|Posted on October 13, 2015 at 12:55 AM|
By Dhruv Rao
Why do we expect television shows to have a perfect run of A-grade episodes? I find it unreasonable to expect every single episode of a season be perfect, especially since that would create a form of monotony. I know that it may seem contradictory, but I strongly support a television show that has a few dips in quality over the season because those are the episodes that make up appreciate the better ones. Otherwise, you would have people say that a specific show was good, but when asked about a recommended episode, they wouldn't be able to conceive of one.
In the case of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, there haven't been many major disappointments, but there have been a few sub-par episodes that give the show a more grounded feeling than others. As a television critic, I find it easier to review episodes it you have a handfull of them of different qualities and structures, which is why I liked reviewing How I Met Your Mother. Was every episode right on and concise? No, but the several little details instilled in them and the areas of improvement were always a treat to mention. With Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it isn't a piece of cake because the writers' ideas usually flow so easily that con converting the visual media into words was a little difficult for me.
That's why tonight's episode is significant to me as a writer: it represents a change, a slight downfall, and a chance for me to elaborate on how the episode could be improved. Think of the situation like going to an academic advisor with a few doubts versus visiting the advisor with a plethora of questions. As far as I am concerned, if I were to this advisor getting only students from the former category, I would be bored and would feel slightly unwanted. However, with a balance of students from both categories, I would be happy with what I was doing because my job would be interesting. Tonight's episode fits the latter category since it's not perfect, unlike a good portion of episodes from Nine Nine. This week's punchline was Boyle going "full Boyle": an idea the show has explored before. The idea of Boyle's unorthodox imagining of romance was funny for the first two seasons of the show, but now that the show has started its metamorphosis into a show that's staying for a while, Boyle needs to transform before his punchline starts to grow old, much like Raj's selective mutism over at The Big Bang Theory.
Having a weak punchline for the A-plot of a show leads to an episode being on shaky grounds due to the majority of screen-time being devoted to something that turns the audience away from the episode. Furtunately, for Nine Nine, Andy Samberg, whose puerile energy has never stopped being fascinating and humorous, is almost always in the A-plot, thus intersplicing daunting material with slight bursts of humor like he did when he was a regular at SNL. I may want Boyle to change and be "normal", but Peralta as a character is eerily similar to Joey on Friends in that they both have a charm even though their maturity levels are stagnant throughout the run of the show. However, what actually makes these characters likeable is the moments when the comedy is actually side-stepped and their maturity is put on display. Those are the moments I enjoy the most, so when Peralta tried to console Boyle towards the end of the episode, the audience doesn't care for all the jokes he makes at Boyle's expense, they only focus on how he truly cares for him.
With the subplots this week, they were the show at its finest because they were reminiscent of the small moments I recall from the opening season. Rosa's anger issues, Santiago's nature, and Gina's sass are all elements that made them who they were, and while I was discouraging Boyle's static character traits, these ones are better since the audience has had moments when the three women were out of their element. For instance, Rosa's relationship with Marcus is mentioned in passing, and it really is a testament to how multifaceted she truly is. As for Gina and Santiago, we didn't get to enjoy any new character traits, but their typical natures were apt for the plot they were written into tonight. Unfortunately, their plot had a lot going on, especially with Hoult apologizing to Gina, and often felt to steal the main plot's thunder. I wouldn't mind having the roles reversed, but with an overpowering subplot and a sub-par A-plot, the episode didn't feel like Nine Nine in its element...
- "She eats octopus balls, and she sleeps on the floor: She's the perfect woman!"
- "Let's get an unbiased opinion from your straight-up swimfan!"
- "What's step two?" "Tell their widows they were thieves."
- "Dem knight boobies is crazy!"
- "They didn't even put a comma between 'Die' and 'Pig'!"
- "Once again, my advice has, like, saved the city!"
Categories: Other Shows