Brooklyn Nine-Nine: A Bit of a Cop-Out

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has good associations for me. Season 1 was on UK TV while we had our Australian flatmates living with us last year and was an enjoyable shared weekly event. Shared TV is a different beast than things enjoyed alone or just with my closest person (not a euphemism) and shared sitcoms, broadcast and watched every week, have been very rare.

Episode 1 indicated a show that had huge capacity for real characters mixed with clever structure and slight lunacy. Fred Armisen’s brief cameo near killed me (“the Klé is silent”) and Joe Lo Truglio’s muffin escapade became a running catchphrase in our flat for weeks. But then things stagnated. The clever structure gave way to predictable flashbacks and cutaways. The characters didn’t develop, they just crashed into each other and reversed out undamaged in varying combinations over the course of the season.

Of course, first seasons do not always series make. Look at The US Office. That show did not exist before S2Ep1 – The Dundies and that is where my DVD collection of it begins. It ends at S8.

So – season 2 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’m now watching it by myself and not finding much to laugh at. See what you think.

(4oD link – http://bit.ly/1AncNwk )

The show runner pedigree is there. There are supremely talented comedians amongst the cast.  And Terry Crews. But there is no feeling of camaraderie. Compared to the proudly beating heart of a group working together in The US Office or Parks and Recreation, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast feel like sketch comedians trying to outdo one another (and I feel qualified to say that because I used to be one).

To my mind, a choice that had to be made is being avoided. Is B99, as I have never referred to it before, a mainstream generic sitcom, the formula easily consumed if you happen to sit in front of it? Or is it a more interesting, offbeat series of sketches hung together on the broad format of “cop show”? Or is it a show that cares about character and how people interact? It can never be the last while it resolves stories and conflicts as an afterthought, literally as the credits roll.

I wanted to give it a chance to develop into something. But it feels like that something might be a not particularly interesting sitcom.

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