If you’re an Andy Samberg fan, you might like this new cop-com, because it is tailored to his style of comedy. From his portrayal of a robot (“Meep-Morp-Zarp”) to his role as the antagonistic police detective to his not-straight but straight-laced boss, Captain Holt (portrayed by Andre Braugher from Homicide and Men Of A Certain Age), it’s pure Samberg all the way.
Samberg plays Jake Peralta, a cop who (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) is excellent at his job in spite of his unorthodox—and occasionally zany–ways of investigating crime. Melissa Fumero (One Life To Live) is his long-suffering partner, who has the thankless job of rolling her eyes at his looniness. She’s a hard-driven cop and she is always trying to compete with Jake for “collars”. It frustrates her that he often solves cases before her, especially with his offbeat antics.
Terry Crews (The Expendibles and the dad from Everybody Hates Chris) is the squad’s leader, a former gung ho cop who is now in therapy after the birth of his twin girls (named Cagney and Lacey) has caused him to lose his edge as a cop, because all he thinks about now is getting home to his family after a long day at his dangerous job.
Other characters in the squad are also introduced in the pilot, but it’s clear they are to take a back seat to the main characters. There’s a tough-as-nails but hard-working Latina detective, a clumsy but hard-working white detective, and a smart-mouthed-yet-deadpan precinct administrator, who seems as though she arrived at the 99th directly from The Office or Parks and Recreation. (She may not be quite as hard-working.) The one moment I enjoyed in the pilot involved the clumsy cop, who drops his muffin at the photocopier, bangs his head as he bends over to pick it up, then steps on his muffin in his moment of disorientation. What made it funnier was that he narrated aloud all the way (“Aw, man, my muffin. (bangs his head) Aw, my head! My muffin, my head, and I stepped on my muffin! And my head and my muffin.”) Yes, it was funny, but it was ten seconds out of the whole show.
In talk show appearances, Samberg has been comparing this new series to Police Squad! (the short-lived series that inspired Leslie Nielsen’s Naked Gun movies) and Barney Miller, but I thought both of those shows were funnier. It’s not a bad show, but it’s not must-see viewing, either. Brooklyn Nine Nine could develop into a better show than the pilot was, but it’s scheduled on Tuesday nights at 8 against both CBS’s powerhouse NCIS and ABC’s most anticipated new series, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. It’s going to take more than Andy Samberg’s Meep-Morp-Zarp routine to give this show a fighting chance. The only hope I give the show is if Fox can be as patient with B99 the same way NBC has been with shows such as Community and 30 Rock.
TV Gord’s verdict: Watch it while you can!