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Brooklyn Nine-Nine 1×09 “Sal’s Pizza” Review

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By Tim O’Halloran

Last night’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine brought to the surface one of the greatest rivalries in America. Cops vs. Firemen.

To be honest I was surprised they hadn’t gone to that earlier in the show, but I’m glad we waited. Especially since it meant getting a great guest star in Patton Oswalt as Fire Marshall Boone. That said, I think there is a larger question, and that is, “Should Jake be the central focus of the show?”

Now, before anyone gets upset, I need to state that I am a huge Andy Samberg fan. From Hot Rod, to all of the SNL Digital Shorts, to even the unaired Fox pilot that he and the Lonely Island crew shot (you can find that on Youtube). So don’t take this as any shots at Mr. Samberg’s performance, but rather what the show is about.

Last week’s episode I’d say that Jake earned the main focus of the show. He had a great arc, was forced to face some hard facts about his life, and was able to complete a satisfying story. This week, though, he was back to his old cop shenanigans that he’d been up to throughout the previous episodes. Sure, there was the funny storyline between Jake and Boone, but forced the story between Amy and Rosa to the back burner, which I’d argue that was the meatier story. Then you had the maybe four scenes total devoted to the IT hunt with Terry and Gina. They could’ve expanded Gina’s interviews out into a full-fledged story as opposed to the quick cutaways.

I’m getting the sense that during story development the writers have to make the A-story Peralta based and then fill in the rest, which is what’s damaging the show. A better model would be to look at the show as strictly an ensemble. Yes, Jake is clearly the leader but that doesn’t mean he has to be the focus of every episode. If they were to rotate the main focus it would allow us to really dive into the rest of ensemble. Currently, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is using these known guest stars to try and artificially manufacture this interest into Jake’s story. I don’t know if they’re afraid of losing us if they were to stray from Jake or what.

Again, not a terrible episode, but I’m worried what these trends are going to do to the show as we enter the midpoint of the season.

Rating: B-