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Tube Talk: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: S3 – EP 16-18

So hey there and yeah I took another break and I do apologize, but the last couple of weeks have been hindered due to family life and such. Trust me I’m gonna try to get better at consistency on here. So Brooklyn Nine-Nine reviews are back! Then off a week due to network scheduling. Hey let’s get to talking shall we?

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House Mouses: GRADE: B+

Now supporting characters and seemingly background characters in fiction, particularly long narrative fiction, to get a spotlight. Comics have issues that are focused on either a sidekick or villain of a superhero or just someone not used to getting the spotlight and TV shows have those episodes. My prime example being Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Zeppo from season 3. The episode is told from viewpoint and centers on Xander Harris, perennial supporting character and friend of Buffy Summers who has his own kind of adventure while Buffy and the rest of the Scooby Gang deal with another oncoming apocalypse. That’s what came to mind in House Mouses as Hitchcock and Scully are finally given their due with a episode focused on them and it helps to elevate the episode.

They are both the Garry Gergich of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and well that’s good. Honestly I never really suspected much of these characters, but I enjoy whenever they popped up much like Gerry and yet Gerry got even better when fleshing him out and he even got highlight episodes, but with Hitchcock and Scully I’m okay with who they are and where they are within the precinct, though more spotlights on them will of course be welcome. Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller are great as Hitchcock and Scully. They really dive into their roles and have a great banter together. I do love them as side players and this episode reminded me why.

Of course they get thrusted into the spotlight with Jake being a bit of a selfish tool by passing his drug case on to them so he could possibly work on a celebrity case, but that is more from Jake’s excitement and wanting more glamorous cases, so I can let it slide for feeling true to a characteristic of him. Hitchcock and Scully’s blatant laziness, love of food over police work, and incompetence is on full hilarious display, especially in how they plan to infiltrate the drug ring that most certainly puts their lives in danger. They use their spotlight time well and when Jake and Terry have to get involved it only gets better, especially in how they escape and make the arrest, I was laughing for a good five minutes. We even find out Hitchcock has a wife and made a blood pact with Scully for Scully to marry Hitchcock’s wife if he should ever die.

As for subplots the ones for this episode are really good. My favorite being the gal palling of Amy, Gina, and Rosa who all decide to come together to conquer their respective fears. Not new, but how they each go about it yield great results. Amy’s claustrophobia being conquered via squad car trunk and Gina’s fear of business people by interacting among them, in a wig of course because you think she’d do anything to her luxurious locks? Rosa being the catalyst and cause of this with her fear of needles, I feel you, is the funniest with her huge freakout and psyching herself up before she gets poked to donate blood. That too had me laughing for five straight minutes because it was just too goddamn funny. Seriously I challenge you to watch that scene and not pause it due to the loud laughter you will project from yourself.

Holt and Boyle’s subplot is fine, but certainly the weakest of the episode, but worth it a bit to see Holt become a fanboy over the celebrity, who is a classical musician that does lead to a funny resolution. Holt is a great character to play around with given the range of Andre Braugher and how you can use said situations to look further into him. Plus its a Holt and Boyle situation where Boyle is seen as a lesser person to Holt, even when demoting him from lead detective on the case, that’s just Holt fanboying.

House Mouses is a nice little spotlight for two of the show’s more sideline characters and also being just a damn fine episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine itself.

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Adrian Pimento: GRADE: A-

Now this show has gone into the more realistic and darker sides of police procedure to show it isn’t exactly a great system, much like the justice system itself. While I enjoy the weird and absurd world this show resides in, its always welcome to see glimpses of the real world seep in and boy did this episode just do that.

Jason Mantzoukas comes in to guest star as Adrian Pimento, an officer of the 9-9 who is bak from deep undercover, but clearly effected by it. Mantzoukas is a great talent and I was delighted and terrified to see him here. This is no doubt the darkest this show has even gotten in both drama and comedy. Pimento is admittedly having a hard time fitting back in, especially in regaling everyone with his best tales from undercover which are brutally violent. I never really expected to see a blood soaked face on Brooklyn Nine-Nine but then again I never excepted Shane McMahon recently returning on WWE Raw recently so I guess the world is full of surprises. Mantzoukas becomes more and more slowly unhinged in how his PTSD is showing and Jake is taken in by his new cop crush, yet becomes understandably worried and thinks he can help given his own experience being undercover between season 1 and 2.

One major difference, Pimento had to go deep cover over the course of 12 years, Jake was gone all of 63 days, a fact that he made into his voicemail message. Everyone in the 9-9 realtively knew Jake was undercover and I’m sure some people knew of Pimento’s situation but he gets real with Jake about what he had to do and it very much isn’t pretty from removing all family ties, compromising positions he found himself in, and knowing it was his duty as an officer of the law to do the job no matter what. Mantzoukas gets to really stretch his acting muscles here and its so welcome. I love his comedic work and especially his podcasts, but getting to see him do more than comedically crazy shit its a breath of fresh air. He works so well within the show and bounces so well off of Andy Samberg.

Again this is the darkest the show has ever gotten and while going dark is never meaning great, the show handled it with grace and made the feel and tone of this episode believable with its balance of character driven comedy and plots. Also the lighting and tone have me more than ready for a noir style episode of this show. Come on, its ripe for it! MAKE IT HAPPEN SHOWRUNNERS!

Now the subplot of Charles making a mess of the break room is great for bringing in another guest star, Kate Flannery from The Office as Mean Marge, the not so loved custodian head who feels shortchanged because of being Mean Marge. Its the wanting respect from those that don’t seem to give it plot and its done well here thanks to the performances. Flannery again highlights how well guest stars are used on this show. The highlight of this plot not just being the cause and effect comedy that makes the messes, but the dirt she has one Boyle, Amy, and Terry from their trash. Amy of course being scared that Marge has a mistyped memo of hers. Its delightful and her mean streak makes for good comedy and even intersects into the Rosa/Holt/Gina subplot of Gina filming a video of Holt and Rosa touring the station in order to receive some much needed upgrades to station and its beautiful.

Gina getting her full Hollywood director on and trying to ring any other emotion from Holt and Rosa would feel like a one-note joke, but its slightly more than that. Its not great, but it does deliver laughs from Gina’s recasting of Holt and Rosa and well just Gina being Gina. That’s magical.

The show balances light and dark for a successful result that leads to one of the season’s best and its a nicely welcome change of pace in tone from the show.

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Cheddar: GRADE: B

Now for the majority of it, Cheddar is a fairly standard episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine with some classic sitcom trappings and that’s fine, sometimes you just wanted an episode to feature adorable dogs and weird sexual tension, but the end of it does make for one of the more poignant and really touching scenes of the show revolving around Captain Holt and his marital problems with Kevin.

Holt is the catalyst of this episode as his dogsitter is sick and unable to take care of his corgi, Cheddar, which prompts Jake and Amy to housesit, while having to care for a blind Boyle who is recovering from LASIK surgery. Mean while Pimento is still around and he and Rosa of course being the most unstable and emotionally unchecked people in the 9-9, are attracted to each other. This was even setup the week before with Rosa admitting that his darkness would make her wanna jump his bones. Its all fine and everything does garner a laugh, Gina especially in how she has to help stall Holt from coming home.

Housesitting and everything going to shit is a sitcom stable and one that immediately made me think back to one of its finer examples from Cheers in the (much better) Rebecca years. Sure Boyle’s pants catching fire is funny, but not that much. Again nothing wrong with just a pretty standard episode but it just feels bleh to me. Again laughs are had, but nothing on par with the previous two entires.

Now I’m really happy that Jason Mantzoukas is still around and presumedly a recurring character now. Pimento and Rosa’s sexual tension is the funniest part of the episode as their weird, awkward, and unsettling tension makes great use of both actors and gets a small, but great use out of Terry Crews.

Now the real highlight, aside from cutaways to Cheddar because corgis are adorable as fuck, is the resolution that lets the show let out its emotional side. Holt’s reveal that Kevin’s time in Paris is putting a strain on their relationship is nicely done, down to Earth, and I think something almost everyone can relate to. They seem to be fighting when they talk lately and Holt looked for any way to get out of going to Paris to avoid that being done in person. While Holt’s way of running the ship may make him seem like a robot, the man is very much human and Andre Braugher plays that well. Sure it seems obvious as its slowly been building with most of Holt’s plots this season, but its still done very well. Execution is key, people.

Now Boyle, damn is he misused. Again the table gag, only laugh to be gotten from him. Boyle s badly used here and I’m over sad Boyle really, unless well executed, but Boyle has overcome his own insecurities and this feels like a bit of a step back for the character. I’m not a fan.

Cheddar is a nice little lazy Sunday episode that can be enjoyed for what it is. Solid laughs and good drama are to be had from this. I will say though the scene of everyone dressing in Holt’s clothes and walking out the house in slow motion is very much worth this entire episode.

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