This is the only show that I always try to watch live because it’s too good to put off. It’s consistently hysterical, and everyone is fantastic in it. Seriously, there is not one weak link in the cast. But my favorite thing about it is that it tackles real world issues while still staying true to the lighthearted spirit of the show. An episode last season dealt with Terry being racially profiled by a fellow police officer, this season Rosa came out as bisexual, and just this past Sunday an episode revolved around an active shooter situation. These themes are hardly new and have been part of mainstream conversation for years now, but few shows incorporate them into their story lines. Brooklyn Nine-Nine not only does it on a regular basis, but pulls it off successfully. The show has made jokes that revolve around Rosa’s bisexuality, but they’re never at her expense, which makes all the difference.
Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta puts many other male protagonists to shame. Sometimes being the good guy means learning from the people around you, admitting that you’re wrong, and growing as a person, something his character has done from the beginning of the show. (Compare this to Ted in How I Met Your Mother or even Ross from Friends, characters who are portrayed as upstanding despite some seriously gross behavior throughout the run of their respective shows.) Jake’s relationship with Captain Raymond Holt—played to absolute perfection by Andre Braugher—is one of the best in the show. Holt is his boss, but they’ve also developed a beautiful friendship, with Jake looking up to Holt as a father figure and mentor.
Sergeant Jeffords, played by Terry Crews, is the exact opposite of the angry tough guy that his physique would usually relegate him to playing, and is the most joyful and sensitive character on the show. He adores his wife and daughters, loves yogurt, listens to Sheryl Crow on vacation, and writes Madame Secretary fanfiction, among other endearing details. The last of the male main characters, Charles Boyle (Jo Lo Truglio) is the most loyal best friend anyone could ask for.
B99 portrays some of the best platonic friendships between men and women that I’ve seen—something I’ll always argue that audiences need more of—but it should come as no shock that I have a particular soft spot for the female relationships on the show. Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), and Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) are vastly different women, but they support each other and have each other’s backs.
Amy is teased about being a neurotic, perfectionist nerd, but everyone knows who to turn to when there’s a big project that needs to be organized on short notice. Rosa would normally be the stoic hard-ass character, but this season in particular she got to show a more vulnerable side when she came out as bisexual and her parents reacted poorly. Her work family was there for her, and that episode made me tear up more than a lot of dramas that are trying to evoke a similar reaction. Even Gina, who can be the most insensitive of the group, is the fiercest protecter of the precinct and her friends. I usually hate wedding and pregnancy story lines in sitcoms because of the ridiculous stereotypes they foist upon female characters, but this show has handled both of them extraordinarily well.
Not that these things need to be a competition, but I’ll be angry if a nearly perfect comedy is taken off the air while other, inferior shows continue on. There is a chance that if FOX decides not to continue with it that Hulu, where you can stream B99, will pick it up and continue on with it for at least a few more years, a la The Mindy Project. It would be a shame if the recent trend of network TV hemorrhaging quality shows continues, but it’s clear that if paid services are where everything interesting is ending up, that’s going to continue to be the future of the television industry.