Why You Should Watch ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

Why You Should Watch 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'

It has everything everyone wants in a show… so get on this

We're blowing this, America.

Fox's “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is exactly the kind of show everyone says they want. It's smart — smart enough for the most discriminating comedy nerds — but also inclusive in every way. It has a diverse cast, celebrates blue-collar workers, and has a sweet, goofy sensibility. It also has Andy Samberg, who was in all those digital shorts you spent the last decade forwarding. He can be hammy, but his “Brooklyn” castmates call him out on it, mercilessly.

Also read: Ratings: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ ‘New Girl’ Tie Demo Lows After Super Bowl Exposure

So why are the ratings so barely OK? It averages a 1.6 in the key 18-49 demographic, and 3.8 million total viewers.

If you like awards, “Brooklyn” has awards. Samberg was a surprising but deserving Golden Globe winner, and so was his show. Fox has responded by ordering the show for a whole season. It's giving audiences time to find it.

But we haven't yet. The episode that aired with “New Girl” after the Super Bowl got predictably great ratings. But when the show went back to its Tuesday time slot, even after all those new viewers got to check it out, it got no bump at all. It didn't get a jolt from those Golden Globes, either.

Also read: Fox's ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Picked Up for Full Season

Seriously: You guys.

Is it too insidery? Too smart? Does it come off as smug?


NBC's “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation” have been accused of being a little too cerebral. I don't agree, but I understand. Some people don't like anything vaguely political mixed with their comedy. And some don't like deliberately obscure references. OK, fair.

Also read: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Review: Making Fun of Cop Shows, and Itself

But “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” isn't like those shows. It isn't political, unless inclusiveness is political. And as conservatives loudly reminded us during the recent MSNBC Cheerios scandal, they heartily reject the idea that only Democrats can be diverse.

Besides Samberg, a hip-hop obsessed Jewish guy from Berkeley, the cast includes two funny Latinas, a gigantic ex-NFL star, and Andre Braugher as an deadpan police captain who happens to be gay. I'm leaving some great people out. But my point is there's someone here you can relate to, whoever you are.

Also read: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine': Andy Samberg Hates Thanksgiving, Loves Aviators (Exclusive Video)

“Brooklyn” comes from “Parks & Rec” vets Dan Goor and Michael Schur, who borrowed some of that show's ensemble feel and silliness. “Parks” and “30 Rock” both sometimes get dismissed as comedy for eggheads because they don't lean on dick jokes the way “2 Broke Girls” does.

But “Brooklyn,” like “30 Rock” and “Parks,” is even less elitist than “30 Rock” and “Parks” — which aren't elitist to begin with. All three embrace a smart-stupid style of comedy in which characters may reference highbrow things, but do very stupid ones.

They aren't snobbish. They're anti-snob.

Also read: Andy Samberg Explains Yom Kippur to Jimmy Kimmel: ‘It's Like the Opposite of a Party’ (Video)

The characters’ mistakes are all the funnier because they have no excuses for making them. It's a democratic kind of comedy where a cocky detective, or politician, or network president is more likely to be taken down a peg than, say, a hardworking immigrant working in a diner.

Have I mentioned I'm not that into “2 Broke Girls?” I'm comparing the two shows partly because they're both set in Brooklyn, but also because they cover similar subjects — culture clashes, working-class jobs — in totally different ways.

Where “Broke Girls” goes for the quick and dirty joke, “Brooklyn” tries harder. It does have-it-both-ways comedy better than almost any other show.

Also read: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Review: Making Fun of Cop Shows, and Itself

It does something funny, then calls itself out on how it could have done it better. If the writers shoehorn some convenient piece of information into the dialogue, you can bet someone will point out that it was too convenient.

That approach has won it the respect of comedy nerds, many of whom also revere “30 Rock” and “Parks.” The show flat-out writes good jokes. None of its other attributes would matter if it weren't really funny.

“Daily Show” J.R. Havlan and two of his colleagues reviewed every fall comedy pilot for Havlan's ”Writer's Bloc” podcast in the fall. “Daily Show” writers are pretty discriminating right? The three agreed “Brooklyn” was the fall's best comedy, and had the fall's best joke.

Also read: Andy Samberg's Lonely Island Inks Multi-Year Deal With Fox

But they all disagreed on which joke it was. It had that many good jokes.

“Brooklyn” has had the disadvantage this season of a lead-in from “Dads,” which gets lower ratings than it does. But it deserves more of an audience. And you deserve a funny show.

  • Katie

    Great article for a great show. More people need to be watching this!

    • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

      scrubs with guns and badges ?
      fu** that

  • lizriz

    I crazylove “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”! It's hilarious, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters.

  • rose528

    it's on fox

  • John K

    Not funny, kind of stupid. Too smart? WTF are you kidding me? When this won awards at GGlobes I thought it was a last ditch effort from industry insiders making back room deals to save it. Nothing worst than “not funny and stupid.”

  • ahrmann

    Because it's not funny?

    • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

      hear hear

  • Danny Kastner

    I believe I'll start watching now. Thanks for the tip.

  • cheryl dawson

    funny, entertaining and thought provoking. keep it going. enjoy the cast.

  • YOLO

    Forgot to mention Chelsea Peretti is the star of the show.

  • buster1976

    Andre Braugher shines in everything he does; I've been a huge fan since the best cop show ever: Homicide

    • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

      get on the bus
      the mist
      a prick who plays pricks

  • Lex Luthor

    This thing had some strikes against it for me — I watch almost no sitcoms. I try to avoid Fox whenever possible now that Fringe is gone. The ads for it made it look idiotic and bland. I'd always found Samberg more smug and annoying than funny in everything I'd seen him in before. When I saw it win at the Golden Globes, I thought “Wow, seriously?”
    But… accidentally catching a few minutes of it proved me completely wrong. It's actually a hilarious and charming show, well-written and with a great cast of nearly perfect assorted characters. Addictively watchable, it's the only Fox show and only sitcom with a permanent entry on my DVR schedule.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

      his GG speech was excruciating

  • David Perkins

    It's occasionally funny, but not outstanding. My chief problem is that most of the characters are thinly drawn. It's a good cast, but there's not much there in terms of character development. In a TV comedy (or drama), the audience needs to care about the characters, or it's doomed. With the exception of Andre Braugher's Captain Holt, the one-dimensional characters rely largely on back-and-forth insults toward one another. There's no room for affinity beyond the banter. Without some depth, it's difficult to care about them. Yes, it can be funny. But is that enough? Apparently not, given the poor ratings.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

      SCRUBS + guns + badges = BROOKLYN NINE NINE

  • Barbara

    Get rid of Samberg and the show will actually be watchable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gerard.kennelly Gerard Kennelly

      he is painfully unfunny
      if Hollywood was controlled by catholics
      the GG award would have gone to someone else
      and that child molester woody allen would be in jail by now

  • ajlen

    I do enjoy B99, but some of the characters are so unbelievably ridiculous, it makes it difficult to fully commit to this show. It's not just one bumbling goofball, it's almost the entire squad.

  • hupto

    This is just a smaller piece of the overall pie: Critics love those smug single-cams and hate the joke-oriented multi-cams (2 BROKE GIRLS, DADS, LAST MAN STANDING, SEAN SAVES THE WORLD, all of Chuck Lorre's shows except BIG BANG). Once you realize this, it all makes sense.

    And Samberg was only put on this earth to make Sandler seem funny by comparison.

    • ASFan

      Samberg is funnier than what Sandler has become these days. Sandler's delivery of jokes is lazy and he constantly ruins them by laughing at his own lame jokes.

  • the Guy Who

    Sorry folks, as much as (they) have tried to promote him, Andy Samberg just doesn't have what it takes to pull a big audience. Nobody's found it yet you say? Oh they've found it, and once again the public has said….ah….so so. So NO, Don't count on things geting any better. I wish the powers that be look beyond the SNL crowd to draw out real comedic talent. By the way, can they look beyond NYC and Brooklyn as well ?

  • Evelyn

    Still not sold on the show. I generally do not like sitcoms (I will find some occasionally funny, but I won't go out of my way to watch any of them), and I've never understood this need to “relate to” a character in order to watch a show. I don't need to relate to anyone, I just have to find it funny. The ads I had to watch for hours while traveleing this summer drove me crazy, and Samberg's smug attitude made me want to punch him in the face. I also don't think people are avoiding it because it's too smart, but I couldn't even begin to suggest why it isn't being watched because I'm clearly not the audience for it. I just don't find any sitcom compelling enough to watch on a regular basis.

  • ASFan

    Part of the problem about its post Super Bowl rating was the time switch. If the new episode had aired at 8:30 instead of 9:30, we might have seen different results. Another problem is the competition.

  • Backdrifter

    Saw it today and hated it, every single second. One of those shows that is trying to the point of utter desperation to be whacky, and use speed to appear ‘smart'. It even had little whooshing noises at scene changes, a la Malcolm in the Middle, another piece of look-we're-so-zany tedium I couldn't stand.

  • jt1120

    No offense to the author, but the show is not the least bit funny. None of the promos ever have anything worth cracking a smile about, and the show itself is just dumb.

  • AllyRD

    I wanted to love this show because I love Parks and Recreation and in some ways it is very similar but there are several things missing for me. I don't like the characters. I love Samberg as a comedienne but his character is annoying. Then there is Gina (I assume she is April from Parks), who comes off as immature and tacky. Her character can still have the witty, tongue in cheek, caustic personality of April's character and still act her age. I absolutely LOVE the diverse cast but the characters aren't likeable enough for me. Sometimes things are just a hit or miss. Who really would have though Big Bang would have been the hit that it is?

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