Brooklyn Nine-Nine is receiving many opportunities to become a hit, including award recognition, critical acclaim and — maybe the most prestigious — an episode after the Super Bowl. One thing is for sure, this episode turned out to be far more entertaining than the big game. Sometimes the shows coming after the Super Bowl try to have a major plot development or cram in some shocking event to grab the eyeballs and convince viewers to return during the normal air time. In this case, Brooklyn Nine-Nine just delivered another funny episode with great performances from the talented cast.
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There’s Gotta Be Football and Celebrities
Most post-Super Bowl shows try to either reference the big game or have a few major celebrities or at least have something tied in with football. Apparently, they hope to trick sports fans into thinking the game is still going on and get them to stick around for another hour. Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows this path by having stars like former football player Joe Theismann, Adam Sandler and Patton Oswalt. Considering the show has had Oswalt on before and appearances from stars like Craig Robinson, this doesn’t feel like the usual ratings ploy.
Oswalt’s role also incorporates the football element. The police precinct plays a competitive game against the local fire department precinct, with Oswalt’s character the fire marshal. Oswalt is his usual funny self, with his character claiming he was trying to get into Detective Jake Peralta’s head when his insults and attempts at distraction are ridiculous. The two play off in such a rapid way and have a seasoned chemistry that it would be to the series’ benefit to bring back Oswalt for more than just one scene in the future.
The best part of the football game is the perfect choice of blaring “You’re the Best Around,” which is most famous from Karate Kid. You add this along with recurring appearance of William Zabka on How I Met Your Mother and sitcoms have been doing a great job of keeping that ’80s classic in our heads.
Adam Sandler and Joe Theismann end up playing themselves as participants in an antiquities auction. Sandler is a good sport by mocking his reputation for low brow humor by revealing he is more than people think and now working on a Russian history script. Of course, it will have to star Kevin James.
Theismann decides he isn’t happy with Peralta, who’s posing as an auctioneer but knew nothing about the objects, and so Theismann happily starts bidding on Sandler’s offer to stuff a sock in Peralta’s mouth.
Poor Theismann doesn’t get to do any sock stuffing and instead ends up with his second leg broken after Peralta tackles the jewel thief he’d been after all episode. The leg-breaking gag works better if you’re a football fan, and either way, it’s pretty dark humor that also displays Theismann’s willingness to play along.
Vulture Comes Swooping In
Dean Winters isn’t as big of a star and has been a guest on the show before. He is also one of the funnier characters as Peralta’s nemesis “The Vulture,” a title he earned by swooping in and stealing the cases the precinct had been hard at work trying to solve.
One of the better gags of the episode is the precinct working together to try to stop “The Vulture” from taking over a murder case, before Peralta gets the confession. Detective Boyle’s big strategy for stopping “The Vulture” is to “accidentally” spill coffee on him and then announce it was an accident. A hot beverage isn’t enough to deter the man, and even the advances from the almost always angry but attractive Detective Rosa Diaz isn’t enough to stop the man’s strides.
All the while, Detective Amy Santiago runs around the office warning that “The Vulture” has to be stopped. The punching bag of the precinct and barely a detective, Norm Scully goes to the drastic and stupid measure of letting off tear gas. The cool “Vulture” just struts through the smoke and into the room where he’s ready to snatch his latest case.
The big payoff for this elaborate and high energy gag is Peralta revealing he just got the perp to sign a confession. The now-confessed murderer high-fives and celebrates with Peralta over denying “The Vulture.” I got a great giggle out of a man being so excited about being sent off to jail and gloating to the point of revealing he also murdered the neighbor.
Andre Braugher is Serious Comic Gold
If you haven’t seen the series, then it is important to mention Andre Braugher. He plays Captain Ray Holt and is the integral piece to the comedy’s workings. Everyone else has an over-the-top goofball gimmick to make the comedy work. Holt is the straight man by being career driven and dead serious. It is his icy glares that he shoots at Peralta that often elevate the jokes to the next level.
Holt’s deadpan response that he understood the humor behind Peralta playing “I Got You Babe” for the perp he just caught is what makes a decent joke even funnier. That joke is followed by his disgust that Peralta’s breakfast burrito is gummy bears wrapped in a Fruit Roll-Up, and an offhand remark that he feels sorry for Peralta’s dentist.
The Battle Plan for Efficiency
Braugher gets to play a bit of goofy comedy this week, too. He teams up with Sergeant Terrence Jeffords to find ways to optimize efficiency in the work force. This means things like emptying the Lost & Found so Boyle can’t wear another awful sweater that would occupy all of Gina’s time with her need to mock him.
Boyle also gets distracted needing to show someone how to properly make a sandwich the moment one would just try to toast their bread rather than make something gourmet, so the toaster gets moved out of his line of sight. The high-tempered Santiago then is transferred to a new spot in the office because it is surmised her being near the bathrooms will cut down on breaks.
It’s fun watching the glee of Holt as his manipulations are working, but Jeffords constantly warns him of the legend of Icarus. Holt counters by referencing Moneyball and how statistics are a marvelous thing.
Icarus beats Moneyball, as ambition leads to a revolt from the staff. It also leads to Boyle’s jacket being on fire, but that’s for the better. Holt is usually the voice of reason and the person who gets everyone on track. It’s fun watching his own plan blow up in his face for a change. It also meant he gets a bigger story arc, and it’s great seeing him get screen time with the hilarious Terry Crews. Holt quickly gets his scary authority back, and even though he admits defeat, he still sends a cocky Gina scurrying from the office for sitting in his chair.
Hints of Romance
“Operation: Broken Feather” does have one sweet moment. Peralta spends most of the episode trying to convince Santiago not to apply and move to the special crimes unit. He never outright admits he likes her or that he’d miss her, but rather spends his time trying to convince her what great fun it is diving through dumpsters or dancing in strange people’s apartments.
In the end, Peralta finally confesses that she is a great detective and he’d miss solving cases with her. He still gives her his badly misspelled recommendation letter to show his support for her career. In the end, Santiago reveals she didn’t take the job, which is obvious since they aren’t ready to write her out. We get hints that a romance may be brewing, but more important, Peralta actually shows a sensitive side.
For a sampling to new viewers, this was a super strong effort. It displayed what works, which is the fun chemistry between all the characters. Hopefully, it convinces some people to follow it to Tuesday nights.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine regularly airs Tuesdays at 9:30pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)