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Brooklyn Nine Nine: "New Captain"/S3E1

Posted on September 28, 2015 at 11:05 PM

By Dhruv Rao

When Brooklyn Nine Nine had piloted about two years ago, one of my main concerns was the decision made to cast Andy Samberg as the lead of the show. Truth be told, he is a fantastic comedian, but during his seven-year  at Saturday Night Live he was the "little brother" : we rarely saw Samberg as the main driving force for a large number of sketches. Once the first season had officially been put into place, I noticed how even though Samberg was the main character, his character seemed like Chris Pratt on Parks And Recreation, i.e. he was the root cause for the great jokes that cracked me up while watching the initial set of episodes ordered for the opening season. Samberg's comic delivery in each episode improved, and though he maintained his next-door-boy charm, he is the biggest star of the ensemble cast and became the face of the show. 

Fortunately, he did a good job at representing how the show works. At its core, Nine Nine has a phenomenal cast with great ranges so it needn't worry about the actors failing the writers. It's actually the inverse statement that I was initially fearful of, i.e. in this time of short-lived shows, will Samberg's show be able to survive past its initial order of episodes? As we stand here at its third season, the show's writers have proven themselves by giving its audience episodes whose scripts are so fluid that the half-hour we spend watching the show seems to pass by us instantaneously. It's qualities like those in a script that have given Nine Nine such acclaim; it's how well the dialogue and plotlines flow with minimal awkward friction between scenes. Furthermore, the apt acting from all members on the cast adds to the overall effect the sitcom has on its audience. The easy and flowing feeling the writers have incorporated into the show brought it past its first season and into its second.

However, in its second season, the show's writers decided to add drama to the episodes to show that the tectonic plates of the show weren't stagnant. The issue I usually have with drama on a sitcom is how the writers decide to deal with it in the long run, i.e. how will this one dramatic element change the future of the characters? Furthermore, as a sitcom, a show shouldn't completely abandon its roots and become a drama series for one episode before it reverts back to its original form. That breaks the fluidity. It shatters the mosaic.

For a sitcom to incorporate dramatic themes and elements into its plots, it must know the boundaries it has before the audience is completely dissatisfied with the episode. The fans of How I Met Your Mother were used to drama being placed strategcally into the sitcom's episodes, but for a show which has destiny as a major theme, dramatic elements are suitable. For comedy shows that don't look at the bigger picture of life, comedies such as Nine Nine or The Big Bang Theory, it's more about stopping where it's required. Nine Nine made sure that the drama didn't offset the comedy, but towards the end of last season, I had seen a large degradation of the episodes. They didn't seem as fluid and funny as the ones which have become my favorites. So, coming into season three with all these loose strings, I had no idea what to expect, which is good as I usually want a fresh mind while reviewing season premieres.

This season for the show is looking good if the premiere is a perfect representation of what we can expect. The writers have assured us that while they are changing things up, they aren't going to stop putting on a great show.The cold open brought out some of the biggest laughs of the episode, especially considering how Bill Hader's character completely unfolded within that limited time space. The rest of the episode picked up the pieces last season left and tried to put them back together in a different way. The one thing that I liked is how the A-plot at the precinct and the B-plot at the PR department were left to occur almost independently. There wasn't much Hoult going back to the 99th precinct or Gina talking to anyone there. This episode was more about each party from this forced split trying to cope with the new situation. I liked how the wrtiers wrote Hader's character, especially since his charactersitics provided for some great reactions by the cops. Furthermore, the chemistry he and Samberg have from their Saturday Night Live days is very much visible during the scene when Peralta butters Dozerman up and when Dozerman is disappointed at Peralta. However, the Hoult-Wunch tension that was a key element last season actually died down during the episode, to the point where it felt dragged out. I actually anxiously waited for those scenes to end as they really weren't as exciting as when Wunch was initially introduced.

The telelvision season has offically kicked off! With two great premieres to review this week, I feel optimistic about the coming seasons of both the shows we're covering this year. I just hope that the fresh feeling that the shows have given the premieres won't fade away mid-season. I really do hope to see a fluid season with good writing and great comedy!

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

- Rosa's threat to Terry is to play the hell out of some backgammon.

- Boyle has already written a bestman speech for Jake and Amy's wedding.

- "We could get super drunk?"

- "I Hope It Wasn't A Mistake: title of your sex tape? Title of our sex tape!"

- "Tell my wife I love ethic."

- Gina's reality show will be called Linetti, Set, Go.

Categories: Other Shows

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