"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" Season Eight Talkback (Spoilers)

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Matt Zimmer
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Brooklyn Nine-Nine "The Good Ones"

I was very curious what this show would do upon its return, and it didn't disappoint. I think the show might have gotten some criticism for making the police the good guys all the time. I know Law & Order has gotten those complaints, and has also adjusted for them. But as a comedy perhaps this show would not have the license to explore the controversies involved with the police and Black Lives Matter. But no, it effects the characters, and some of them, like Holt, have been put through the wringer. And I love to learn how difficult it's been for Holt because he's the one guy acting normal. And it especially effects him too.

For the record, Andre Braugher's performance here is pretty amazing. He should probably put it on his Emmy Reel (even though he's already earned one for Homicide).

My biggest complaint about the episode is Charles, and to be honest, this is always how they were gonna do Charles in this scenario, so I can't get too mad. The thing is, politics being what they are, when Boyle goes overboard with this specific thing, it makes me cringe instead of laugh. He stops being Boyle and turns into Brian Griffin. At least unlike Brian, he's willing to listen and change his approach. Whether he's sincere or if this "over-wokeness" is now a part of the character going forward, is something I guess we'll have to wait and see about.

I love that Rosa quit. I love that she's pissed at Jake. And I love that Jake is exactly as tone-deaf as she thinks he is. As far as allies and The Good Ones go, both he and the other Captain utterly suck. But really, the idea that George Floyd made her give up her entire career is something that's great.

Also good to see John McGinley getting work. Scrubs ultimately turned into a failure, but he was always the highlight. The thing that McGinley does so well (that also translated here) is portraying absolutely jerkish characters as so funny you love them anyways. Of course me loving this specific cop union lawyer was always a tougher ask than the well-meaning Dr. Cox, but damned if he still didn't do it.

I mentioned before that this show has gotten criticism for always portraying the 99 cops as clean and good guys. I don't agree with those complaints, especially if the show is exploring dirty cops and police misconduct elsewhere. I believe showing good policework and the police being a help to the community is important to show people how it SHOULD work. Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn't claiming its benevolent detectives are common. But it's saying they should be, and showing how it SHOULD work. And the episode explored George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, and even Covid. And it's comedy. Law & Order SVU has taken a shockingly leftwing turn since Trump came to office, and the George Floyd crisis has basically turned every single episode from last season into a critique of dirty cops. But that's easier for a drama to do. Perhaps the audience of a comedy, especially one not known for getting TOO political, would respond negatively to that. And some fans might. But Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a good show because even knowing that, they had the uncomfortable conversation anyways. It is to be determined if this is being explored in a one-off episode to ease criticisms of the show, or if like on SVU it's a big part of how the show operates going forward. We'll see.

But I like that the show explores what it means to be one of The Good Ones. And it has the guts to say that Jake is not one of them. *****.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "The Lake House"

I'm not going to do a big review for this one. All I can say is that I didn't really like it. I didn't respond to any of the plots. **1/2.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Blue Flu"

Holt saying "This is a very frustrating conversation," was like the truest thing he ever said. Him turning it around on John McGinley at the end was sublime comedy.

Honestly? I would have preferred it if it HAD been a decimal point. The idea of Jake losing $2000 over THAT is hilarious.

I love how much Hitchcock and Scully love each other.

Covid is the elephant in the room for the episode, and I'm unhappy it wasn't mentioned. Of course that would make things not funny, but I'm thinking this specific plotline probably would have done better to have happened in an earlier season.

I love that Holt is amazed and alarmed people thought he was trying to be cool with the trident thing. Is that why he's failing? Hilarious.

Regardless, the episode was great, if only for Holt's profane insult. Even if we weren't allowed to hear what it was on broadcast television. ****.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Balancing"

Yeah, I don't like the idea that Holt sent a penis pic even if he was drunk. It's out of character.

My favorite bit in the episode is in the teaser, which isn't a shocker considering how great this show's teasers are. But I loved it especially when Terry tells Jake that maybe he doesn't have an arch-nemesis because he solves all his cases. Jake sits in stunned silence from a few long seconds, and gives him the dirtiest of looks, and says "That's a really effed up thing to say to me." He can't even joke about it, he's so mad. I loved it.

But I was not cool with the Holt stuff at all. ***.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "PB & J"

It's the last season and that's clearly the last Doug Judy episode. And it kind of broke my heart. I am not happy leaving things there. Unfortunately, it is very much a final season move for any decent series. It's actual wrap-up and closure. It's just that Judy and Jake are something I never wanted to end. I wish things hadn't been so definite.

That blurred unneutered dog was funny though. ***.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "The Set-Up"

O'Sullivan's role was too big. He's funny in small doses, loathsome when they center the episode around him.

I loved' Holt's speech at the end, and I am beyond disappointed in Jake. Him "taking it as a win" is the wrong message, until Holt is annoyed enough to point out that he hopes next time a man won't have to lose his job so he'll learn his lesson.

I also found the candy stuff between Terry and Charles super mean. I did not dig that at all.

Rosa and Amy getting drunk was funny, especially Amy's British accent.

Holt is amazing when he's huffy, but cops still suck. ***1/2.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Game Of Boyles"

That family is so messed up. They're happy, so they must be doing something right, but I find the Boyles creepy.

Oh my God! That kiss at the end between Kevin and Holt was amazing! (In the rain too!) Such a brave and wonderful moment for the show and television in general!

I love that Rosa loves Nancy Meyers. It's funny because it's so off-brand.

Good episode. ****.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "Renewal"

It's always funny on the rare occasions Holt acts like a hetero playa. Andre Braugher always nails it, and it always gives me the giggles too.

I like that Kevin is fully on-board now. That means the reconciliation is genuine. Good.

Terry carrying Amy straight as a board was funny, as was his two-level lecture to Amy and O'Sullivan at the same time.

Cheddar is freaky. Definitely got the best of Rosa there.

Also a good episode. ****.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine "The Last Day"

Good ending. Because it's not one. The Halloween Heist continues every year. With everybody. Hitchcock winning felt SO wrong to me, and consolation is that the Heists never end, and there is a reunion every year. I accept that outcome, even if Hitchcock winning was otherwise obscene.

Jake's last scene with Holt gave me a lump in my throat. Holt's jokes weren't actually funny, but it was the first time he really tried making them, so they were cool.

I knew the coma had to be fake-out. Last episode or not, I wouldn't have accepted it and loathed it unreservedly. Since the show doesn't suck, Occam's Razor means it's part of the Heist. I think the specific way Amy scammed Jake using Teddy was particularly cruel and in a very unnecessary way. When Jake asks to be put back into the coma, that's the right reaction to this mess.

I hate the character of Gina, but I like her return here suggesting she'd return for the Heist every year. That felt right.

In hindsight it's ridiculous to ever believe Rosa could have really fallen for Pimento, but it was still good seeing him again. Rosa may love Nancy Meyers movies, but she wouldn't be caught dead in one.

Kool-Aid Man is not actually hard for Terry. I liked the interview being a part of the Heist. Especially after the heartfelt apology and recommendation from Holt.

To be blunt, I understand why the show ended. Aside from it lasting nine years, and having a talented cast that mostly held together through all of them, the political climate is no longer right for the show. I have noted how important it is for television to demonstrate good and fair police officers, and the show hasn't been shying away from that controversy TOO much. Still, it's no longer the right premise for a light-hearted comedy. If this had been the third season, it probably should have ended this year too. I am amazed Law & Order keeps going and remains relevant. That's a bigger ask for an Andy Samberg comedy. It's also not a fair ask. So I think it's better if we leave things here.

What I will say about the show in hindsight is that we probably won't be seeing another comedy with a police precinct premise for the foreseeable future. They were rare even when this show came along, but at this point I think they will be extinct, at least until major reforms happen to the police unions across the country. I don't see those reforms happening anytime soon, so I think we won't be seeing any cop TV comedy ever again. I'm glad the series went out funny, and was even able to acknowledge the struggles of good and bad police officers. But I think Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the last of this specific kind of TV comedy. It's probably for the best, but the truth is, the show was great and I will have nothing but fond memories. And you can't even enjoy The Naked Gun decades later because of O.J.. I think Brooklyn Nine-Nine is going to be the one and only cop comedy series I look back on fondly. It was great, and the finale was pretty great too. I'll grade it accordingly. *****.
 

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