Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tuesday Night Comedy Round-Up Spotlight: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I'm not sure how, but Tuesday has quietly turned into the Night of a Thousand Sitcoms. While Thursday still has the one-two punch of Community and Parks and Recreation, FOX's Tuesday night comedy block has quickly become a favourite of mine.

The newly Golden Globe minted Brooklyn Nine Nine delivered another confident half-hour, finally handing the spotlight over to Terry Crews. Whereas most of the cast has been fleshing out well-worn stereotypes (Stern Authority Figure, Loose Cannon Detective, Ambitious career cop), Terry Crews has existed on a different wavelength. His gradual ascent back to active duty has been one of the show's consistent threads, and this feels like the culmination to all that background work.

The biggest initial draws for Brooklyn Nine Nine were the talents of Dan Goor and Michael Schur, whose Parks and Recreation remains the most consistently warm and funny sitcom on television. I picked up an admiration for Andre Braugher's comedic chops from the outstanding Men of a Certain Age (a medal winner in the "Worst Advertisement Campaign" olympics). And Andy Samberg's Lonely Island videos were a staple of my college existence.

But in the first few episodes, no character made me laugh as much as Chelsea Peretti. Her non-sequitur asides felt like comedic shots of adrenaline. And these episodes were still quite funny, always able to make me a crack several smiles and at least one or two big laughs. Since then, Brooklyn has grown and figured out ways to deliver character-based jokes with nearly everyone in the ensemble (Joe Lo Truglio getting way too involved in the gym cover story, Santiago's awesome line reading of "goblin", Sully's bit with the thumb tack). Peretti's character is still funny, but she also feels a bit detached - and her B story felt like we were left waiting for a punchline that never quite came.

Still, Crews' A-plot managed to be both funny and dramatically crucial, all while moving at a fast clip. Now just punch Peralta in his lucky face a few more times, just for us. 

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