1. Characters, not caricatures.
The problem with alot of comedies is that the characters are over exaggerated versions of typical stereotypes. There’s your gay character (who probably says bitch and girlfriend in every sentence), your token character of color (Angry African-americans, Smart Asians, Latinas with thick accents and low-cut dresses), The man-child who doesn’t want to grow up(and probably wears a lot of hoodies and has a beard). The annoying, dumb and obnoxious character (who is probably a woman).
But Brooklyn Nine-Nine has well rounded and complex characters who are still perfect for a comedy.
- Captain Ray Holt(Andre Brauer) is a hilariously stoic man who happens to be gay and also black.
- His assistant, Gina Linetti(Chelsea Peretti) is out there, obnoxious, sometimes downright rude but oddly perceptive and smart.
- Rosa Sanchez(Stephanie Beatriz) is tough as nails, all black leather and sarcastic remarks but she’s still just a woman making it in a man’s world.
- Amy Santiago(Melissa Fumero) is a brilliant female detective, but she’s always concerned about impressing Captain Holt for all the wrong reasons.
- Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) looks big, strong and intimidating but builds dollhouses and is terrified of being back on the field because of his wife and two little girls.
- Charles Boyle(Joe Lo Truglio)is a short, geeky divorcee with a comprehensive knowledge of food and unrequited crush on Rosa, who just happens to be extremely brave.
- And the lead character, Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), is immature, arrogant and obnoxious but happens to be a good friend and an even better detective.
2. Not your typical straight white man’s comedy.
Sadly, it is still considered rare for a primetime television show to have multiple non-white characters. But Brooklyn Nine-Nine gives us a gay, black Police Captain, not one but two Latina detectives and a black sergeant. But none of these characters are stereotypes. The races, sexes and sexualities do not define the characters and they are not overshadowed by stereotypes that usually plague persons of color in comedies. Their ethnicity and sexual preferences are simply parts of their identities. These diverse characters are not comic relief in sacrifice of their identities, they are all focal points of the show with their own unique personalities. Matter of fact, the two most stereotypical characters are Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker), the two older incompetent white men.
When it comes to representation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is everything I hoped the Mindy Project would have been
3. Plot & Continuity.
Unlike a lot of half hour comedies, Nine-Nine ‘s storylines are funny without being offensive. And although the show is pure light, comedic goodness , the character development and continuity of the storyline play out much like a well-written drama. We actually get invested in these characters and not just in having a laugh. The show makes you root for Jake or Amy in their bets, want Holt to be impressed by the overachieving Amy, we wait for the next crazy insight Gina has, or the next time Rosa is going to kick some ass. The cases are both unique and hilarious but also practical. To have a comedy about Law Enforcement that doesn’t make a mockery of the profession is a pleasant surprise.
4. The Relationships.
Every character has had a scene together, which is surprisingly rare although many do not realize it. We actually see everyone’s interactions. We witness Jake and Amy’s endless competition. We find out about Rosa and Jake’s long time friendship and trust since the academy. We watch as Amy tries everything she can to impress the unreadable Captain Holt. We observe Holt’s simultaneous wariness and appreciation for Peralta. The show explores not only Boyle’s crush on Rosa, but his admiration for Jake as a detective and his entertaining interactions with Gina. No character is swept under the rug and used as a plot device. They all have their own identities and overlapping relationships that help craft these identities.
5. Just watch the clips below.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays at 8:30 EST on Fox.