‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Breaks Cliche Cop Show Boundaries

Dustin Gebel

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Every so often, a comedy television show reigns above the rest. In recent years, “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” all held the crown. These shows have created a vacuum in the media, so to speak. One show though, moves closer and closer to it. Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” knows this fact and readys itself for the crown.

The simple premise of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” follows a group of detectives’ day-to-day life. The show deviates from every other cop show on television by choosing to focus on the humor rather than the drama. With a relatively unknown cast (Andy Samberg and Terry Crews as the two largest names), the show allows the ensemble cast to shine.

The show’s comedic tone and running gags serves as a refreshing change of pace in the cop genre. From the show’s cold open parodying “Donnie Brasco” to episodes filled to the brim with “Die Hard” references, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” can’t help but charm its audience. The show holds resemblance to previous comedies, such as “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” Unsurprisingly, Dan Goor, one of the executive producers of the show also served on the writers staff of “Parks and Rec,” brings similar themes and humor to “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

One of the running themes of the show examines the need for characters to grow up. The lead character, Jake Peralta played by Andy Samberg, cannot seem to do so. He quotes movies, always runs late and never seems to want to make adult decisions. Throughout the show, Jake makes some progress in growing up but never quite makes it to adulthood. The use of cold openings and tags at the end of each episode help to reinforce the idea that even successful detectives don’t always need to act seriously all the time. It doesn’t help that Jake associates his new boss as a father figure, adding to a running gag of him treating the captain as his own father.

The show also places a focus on romance through its two and a half seasons. Within the first season of the show, a misdirected romance starts to form between two of the detectives. Behind this romance, the show slowly but surely starts to develop between Peralta and Amy Santiago, played by Melissa Fumero. The show presents them as children at heart, allowing the two to build an honest and supportive relationship. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” deviates from the sitcom beats of romance, skipping the “opposites-attract” cliché and “will they, won’t they” motifs and instead employs a heartwarming and refreshing take on relationships. In the end, you can’t help but root for the two.

The ensemble cast of the show adds to the script, being the final component to the breakout comedy’s winning charm. Not only does the large cast allow for combinations of character in various stories, but it leads to us, the viewers, never being bored with one character. The show explores various character types and while it starts with each character off as a specific mold, each one breaks their mold and becomes more complex with time. Jake becomes more of an adult and reveals more father-related issues. Amy begins as tightly wound and snobbish, and slowly delves into neurotic territory, along with childish tendencies that match Jake’s.

If any comedy on the air needs more recognition, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” should be on the top of the list. With its willingness to both commit and break the rules of sitcoms, the show breathes fresh air into the cop genre of television as well as situational comedies. With both the first two seasons on Hulu and the third airing currently on Fox, I would most definitely recommend the show to anyone looking for a quick binge. Catching up on the show will occur quickly and leave you wanting more. Until then, one can only hope that “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” will take the comedic crown, for no other show competes with it at this moment.