Recap: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “Pilot”

brooklyn-nine-nine-foxWell, it’s officially the fall, as far as TV’s concerned, and with that new TV pilots wither from the dying branches of studios all throughout California and blanket the ground in rich, new foliage. And, hey, some of them aren’t just child cooking contests! 

One such show is Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the latest offering from SNL-alum and Lonely Islander Andy Samberg, Office writer Michael Schur, and Daniel Goor. Riffing on detective procedurals, though without the droll whispers of Law & Order or CSIBrooklyn Nine-Nine uses the cliches, but doesn’t simply parody them. There’s a lot less self awareness on display here, and in that’s definitely a good thing.

The plot of the pilot uses an old story arc to provide a solid introduction to the department. Samberg plays Detective Jake Peralat, a wise-cracking and immature officer who knows the book backwards and forwards, he just doesn’t play by it. So when a commanding officer hits the scene and demands that he falls in line, the two meet in a stalemate. Captain Ray Holt takes Peralta off the case to teach him a lesson, and Peralta solves the case from a different angle, impressing both Holt and himself. Aw.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine mostly relies on the cast’s killer comedic chops to carry a pretty weak script. Joe Lo Truglio, Chelsea Peretti, and Samberg nail every one liner, complementing the dialog with some hilarious physical comedy. Lo Truglio, specifically, has a muffin gag unlike any other. They riff off each other in a way that feels familiar and natural. Assuming the show continues in this way, this chemistry will take the show far.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine falls shorts when it needs to satisfy the rules of a pilot. Characterization and introductions are tricky beasts, but having Terry Crews list off each character and their defining attribute is among the laziest of tactics. Schur and Goor want us to get to know the detectives, but don’t come up with a creative way of doing so.

Still the show makes with the funny when it needs to, which is basically all the time. The plot remains light, allotting Samberg enough room to let his enormous personality explode. Brooklyn Nine-Nine refuses to take itself seriously. Let’s hope Peralta never learns to grow up so it can stay that way.

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