Tuesday, February 4, 2014

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Invites the Detectives to a Grownup Get-Together for Captain Holt in 'The Party'

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 1.16 The Party

The officers in the precinct head over to Holt's house to celebrate his birthday, but they wind up making a poor impression on his husband (Marc Evan Jackson).

After a post-Super Bowl episode I was less enthused on, Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns - with a new time slot at 9:30 - with a really strong episode. This episode went to some pretty big emotional places while also being pretty darn funny. It was also quite simple. It put the entire cast into one location for most of the running time, gave them each an "assignment" and sent them out to do hilarious things.

"The Party" was just an excellently crafted and plotted episode. When at the party, Terry tells the other detectives what they are allowed to talk about and contribute to the conversation of the party. Of course, things don't go quite the way they should since Jake and Amy are both set in their ways of trying to impress Raymond and his husband, Kevin - played by Marc Evan Jackson who frequently appeared on Mike Schur and Dan Goor's other creation Parks and Recreation. They both fail spectacularly and pull Terry along with them in the best set piece of the episode - the Holts' bathroom. There, Amy is confronted with their dog, Jake and Terry try to make sure Ray and Kevin don't know they're there while the hosts fight and hear them very quickly.

Kevin didn't want Ray's co-workers to come to the party because of the history he's had in interacting with the police department. It takes awhile for Jake to put it all together but once he does the realization just comes together so wonderfully. For years, Ray's been discriminated against in this profession because of his sexual orientation. That has worn Kevin down throughout the years.

But it all leads to a grand gesture by the detectives to give Ray and Kevin the birthday night that's exactly what they wanted - an elegant dinner together. Everyone lends a hand to the dinner in a great callback to the previous gag about the one thing they can contribute to the party. It's a wonderful moment that shows just how much the squad appreciates Captain Ray Holt and how they are different than the policemen of years past. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Party" was written by Gil Ozeri & Gabe Liedman and directed by Michael Engler
  • Loved the Kev joke. Such simple and immediate comedic payoff.
  • Apparently, Holt is the funny one in the relationship - which just makes so much comedic sense. Everyone loves deadpan humor.
  • Also really enjoyed Kevin's friend's fascination with Gina - that was a perfect and amusing use of that character. The guests also just assume that Hitchcock and Scully are life partners.
  • Marilu Henner also stops by as Vivian, a colleague of Kevin's who quickly gets the attention of Boyle. 
  • Notice that when Vivian asks Boyle if he's seeing anyone, the camera quickly cuts to Diaz then back to Boyle - as a subtle nod that that is a pairing we should be rooting for. It was a tad unnecessary. However, I did each this new pairing - especially when they got in the coat closet.
  • Very nice to see everyone acting childish in a more grown up setting than it just being Jake as the odd person out. Terry tries to help them but it fails epically.
  • Best sight gag - the detectives huddled in the corner of the Holt house, agree to break apart to seem less suspicious, then all move together.