Sarah Ruemenapp ‘19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Copyedited by: Brooke Hoppe
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is at its strongest when it plays with the conventions of workplace sitcoms and police procedurals. It is fully aware of genre tropes and how to buy into them just enough to engage viewers’ predictions about where things are going to go, and then changes directions entirely, usually in the wackiest way possible. This aspect of the show is particularly strong in this seasons’ treatment of Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy’s (Melissa Fumero) relationship. This week’s episode ‘The Funeral,’ much like the season premiere, hints at the typical dynamics of workplace comedy relationships– the ‘will they, won’t they,’ the idea of keeping the relationship a secret from the office– and then quickly abandons them for something a little more original. This week’s episode is certainly original enough, taking place against the backdrop of the funeral of Officer Dozerman (Bill Hader), the precinct’s dreadful captain of one day. The episode only strengthens the strange humor of this premise by largely disregarding the funeral setting, focusing instead on more character-driven humor.
The precinct’s new captain, The Vulture (Dean Winters), is a driving force behind this character- driven humor. In past episodes, The Vulture has been a recurring character, an officer from another precinct, who has earned his title because of his infamous tendency to “swoop in” and collect credit for the Nine-Nine’s work. After, in an especially humorous bit, Jake tries to befriend the Vulture, “bro-zieng up” to him in an attempt to get him to lay off the squad, The Vulture instead forbids Jake to continue dating Amy, or risk demotion. Setting up a conflict typical of workplace sitcoms, ‘The Funeral’ sees Jake and Amy weighing their brand-new relationship against their precious careers. In a subversive fashion typical of Brooklyn Nine- Nine, Jake actually resolves this conflict, making a choice by the end of the episode. However, these characters are so career-driven that their struggle to balance work and love will likely be a recurring theme. For now though, Jake and Amy’s relationship is promising and still very funny, as is the premise of the Vulture as captain.
Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), who has not had much to do in recent episodes, gets the B-plot this week. In an uncharacteristically detached, yet characteristically disgusting manner, he reveals that he has a regular funeral hookup and is looking forward to going all the way with her after Dozerman’s services. Archie Panjabi is delightful as Lieutenant Singh, Boyle’s uninhibited, —and, spoiler alert, vegan— connection, as are Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) and Gina (Chelsea Peretti) as his advisors, who remind him of his true, perpetually infatuated, nature. This plot hints that future episodes will expand on Boyle and Rosa as a romantic pairing. This idea still seems a little unrealistic to viewers, as Boyle’s romantic infatuation with Rosa has so often felt creepy and stale, that the show will need to make some major changes for this match to feel fresh and mutual.
‘The Funeral’s’ strongest plot surrounds Holt (Andre Braugher) and Terry (Terry Crews), who spend time in the bar, catching up and complaining. Their grievances are certainly understandable. Since Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick) has moved Holt to PR, which he hates, he has begun to fear that his beloved precinct is moving on without him. To make matters worse, Terry’s favorite mango yogurt has just been discontinued. Their eulogies towards the end of the episode are a really funny touch, and align with the rest of the Nine-Nine’s choices to make this funeral entirely about themselves. Holt, in particular, gets a lot of very touching moments this episode. Though last week’s episode gave him a lot to do comedically, it also stripped him of a lot of his dignity. This episode gave a little of that lost dignity back, giving Holt the chance to express his love for the Nine-Nine and, in Amy’s words, “approve” of her and Jake’s relationship. Even though it is fun to watch Holt trade verbal barbs with Wuntch, it’s more rewarding to see him take his place— even for a short while— as a competent and caring leader at his precinct. He and Gina are both key ingredients in the dynamics of the group, and this episode found a neat way to work them back in with everyone. As a whole, the past two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine have been inventive and fun, setting viewers up for a promising new season.