Sunday, 20 March 2016

Geekery of the Weekery: Brooklyn Nine Nine

I've been rewatching the first season of this show with my best friend who hadn't seen it before, and I just can't remember loving an American TV comedy as much as I love this one.  In today's post, I'm going to give eight mostly spoiler-free reasons to love Brooklyn Nine Nine (in alphabetical order not order of favouritism just to be clear)

Amy Santiago

While I like to think I'm less of a kiss-ass, Amy is pretty much me for better or worse.  Complete nerd, super awkward, but fiercely loyal and dedicated, and hilarious - especially when she lets her hair down (which is not that often for anxious overachiever Amy).  She's intensely competitive which makes for some entertaining interactions and competitions with Jake Peralta who is also strongly competitive.  Oh and she's a terrible cook!  So like I said: basically me.  Except ablebodied and badass.

Charles Boyle

Boyle is like Jake's personal cheerleader.  Jake's best friend and pretty much brother.  He's unflailingly positive and as loyal as a golden retriever.  Though that may seem a one way friendship, Jake has his back and is happy to play wingman.  He admittedly took a while to grow on me, I found him obnoxious and his refusal to accept no for an answer when it came to his affections for Rosa were a big turn off.  However, once his character was allowed to develop a bit more and move on from his obsession he was much more interesting and likeable. 

Gina Linetti

Another character that had to grow on me, but I became far more interested in when she showed some hidden depths to her otherwise shallow character.  My favourite episode with her in was probably Holt's birthday party where all the psychologists and psychiatrists were flocked around her as she talked.  She's pretty much a chaotic neutral, not necessarily malicious willed but loves to create chaos and make the others' lives a little more difficult if she can.  Most of her kinder moments are more backfired plans where she meant to be mean.  "She keeps shit real" (I'm quoting my bff Harriet here) and adds her own flavour of entertainment and hilarity to the show.

Jake Peralta

Seriously there is so much to love about Jake.  He's a complete goofball, but he doesn't cross the line to be offensive (or at least not often) and on occasions where he does need to be called out, he genuinely and sincerely apologises and admits his mistakes.  Honestly I can't do the character justice, so just read this tumblr post which sums up why he's such a great character.  He's not perfect though, I could certainly do without the fat-shaming comments he makes from time to time, but it's refreshing that the list of flaws isn't much longer as is common in most American sitcom characters.

Captain Ray Holt

Ah Captain Holt.  Honestly I can see why Amy's so desperate to be his friend.  He's a badass, no-nonsense chief who's used to having to cut through the bullshit.  It's refreshing to see a gay, happily married person of colour in a position of power in a mainstream tv show.  I think what I love most about him though is his deadpan sense of humour.  He rarely cracks a smile, but he has a very wry sense of humour with perfect delivery that appeals to me so much (the main reason I was also so very fond of Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  It's also nice to see that he's willing to sink some levels though, engaging in bets and competitions with Jake and the team, and his feud with Wuntch.

Rosa Diaz

Another badass, no nonsense character.  Amy maybe most like who I am, but Rosa is pretty much like who I wish I was!  She takes no punches, is super competent and doesn't give a crap about what anyone else thinks.  She is intimidating and prone to lash out if anything gets in her way, but underneath it all she's fiercely loyal and compassionate and has everyone's backs.  While being somewhat of an enigma to all the others when it comes to her private life, she has great friendships with pretty much everyone on the show, except maybe of course for Scully and Hitchcock.  Her character is somewhat paradoxical being super chill but still having a firey temper but like most of the others, she is full of surprises.


I'm not putting Hitchcock on this list.  Fact of the matter is I hate Hitchcock and can find no redeeming qualities.  He is selfish, scheming and ill-willed.  Scully on the other hand, while not being the sharpest tack in the draw, has his endearing moments: Singing for Holt and Kevin for their special dinner organised by Jake and the team, telling the others about his adventures with Kelly... who I'm still not sure if she's his dog or his wife..., and cheering for Santiago when she delivered her union rep speech even though he was competing against her.

Terry Jeffords

I've loved Terry Crews ever since I was sent a link to this youtube video by a friend of mine (yes I'm aware it's a scene from White Chicks, but I have no intention of ever watching that movie).  His character in Brooklyn Nine Nine is amazing though.  He subverts so many stereotypes of the buff black man in so many tv shows.  He's vulnerable, caring, and is like a proud father to both his team and his literal children.  He dotes on his wife and kids and has no qualms about breaking gender stereotypes.  His super strength makes him seem intimidating and fearless, but he has plenty of fears both rational and irrational making him just as human as the rest of us.  It's also entertaining to find him intimidated by his brother-in-law who teases him for being tiny!  To be honest, I can't find anything not to love about Sergeant Terry.  He's a sweetheart and I want one of my own!

I think my favourite part about this show is how unproblematic it is.  It has its flaws of course, nothing is perfect.  But as far as primetime sitcoms go, I find myself cringeing far less watching this show than the vast majority out there.  It's not so easy for me to switch the feminist, critical analysis, sociology nerd part of my brain off anymore so it's nice to be able to find a show I can relax and watch and not have to deal with any cognitive dissonance between my values and my entertainment.  It's also refreshing to find a show with a diverse cast, that just gets it, that has feminist values, etc. and makes it look as easy as it should be!  It demonstrates that there really is no excuses anymore for other shows to rely on white-bread casts with racist, ableist, and sexist humour to be successful.

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