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T.V. That Matters: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Broad City & more

This week we bid a sweet farewell to a pair of shows who had exceptionally promising first seasons. Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the unlikely cop show staring SNL alumnus Andy Samberg and Comedy Central’s Broad City, a show about two young women, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, wandering aimlessly through their twenties in New York City. As a long-time fan of Samberg, the actor who initially rose to fame for rapping about the Chronic-WHAT-cles of Narnia, I expected that a cop show starring the lovable doofus would be an abysmal failure. To my surprise, Samberg made a smooth transition from over-the-top sketch comedian to charismatic television cop. In the leading role that earned Samberg his first Golden Globe, he proved he could be equally as facetious as he could be compelling. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an endearing look at the life of the eccentric personnel that make up the fictional 99th precinct. The show manages to strike a healthy balance between realism and camp, an area of specialty for Executive Producer Michael Schur of The Office and Parks and Recreation success.

The season finale included an emo egg-eating Boyle, Gina expressing her emotions through verbal descriptions of emojis and a flashback sequence of Detective Peralta’s Bar Mitzvah. It also included a special guest appearance from comedian and “prolific twitter user”, Joe Mande as an aspirational drug dealer. The episode touches on every will-they-won’t-they scenario being thrown around all season and even manages to surprise you with a pairing or two.

On the finale of Broad City, the girls go out to a fancy and obviously ill fitting restaurant to celebrate Abbi’s 26th birthday. Executive producer and episode director, Amy Poehler, makes a guest appearance in a parallel storyline-taking place in the kitchen of the restaurant. This dysfunctional subplot detailed the acerbic relationship between the girl’s “classy” waiter, John, and the very hostile chef, played by Poehler herself. Abbi has a startling discovery in the ladies room at the restaurant all while Ilana is developing an allergic reaction to the shellfish she’s gorging herself on. Through the mayhem, the girl’s ironclad friendship is the one that prevails, proving that it is the only character on the show with growth and stability.

Both Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Broad City were renewed for second seasons by their respective networks. Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. eastern time on Fox. New episodes are set to return in the fall, until then you can access full episodes on Hulu. Broad City airs Wednesdays at 10:30 P.M. eastern time on Comedy Central.

This weekend, the ever-expanding cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live put on a pleasantly peculiar show, hosted by the notoriously self-deprecating and cynical Louis CK.

The stand-up legend transitioned his unique brand of comedy, which often combines the inner narrative of the average middle-aged man with the twisted mind of a teenage boy, seamlessly into sketch comedy. CK’s monologue was a sample of his stand-up, which was an even blend of farce and social commentary. He’s earned himself a reputation for teetering on the thin line between gritty and uncalled-for. CK managed to keep himself in check for the show and only let the audience writhe in an appropriate level of discomfort.

Awkward race relations on “Black Jeopardy”, a few action-figure-in-butt jokes during a digital short, a musical sketch that revealed a man’s egg related insecurities and a delightfully bizarre sketch involving pajamas, were some of the more memorable moments of the show.

Sam Smith brought the raspy and somber sounds of his voice to studio 8H with two rather minimalistic performances. Smith is most recognized for lending his voice to popular electric dance music tracks. He simplified his performance with soulful renditions of his songs that included just him, a few string players and one pianist who insisted on counting him into songs in the style of an elementary school chorus teacher. With a cold opening that seemed like a conglomerate of crutches and a lackluster Weekend Update, this was not a show for a non-CK fan. Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. eastern time on NBC.

I spent this past Sunday mourning the end of HBO’s Girls, which wrapped up its third season last week. The bittersweet finale has left me salivating for more. The narcissistic and vapid characters you love to hate are, for the first time, getting a taste of the real world.

The finale put the four main characters in grownup conflicts forcing the girls to make choices and face the consequences for their careless behavior. Hannah may be attending graduate school in Iowa, while her relationship with Adam is very much on the rocks. Shosh’s year of freedom has backfired and now she is unable to graduate college. Jessa’s disregard for her own life has left her in a potentially irreversible situation involving the life of her new boss. Marnie’s inability to take a hint has now entangled her with a man in a committed relationship.

The unique goals and priorities they have each established for themselves during the series’ progression are being tested, calling for reevaluation of what they each really want out of life. Girls began with a groundbreaking first season, followed by an awkward and disoriented second season that has now reeled itself back into the honest and captivating work of its inception, which earned the show two Golden Globes in 2013. Girls airs Sundays at 10 p.m. eastern time on HBO. Until the fourth season, which begins filming next month, I am reduced to re-watching old Girls episodes in my bed via HBOgo to get my weekly dose of Hannah whining about being an artist with untapped potential, Sosh’s improbable hairstyles, coffee shops and of course the brooding hunky weirdo that is Adam.

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