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“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Pilot Review

brooklyn nine nine

Written by: Hayley I.

The bumbling quipsters of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are here, ready to infuse your procedural experience with a healthy dose of goofy charm. Tuesday night’s premiere of the much-anticipated cop comedy was sort of a silly, likable mess, but if you can forgive awkward pilot jitters, we may be on to something really amazing here.

Andy Samberg of Saturday Night Live and Lonely Island fame headlines an oddball cast of characters at Brooklyn’s Nine-Nine precinct. His Jake Peralta is the precinct’s best detective, even though he doesn’t respect authority, the law, or his fellow cops. He’s joined by Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz, and Chelsea Peretti — all funny in their own uniquely quirky ways. Super serious Andre Braugher joins the team as Captain Ray Holt, an old school guy who doesn’t have time for Peralta’s shenanigans.

Keep in mind that this is a half-hour comedy “procedural”, so in between the constant stream of jokes and infuriating commercial jokes is a plot, too. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s pilot largely deals with the precinct getting used to new boss Holt and a never-very-important murder case involving a very expensive ham. It’s all well and good, especially if you take time to find the fun in the character interactions versus the actual story development.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine shines the most when taken as the extended sketch that it is at heart. Ever wished your favorite SNL routine would just… go on forever? Well, here’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine!

The jokes run fast and loose here, and everyone — seriously, everyone — is a comedian, from the usually gruff Braugher to Fred Armisen, who makes a surprise appearance as a cold call resident. Of course, it’s Samberg who’s in his natural element here, and his effervescent silliness is the binding force for this motley crew.

To truly find its footing, Samberg’s crew needs to discover the heart of its cheeky comedy. As an audience, it’s hard to really care about one clumsy detective’s cliche crush, Peralta’s competition with his partner, or cases that are (rightfully) treated as sketch backdrops. Moments of actual poignancy come off as a little stilted when buried by a sea of jokes, but hopefully the show can find its balance in a few more episodes. It’s brought to us by some of the brilliant minds of Parks and Recreation, after all.

Tune in to Brooklyn Nine-Nine Tuesdays on FOX at 8:30 PM.