Brooklyn Nine-Nine: TV review - when will US sitcom writers stop trying to make TV viewers into better people?


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The Independent Culture

In E4's new US import, Saturday Night Live alumnus Andy Samberg stars as Detective Jake Peralta, a police officer who doesn't take his job as seriously as he should, yet somehow manages to get results. As his squad leader Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews from Everybody Hates Chris) put it: "The only puzzle he hasn't solved is how to grow up."

Samberg, is both the show's biggest draw and – notwithstanding his recent Golden Globe win for Best Actor – also its biggest drawback. Amid an ensemble cast of various misfits, he's the romantic lead (there's clearly a romance blossoming between Peralta and his partner Detective Amy Santiago), but his character is also too smarmy and successful to be endearing. He's The Office's Tim combined with The Office's David Brent, and, unfortunately, that's a combo that doesn't quite work out on screen. No wonder Samberg looked so confused during his Globes acceptance speech.

The script was written by Daniel J Goor and Michael Schur, whose previous credits include Amy Poehler's municipal workplace comedy Parks and Recreation the US version of The Office. Like both of those shows, this was perfectly watchable and intermittently amusing, but never quite sharp enough to really trouble the funny bone. And, as ever, there was a moral to the story. Something to do with teamwork... blah, blah... and not judging a book by its cover... blah, blah, blah.

When will US sitcom writers stop trying to make TV viewers into better people? Can't they see it's too late for us? We're already set in our ways.