Monday, September 28, 2015

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 3x01 "New Captain" (The TV Form of the 100 Emoji) [Contributor: Connie]

"New Captain"
Original Airdate: September 27, 2015

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of my favorite comedies on TV. Helmed by Parks and Recreation showrunner Mike Schur, the show has a similar level of upbeat, optimistic approach to the workplace, where your coworkers become your family. What has also carried over from Parks and Rec is Schur’s refusal to fall into the typical will-they, won’t-they spiral where the writers jerk our chains with our ship. Once a main couple is together on a show of his, there is typically no backwards movement. This is beautifully true of Leslie and Ben, and I believe Jake and Amy's relationship will receive similar treatment. The season three premiere sold me on this and I am so happy Mike Schur is a showrunner I can trust. When we ended last season, Jake and Amy kissed, Captain Holt was shuffled off to the PR department by his nemesis Madeleine Wunch and a new captain was entering the precinct. Let’s open this review by discussing Jake/Amy first, because how can I talk about anything else?

Jake and Amy pow-wow about two hours after they kissed “for reals reals” and decide to take their new relationship “light and breezy.” These guys. They’re so incredibly awkward. Their initial conversation seems to indicate that they won’t work out: Amy, of course, claims they need to make a “comprehensive set of rules” (“How am I even attracted to you? Doesn’t matter, I am”), while Jake is Team It’s-Totally-Not-Serious!

The rules, by the way, are:
  1. Let’s not tell anyone.
  2. Let’s not put labels on it.
  3. Let’s not have sex right away. 
In order to follow rule number one, Jake does all he can to avoid telling Boyle about his date with Amy. Our dear little basset hound sniffs out that Jake is going on a date anyway. I love Boyle. I love that the ships Peraltiago harder than anyone (“I’ve already written your best man speech!”). I love how uncomfortable he makes Jake, which makes Jake confront his feelings more often than not. That night at dinner, Jake and Amy semi-break rule number two when they admit they're "dating"! Jake and Amy head to dinner and in order to make things less awkward, they get drunk and accidentally fall into bed. Amy and Jake request four drinks each (remember: "4-drink Amy is a bit of a pervert"?).

And, to quote another fandom... “oopsie-doodles!”

The morning-after scene reminded me of when Nick and Jess got together on New Girl and how pleased they were with each other. It had the same shot with the camera looking over the bed. And Boyle can tell that Jake had a great night last night and Jake’s SUPER NOT COVERT smiles at Amy prove the same. But Boyle is upset because he believes Jake is supposed to be with Amy. Jake’s smiles made Amy giddy too, because she immediately meets him in the evidence room and suggests they make out. AMY! Perhaps the reason why she can’t date co-workers is because she gets a little too frisky? It seems unlike her, but she’s also the type to know her limits and try to restrain herself because she knows what she does when given ultimate power over her decisions. Amy is so incredibly neurotic — we see that she limits herself in her constant need for approval from authority. So what is Amy capable of without these limits?

In one of the most unexpected moves of the show, the new Captain walks in on Jake and Amy kissing and he DIES. The shock literally kills him. In the aftermath, Jake and Amy are put in the squad pressure cooker: everyone surrounding them, asking them questions, forcing them to realize that they made out in a room with surveillance cameras. Everyone finds out and it makes them both panic. Nothing good has happened since Jake and Amy attempted to start something!

And here’s where I started panicking. Jake and Amy have a discussion and decide that maybe calling it quits is for the best. “NO NO NO,” I whined (and Boyle). Their separate despair is so palpable and well played by both Andy Samberg and Melissa Fumero. I also love that Jake is so sad, but he always yields to Amy’s decisions about their relationship. He just wants to make her happy.

I should have known better than to panic, of course. Jake not only has Mike Shur behind the scenes, but he also has Boyle. He is who gives Jake a pep talk, which he thinks should include Jake running over to Amy’s house, preferably in the rain with lavender shampoo because washing a woman’s head is the most erotic thing (“no, no shampoo).”

 “You guys started this with one foot out the door. That’s what doomed you, not the universe.”

This show doesn’t dilly-dally. Any other show might spend episodes with Jake and Amy tip-toeing around each other after deciding it wasn’t going to work, then finally Boyle getting frustrated and slapping sense into Jake, but who needs all of that? These characters know who they are, but they also know each other and aren’t afraid to call each other out. This helps move stories and relationships forward, as well as build character. Just as Jake is about to head to Amy’s, he finds her on the other side of the door. And what made my heart swell and swoon? Amy’s words as she stood on Jake’s doorstep:
“I was home and I really wanted to talk to someone about us and Dozerman and about Holt being gone, then I realized that the only person I want to talk about that stuff with is you. So screw just being colleagues. And screw light and breezy. Alright?” 
What I was missing for Jake and Amy was a real conversation like this one. Despite how short it is, it was the least awkward conversation they’d had all episode and I loved it because they were finally relaxed in each other’s presence. They were just so happy and moving forward and I am just awash in feels, okay? Jake/Amy is happening! I predict an episode titled "Jake and Amy" really soon, a Parks and Rec tradition that seems to have carried over with the season two finale, titled "Johnny and Dora."

Our other two plots gripped me a little less, sadly. The characters were still great and have awesomely funny lines, with the review title coming from Gina Linetti’s truest and funniest line she’s ever spoken: “I am the human form of the 100 emoji." But the over plot left me hanging. With the new captain, despite my delight at Bill Hader’s appearance as Captain Dozerman, I wasn’t overly hysterical during his scenes. Maybe I just don’t like characters who yell a lot the way he did (I hated Donna Noble on Doctor Who when she first arrived. Then she grew on me and I came to love her more than any other companion).

I also think that if they were going to stunt cast the captain for just one episode, we would have known about it during the finale. So I’m left not really sure about how I felt about Dozerman, since he was gone so quickly. But I enjoyed Rosa’s reaction to him and the conceit of him being super into efficiency. I think I wanted more of that, without the contrasting behavior of him being shouty/actually taking up excess time with the shouting. But The Vulture is back as captain and Jake’s “Noooo!” said it all. The squad dynamics should be interesting in the episodes to come!

Holt and Gina’s move to PR left me more to be desired as well. It was partially the point — Holt can’t get anything done because he is constantly being undermined and degraded, but I didn’t quite find anything compelling about the whole pigeon back and forth. I just don’t really like the Wunch vs. Holt dynamic that much. It has resulted in some great lines on Holt’s end (“Sticks and stones, Raymond.” “Discarding your breakfast?”), but I don’t like her or a lot of the stories they end up in. I really wasn’t expecting her character to last this long, to be honest.

Overall, I still loved this episode. I am so happy about Jake/Amy, I am curious to see how they’re going to deal with The Vulture and I hope Holt and Gina can get more done in the PR department, rather than being stuck passive aggressive-ing with Wunch all the time.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:
  • “I really like you.” “I like you too.” THESE GUYS!
  • “It’s never gonna happen Boyle, because I find Amy repulsive and she finds me extremely handsome!” 
  • “I hope it wasn’t a mistake.” “I hope it wasn’t a mistake, title of your sex tape? *Gasp* Title of OUR sex tape!” 
  • “So I guess it is hoes before choes with you, friend.” Did you just call Amy a ‘ho’ Doberman? You just made me really not sorry that you’re dead. 
  • “Tell my wife that I love her… work ethic.” 
  • Boyle’s reaction when Jake tells him they were “snorking” is PRICELESS. Also, it may have been my reaction to them telling everyone. And kissing. And looking at each other with flirty eyes. 
  • “What is this? Casual? Dating? I need to know how to make fun of you.” 
  • Boyle and Rosa get to watch Jake and Amy’s make-out surveillance tapes. WHY CAN’T I ALSO WATCH THOSE? Please and thank you!
  • Can I just say that Andy Samberg has been really nailing the romantic longing thing? When Amy says maybe they shouldn’t try dating anymore, he does this little thing with his eyebrow that expresses his despair so perfectly. Then later, when Amy agrees to move forward, his little eyebrow does a little dance of relief. Kudos to Andy and his eyebrow!
  • “Light and breezy is how you describe a linen pantsuit, not a relationship you care about!”
  • “It also has Backgammon, which I could not delete, but you are not allowed to play.” 
  • Officer Pepper O'Pigeon
  • "This man is a Timberlake and you need to stop treating him like a Fatone."
  • Welcome back, squad. I think this is going to be a good year.


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