Tuesday, October 22, 2013

COMEDY ROUNDUP: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Breaks Into Holt's Office; 'New Girl' Gets in the Batman-Mobile; & 'Trophy Wife' Goes to the 80s

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 1.06 Halloween

FOX's New Girl - Episode 3.06 Keaton

ABC's Trophy Wife - Episode 1.05 The Tryst

Brooklyn Nine Nine - It's Halloween night, a busy time of the year for any police precinct. Amy detests the holiday, and is not thrilled when she has to don a costume to go undercover on street patrol with Charles. Back at the precinct, Jake bets Captain Holt that he can steal his Medal of Valor before midnight, which results in him bringing out some costumes of his own.

Jake needed to get a win sooner or later in his relationship with Holt. So, the only way I could remotely feel rewarded by his bet with the Captain in "Halloween" is if he was able to pull it off. And yes, he was able to come on top. But it also just felt a little off.

I'm gonna attribute that to the show developing so strongly so quickly in its ensemble nature while the Jake-Holt dynamic largely staying the same. In "Halloween," the plots I'm must amused by are the team ups of Charles & Amy and Terry & Rosa. Those are pairings we haven't seen before so they immediately feel fresh and offer something new. Neither were as fleshed out as they could have been - due to the large amount of time the A-story required - but they both were pleasant nevertheless.

And I'm also convinced that this episode will play much better on rewatch as we know exactly how Jake was able to steal the Medal of Valor. A large portion of the mechanics happen offscreen so it won't be monumentally more rewarding but I do think it will play better.

And favorite Halloween costume goes to Terry as Salt and Pepper shakers!

New Girl - In an effort to reconnect with Cece, Jess throws a Halloween party at the loft. In an effort to change Schmidt's sullen behavior, the loftmates resort to "catfishing" him by pretending to be his childhood idol - actor Michael Keaton. Then, Schmidt makes a decision that could change the loft forever.

"Keaton" was just a pleasant episode to watch. After a third season that has seen its ups and downs, pleasant is the exact quality I want right now. Sure, a huge part of the episode revolved around Jess, Nick and Winston manipulating Schmidt so he wouldn't interfere with Jess' party. However, that aspect quickly spiraled out of control for everyone involved and that was entirely great to watch. It works because Schmidt learns the truth pretty early on and is able to turn the tables on Nick, Jess and Winston enough that a half-drunk Jess tries to impersonate Michael Keaton as Batman.

But the episode also felt like the creative team came up with the episode-ending twist - Schmidt moving out - and then clumsily wrote to that scene. That is a big moment for this show. At its core, New Girl is about this group of people all living together. What happens when one of them leaves seems like fertile storytelling ground. But the buildup to that moment for Schmidt didn't seem quite as fluid as the show was probably hoping for.

But the scene between Jess and Cece about the batmobile was easily a top favorite exchange between those two.

Trophy Wife - Between everyone's crazy schedules and activities, Pete and Kate are having a tough time finding any alone time, so at Diane's 80s-themed school fundraiser event, they attempt a risque romantic romp inside the janitor's closet. Meanwhile, back at home, the kids help Jackie with her online dating profile, but Bert is less than enthusiastic.

Just try telling me the plot of this episode wasn't an attempt at comedy synergy with lead-in The Goldbergs. I'm taking this episode as the creative team's response to learning that the comedy leading into their show is an 80s-set family comedy. And that is perfectly fine when you can take dated references and make them into something funny.

But really, "The Tryst" was only 80s-themed in style. It was still fundamentally Trophy Wife in tone and humor. So, we got demanding Diane, afraid-to-say-no Pete, Jackie trying to attract men and Kate really having to go to the bathroom. And everything about those characteristics was funny.

Trophy Wife is definitely the new comedy that I'm enjoying the most right now. And Phyllis Smith is definitely someone I welcome as a recurring character. Plus, the great "Let's Potato Chips" strike again!