Medal of Commendation

First seasons can be rough. Community, Parks & Rec, The Simpsons... All of these have been at the top of my list at one time or another, but all of them needed time to settle into themselves and develop into truly remarkable TV. So it's surprising when a show debuts, and almost immediately starts knocking it out of the park. Brooklyn Nine-Nine just wrapped its first season, and I can't believe how great it was. It seemed to have plenty of - well, not strikes, but definite red flags. It's a workplace comedy and features cops, both of which are themes that have been oversaturated lately. It stars Andy Samberg, and while I've never disliked him, I'd describe his smug comedy as best in small doses. All the building blocks were present for this to turn into a run-of-the-mill, disposable comedy.

And what happened? It snagged #3 on my Top of 2013 list. And rather than slowing down in the new year, it got even better. Samberg blended perfectly into what has become the funniest ensemble comedy on TV right now. Every character is developing in a wholly naturalistic way, no matter how quirky they are. Every actor has stolen a scene or two. There are simply no weak links.

It's simultaneously the easiest thing and the most difficult thing in the world to explain why this show works so well: It's really, really funny. There ya go! That's all there is to it. Like Bob's Burgers, it weaves in secondary and tertiary characters perfectly. It can take place outside of the police office (as in one of the season's strongest episodes, "The Party") and still function well. The only thing that threatens to throw a wrench into the works is the same thing that brings down a lot of shows: Main characters falling for each other. The interplay between Diaz/Boyle and Santiago/Peralta has been fine so far, but definitely contains the potential to be as insufferable as the whole Ross/Rachel thing became.

But we'll leave all that to the future. Right now, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a Golden Globe, a second season pickup, and my adoration.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season 1: A


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