Jess Scully

Saving Brooklyn Nine-Nine was much more than a pithy internet crusade

The internet claimed a rare victory in re-instating Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Why it might be derided as a petty matter, there’s a case to be made that it is anything but.

 

 

Over the weekend we got to see what the power of the people could achieve, in probably what seems like a trivial matter, reversing the canning of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’m going to tell you why it’s not.

*cue badadadadahhhh badadadadahhhhh theme music*

In case you missed it: on Friday the networks in the US announced which shows they’ll be dropping from their lineup. I woke up, read the news, and a little part of me died inside.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one. Cast members tweeted their sadness, and in their tweets, there was a call to action that we, the honorary Nine-Nine, took as our duty to #RenewB99.

In the space of 24 hours, we’d gone from sadness at the initial announcement, to desperate hope. Both Netflix and Hulu had passed on the Nine Nine until midway through yesterday when news broke that NBC had saved the day. Brooklyn Nine-Nine was saved and so were we.

It seems ridiculous that such a racket has been made over a sitcom, and it’s also fair to say that it’s pretty superficial to treat getting a show renewed for a solitary season as a serious victory, but it is a substantial accomplishment. I know, there are so many issues in this world that remain completely unresolved, getting a show back on the air is just some liberal millennial crusade that hasn’t actually achieved anything, and you may be right; but Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a bandaid that fits snugly over the greater wound.

 

 

You see, Brooklyn Nine-Nine breaks away from what we’re used to seeing in a sitcom.

Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) is incomparable. He is a gay black officer who rose through the ranks to finally get to be the captain of the Nine-Nine. Not once does this show let the fact that he is black, or gay, become a punchline. His and his husband Kevin’s relationship is never made out to be a novelty and is presented as a healthy and caring relationship and it’s so damn refreshing to see.

Then we have Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), the doting father of three girls who loves nibs, yoghurt and taking bubble baths while watching sports bloopers. Played by Terry Crews, the man who has been synonymous with masculinity for over a decade, Terry manages to be a kind-hearted, sweet individual with body confidence issues. Terry calls people out for objectifying him with their male gaze and saying inappropriate comments about his body in the workplace, which is a poignant trait for him to have, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the stigma around men coming forward about inappropriate conduct. Terry is buff, but he’s not a meathead; he knows how to treat people and knows how to be treated.

Male relationships in the show are also presented in a different way. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) are the best of pals; they listen to Toni Braxton and Enya and spoon each other for warmth if they’re stranded in a hole (not a pit) in the middle of the woods. Charles thinks that Jake is the best detective in the world and even has convinced his own father that Jake is the best detective in the world. Jake goes above and beyond for almost every relationship that Charles has been in to try and make sure that Boyle doesn’t get his heart broken.

 

 

Then we have the ladies: Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) is one of the most competitive, overachieving teacher’s pets television has ever seen. There’s Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) the badass former ballet dancer with a motorcycle and a soft spot for romantic Nancy Meyers movies.

My point: the characters don’t fall on the lazy crutch of stereotyping. Added to which is how the show handles critical issues in the world, such as like race.

One the show they tackle police racial profiling better than I’ve ever seen; in an episode where Terry Jeffords (Crews) is looking for his daughter’s Moo Moo, a blanket she needs to have in order to sleep, he is arrested for being in the wrong neighbourhood – his neighbourhood. You see the issue from so many perspectives: obviously Terry’s, but also Captain Holt’s, who is trying to protect Terry from being disadvantaged later in his career like Holt was for making complaints. You also see it from Terry’s kids’ perspective, who are understanding for the first time in their lives the complexities of discrimination. It’s an episode with such depth and heart that many other comedy shows just can’t replicate.

 

 

Maybe I’m a little too invested in a show that’s just supposed to be light entertainment, but before I met the Nine-Nine, I didn’t realise comedy could be this layered. Keeping Brooklyn Nine-Nine on the air is not going to fix all the issues in the world, but it makes dealing them a little easier.

This weekend, we complained, NBC bought, we conquered, and we saved the Nine-Nine.

Pretty toit.

 

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