Tuesday, October 8, 2013

COMEDY ROUNDUP: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Goes to the Morgue; 'New Girl' Does The Captian; & 'Trophy Wife' Starts Snooping

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 1.04 M.E. Time

FOX's New Girl - Episode 3.04 The Captain

ABC's Trophy Wife - Episode 1.03 The Social Network

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Much to the team's annoyance, Jake hits on an attractive medical examiner, Dr. Rossi (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) at a crime scene and holds up the autopsy report. He learns his lesson when Dr. Rossi turns out to be more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, Amy's purse-snatching case is stalled when the sketch artist is out sick, but she discovers that Sgt. Jeffords has hidden artistic talents.

This episode is very quick to point out just how jerky and narcissistic Det. Jake Peralta actually is. He loves solving cases and having sex with the new hot medical examiner no matter what those actions would mean for the people around him. Andy Samberg sells the character and the comedic moments very well - him reacting to the autopsy procedure was hilarious. And yet, the character has also been very stagnant in the first few episodes. The ensemble is developing and growing and he is largely staying the same. That's an issue that needs to be addressed shortly.

The B-plot was much more satisfyingly funny because of it's showcasing the talents of the supporting characters. Det. Santiago very easily could be the killjoy, straight woman role to the craziness around her. The pilot episode shoehorned her as the main female and romantic foil to Jake And yet, the show has found ways to keep her pleasant and likable and funny. That's because of the distance the show has put between her and Jake in the episodes since the pilot. It doesn't feel like the show is actively forcing them together as a romantic coupling. They are pieces of the growing ensemble.

And the recurring jokes of people not being able to read Captain Holt and Sgt. Jeffords' artistic talents were fantastic.

But I'm also sad there was no Gina tonight.

New Girl - A vengeful Schmidt targets Jess and Nick's relatively happy relationship. Meanwhile, when Winston learns that Furguson the cat must be neutered, he is determined to give this feline one last night of carnal glory.

Season three has been a little weird so far. Nick and Jess dealing with what being in a relationship means has been great. Schmidt dating both Cece and Elizabeth wasn't and made me actively dislike him. And Winston was off in his own plots every week just being crazy.

And yet, season 3 has been building up to "The Captain" - an episode that after watching you get a better sense of what the writers we're going for in these first few episodes.

Essentially, Nick and Jess being in a relationship has offset the balance of the loft. Except for the brief seconds in the cat store and outside Cece's apartment, "The Captain" takes place entirely in the loft. It tries to explain that Schmidt was being a terrible person and Winston was being a crazy person because of the changed dynamics. Does it entirely work? Not exactly. But it's also the best reasoning for what these characters have been doing.

Nick and Jess have always been great. But the two absolutely steal this episode. They are trying to make an honest go at a relationship and they are hopelessly infatuated by one another. They are all in. And yet, Schmidt is hellbent on destroying them because they ruined his chance at happiness. The two let him get into their heads and are taken to the point of breaking up. But then, Nick is given a revelation - he starts talking about his feelings. That moment felt immensely satisfying and earned because we know Nick doesn't talk about his feelings. It's a little bit of Jess rubbing off on him - just like he is changing her ("The other great thing about talking about our feelings is that we don't need to do it... all the time.")

It takes Winston giving a final act Winger speech to get all of these issues out in the open. And yet, the show feels very confident in putting this resolution out there. And them feeling confident makes me feel very confident about where they're going.

And the explanation of The Captain works because - like True American - you just get little snippets of it and you can just let your mind fill in the blanks.

Trophy Wife - When Hilary is grounded after being caught lying in order to hang out with a boy, Diane and Pete decide they must snoop in her room and on her Facebook page to find out more about the young man, while Kate tries a different tactic - to be Hilary's friend. Meanwhile, Albert gets a little too invested in Jackie's latest career venture.

Trophy Wife is just a pleasant way to spend half an hour. The characters all come across as genuine and unique and likable. It's just they don't immensely make me laugh yet. The show and the universe it has set up feels very comfortable and lived in already. That's a very good sign. But I'm still waiting for it to break out.

The main story is another variation of Kate trying to figure out how to be a parent. It then boils down to Peter and Diane also trying to figure out how to be parents to a teenage daughter. The show still does an effortless job of showing different points of view and giving everyone something to say during an argument. Diane and Peter both feel the need to snoop but go about it differently. Kate wants to be Hilary's best friend. Both sides are given their pros and cons. And yet, the series once again goes down the route of trying things Kate's way only for them to blow up in her face. It's still amusing but is also a variation of the same formula.

The B-plot with Jackie and Albert was very weird. It was very simple and short. But surprisingly not that funny or earned. I know we've come to know Bert is mature for his age. I just don't think the show presented enough for us to understand why he got so caught up in this job opportunity of Jackie's - given that she apparently goes through multiple ones a month. Michaela Watkins and Albert Tsai are two of the strongest comedic voices on the show and yet their pairing here just didn't work for some reason.

And to all those worried that Trophy Wife would underutilize Natalie Morales - take comfort in knowing that she was more useful here than in episode two. She also was pretty accurate to have in that big climatic scene to point out the current environment they all were in when the other three were focused on Hilary lying to them.