‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ charms as police workplace comedyPosted on September 17, 2013 | by Bob Teoh
A highly enjoyable mix of “The Office” and “Psych,” with a dash of “Chuck,” FOX’s new sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has the potential to join the line of successful comedic hits. Creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”) successfully transfer the charm and hilarity of the traditional workplace comedy into an eccentric New York City police squad.
The show’s premise, a throwback to ‘70s sitcom “Barney Miller,” follows talented but immature Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and his team of quirky police officers. Even though Peralta’s colleagues have always grudgingly tolerated his antics, the arrival of a by-the-book chief, Captain Roy Holt (Andre Braugher), forces Peralta to adapt to Holt’s no-nonsense style.
Like its predecessors, “Nine-Nine’s” success stems largely from an impressive comedic cast. Samberg fits comfortably into another incarnation of the goofball persona he perfected with “Saturday Night Live” and comedy group The Lonely Island. With his icy, cool looks and deep, grandiose voice, Braugher is excellent as the dignified foil to Samberg’s Peralta. Bent on making the 99th Precinct the cream of the crop, he refuses to tolerate Peralta’s childish behavior.
Credit must also be given to the show’s promising supporting cast. Terry Crews plays Sergeant Jeffords, whose timid interior clashes with his macho exterior. And with a cast rounded out by Melissa Fumero, Chelsea Peretti and comedic veteran Joe Lo Truglio, the precinct is filled with eclectic yet entertaining characters.
Despite its promising cast, “Nine-Nine” demonstrates a few flaws out of the gate. As with any genre hybrid, the show faces a major balance issue. Though the workplace comedy works well, the actual police drama is somewhat lacking. With most of the pilot dedicated to the squad’s hijinks, the show has no choice but to rush through the episode’s major case. This glossing over leaves viewers wondering exactly how little police work is done in the 99th Precinct.
Like “Barney Miller,” once a comedy commits itself to drama, its appeal should draw from both genres. By devoting too much time to the comedic aspects, “Nine-Nine” not only stretches believability, but limits its ability to stand out from the countless comedies already airing. While it is only natural a fledgling comedy might take time to find its footing, the writers need to strike this balance for the show to be a true hit.
Flaws aside, “Nine-Nine” features a fun premise carried by a cast of lovable characters. It stays true to itself and provides the lighthearted entertainment it promises.
With a great comedic backing and goofy charm, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has the potential to match the irresistible quality that draws viewers to “Parks and Recreation’s” Leslie Knope and her team.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 17 print edition. Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.