Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, and Joe Lo Truglio also star.
Surprise! Samberg can act.
But as the shallow crime-solving wunderkind Detective Peralta, he finds his rhythm. He’s cool and confident, like his persona in the Lonely Island music videos, while self-effacing and sensitive, like his character in the “Laser Cats” digital shorts.
Award show blogger Matt Noble predicted Samberg would take the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series at the Golden Globes — an impressive feat considering the category had him against up Jason Bateman, Don Cheadle, Michael J. Fox, and Jim Parsons. However, it’s not unusual for an underdog to scoop the award. GoldDerby.com reports that in the last 12 years, Best Actor in a Comedy TV Series went to a first-time nominee 10 times.
Braugher as the uptight, openly gay new captain deadpans in epic fashion.
Braugher has studied drama his entire life, and is known for his serious roles in the NBC dramas “Homicide: Life on the Street,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” But his voice-of-God baritone, icy demeanor, and exceedingly flat delivery work wonders in a comedy setting.
His character, Captain Ray Holt, provides a rich background that adds social consciousness to the narrative. The surly commanding officer came out 25 years ago, he tells Detective Peralta and his partner, when “the NYPD was not ready for a gay captain.” From The Baltimore Sun’s Michael Gold:
“When diversity became advantageous for the force, police brass pushed Holt into a paper-pushing public affairs job where they could trot him out as a token gay while keeping him away from the pavement-pounding police work apparently reserved for real heterosexual men. That kind of misogynistic and heternormative assumption gets challenged a few times in this show’s pilot.”
Braugher addressed in a NBC press statement he’s not playing a gay police captain, but a police captain who happens to be gay.
“The distinction is large in my mind,” Braugher said. “The gay police captain is eventually going to be wearing hot pants and singing ‘YMCA.’ The police captain who happens to be gay is going to be a huge collection of personality characteristics and motivations.”
It’ll be interesting to see how “Brooklyn” integrates his sexuality into the narrative, and who is cast as Holt’s husband.
“Brooklyn” actually offers a legitimately diverse cast but doesn’t trumpet it.
Just like Holt’s sexuality, “the cast is incredibly diverse for a network show without belaboring the point that it has a diverse cast,” writes the A.V. Club’s Molly Eichel. The precinct’s leadership consists of two black men — Braugher’s Captain Holt and Crews’s Sergeant Jeffords — and the two female detectives are played by Latina actresses.
Schur told Splitslider the ensemble is the product of a “race blind casting,” and that they wrote parts with generic names and zero physical descriptions.
“If you’re gonna set a show in New York City,” Schur said, “it would seem silly if everybody was a white dude. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
A slew of fantastic guest stars liven up the precinct.
Patton Oswalt, Dean Winters, Andy Richter, Stacy Keach, and up-and-comer Scott Mescudi appeared in just the first 11 episodes. Craig Robinson rounds out the A-list guest star roster on this Tuesday’s episode.
The best performance was Oswalt’s, as a cocky fire marshall who emotionally and physically antagonizes Detective Peralta in an ongoing rivalry between New York’s Bravest and Finest. Here’s hoping the two departments overlap again.
The quickly cut flashbacks, à la “30 Rock,” reveal new sides of the characters.
Similar to how Tina Fey wove backstory into “30 Rock” through snappy flashbacks, “Brooklyn” leans pretty heavily on the gimmick, for laughs and depth. The scenes add character development in the absence of the documentary-style interviews that appear in “Parks” and “The Office.”
Still, the showrunners could lose the obnoxious transition sound effect.
There’s no better time to start watching.
Fox awarded its fresh-faced critical darling the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot on February 2, propped up next to “New Girl.” Wanting to take advantage of the exposure, Goor and Schur crafted a perfect little introductory episode to reel in new viewers.
“There’s some Super Bowl specific stuff, but we really just tried to create a big, bright, funny, juicy comedy story that we’re hoping a lot of people [will] check out for the first time, because the entire universe watches the Super Bowl,” Schur told E! Online. “We wanted to introduce the characters to a wider audience, [and] just build a couple stories that are really explaining in the funniest way who everyone is.”
There will also be huge talent stopping by the precinct, including Adam Sandler, NFL great Joe Theismann, and Samberg’s fellow “SNL” alum, Fred Armisen, who had a brief, but buzzy cameo in the pilot.
Still not sold? Watch a preview.
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