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TV That Matters: Brooklyn "Nine Nine" & "New Girl"

By John Thomas Columnist


My fans, due to unforeseen events, I will be reviewing the latest episodes of “New Girl” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in today’s column. I will be reviewing “Sleepy Hollow“ later this semester, assuming that the show’s writing staff were able to stretch its concept past the first three episodes.

I never thought I’d see the day when I was more excited for Fox’s fall slate than NBC’s.  I won’t be able to comment on the actual content of NBC’s new shows until they premiere, but there is not one new show on the network that excites me. It’s not as if NBC’s strategy is all that much different than Fox’s. Both are employing genre shows that don’t make sense with “Dracula” and “Sleepy Hollow” respectively, both have major music competitions in “X-Factor” and “The Voice”, and both even have shows backed by J.J. Abrams, “Almost Human” and “Believe”. Broadly speaking, neither is trying anything novel; with both networks it’s all old hash. That being said, I can tell you that Fox at least has one new program that you should definitely check out: “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

I had high expectations going in, as “Parks and Recreation” is my favorite television show of all time. Michael Schur, one of “Parks” co-creators, co-created Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Dan Gor, a producer on “Parks”. I should’ve probably tapered those expectations a little, considering how “Parks’” first season went, but luckily, I don’t regret my mistake. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is the best new comedy I’ve seen on a network in the last few years. Not since “Community” has a show captured my curiosity and enthusiasm in such a fashion. It’s definitely broader than even a nascent “Parks” ever was, but that’s alright. Even though I didn’t take much pleasure from maybe half of the jokes in the episode, the characters are so earnest and likable that their comedic misfires came off in the same way a good friend’s bad joke doesn’t ruin the conversation.

I’d also be amiss if I didn’t point out that THERE IS A BLACK GAY MAN IN A COMEDY THAT AIRS ON BROADCAST TELEVISION, AND ON TOP OF ALL THAT HE’S A CRACKER JACK DETECTIVE. When I watch a show for the first time, I try to not judge it with a diversity scorecard, because that would ruin just about every show for me. That really irks me. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a show that would probably check off all the boxes on my imaginary diversity scorecard.

“New Girl” was enjoyable as well. I didn’t really care for the A-plot that featured Nick and Jess fleeing away to Mexico in an attempt to protect their new romance. Schmidt’s whole “I’m dating two gals, guys! Isn’t that wack?” shtick kind of wore on me, but none of that matters because Winston decided to do a puzzle. Winston is a man after my own heart. He likes to do puzzles in the nude, rejecting the fact that he is colorblind. I like to do Sudoku in my birthday suit, rejecting the fact that I failed calculus. Sure, like most episodes, a lot of the non-Winston and Schmidt related bits seemed forced and almost underacted, but then there’s a moment that suggests that, due to his colorblindness, Winston might not have realized he was brown skinned until now, so all is forgiven.

Fox is doing broad comedy, exclusively broad comedy, just like the other Big Four networks, but they are doing it in an immensely enjoyable, still intelligent fashion.  Next week we’ll see if NBC was able to pull that off as well with my reviews of “The Michael J. Fox Show” and “Sean Saves the World.”


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