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Brooklyn Nine-Nine S01E01: "Pilot"

One of the biggest problems with network comedy is predictability. You got your family sitcoms where the dad is like, "Get me outta here!" and the daughter wants to date bad boys and the mom cocks her head and puts her hands on her hips and the son is stupid. You got your generational rom-coms, where a group of young friends navigates the dating world and hooks up with more people than is sanitary and one of the friends is stupid. You got your "workplace" comedies where the weird guy, the charming guy, the sweet girl, the macho dude, the uptight cat lady, and someone who is stupid all work together. Network comedies don't go much further than those three formulas, so it's no wonder that the genre has shown little innovation in the last five years.

But one comedy genre that we haven't really seen much of is the half-hour action comedy (Fox's 2010 The Good Guys never got a fair shake, Breaking In had some sleuthy stuff going on, and Chuck was an hour-long dramedy), and that's what gives Fox's new series Brooklyn Nine-Nine the appearance of freshness. Set in a New York police precinct and on the crime-ridden streets of the city, Brooklyn Nine-Nine dips its toe into the action-comedy genre and that's enough to make it stand out from the rest of this season's new laffers and the omniscient trend of parents moving in with their adult children or divorcees hitting the dating scene again. And that was enough to make me like it and get over my irrational hatred of star Andy Samberg. 

As a safety net, Brooklyn Nine-Nine also functions as a workplace comedy with the usual suspects. Samberg is hotshot detective Jacob Peralta, Melissa Fumero (One Life to Live) is the uptight, competitive, sexy detective—not to mention the object of Peralta's loins—Amy Santiago. Andre Braugher is fantastic as stoic new-to-the-precinct captain Ray Holt. Frequent TV sidekick Joe Lo Truglio is the office idiot. Stephanie Beatriz is the Aubrey Plaza type using lethal force as scary detective Rose Diaz. Terry Crews is the nervous bag of muscles as Sergeant Terry Jeffords. And Chelsea Peretti is the early scene-stealer as administrator Gina Linetti. That's a solid cast right off the bat, and many of them act like they've been doing this for years.


It appears that Brooklyn Nine-Nine will crack a case each week in addition to serving up workplace comedy hijinks, and that's fine by me because the show has found a tone that works, combining a slight parody of the cop drama with a complete lack of seriousness that recalls the humor of the '80s and '90s comedy golden age. And if nothing else, cases-of-the-week get the cops out of the office and into a world full of buffoonish criminals and goofy witnesses, where the jokes are endless. Fred Armisen's Kaufman-esque cameo as "M-L-E-cray" was the funniest bit in the pilot, and it's easy to see Brooklyn Nine-Nine using this sort of drop-in gag to its advantage moving forward. But there's also something consistently amusing about cops cracking wise while hovering over a dead bodyor trashing a deli in pursuit of a ham-hawker. This type of formula works great in feature films, why can't it work on television? Well, if Brooklyn Nine-Nine keeps doing what it did in the premiere, it should succeed.

I wouldn't say the pilot was non-stop hilarity, and it often relied on Samberg showing some skin for cheap laughs (OMG he's not wearing pants!), but there's an good cast here that's very likable and will improve. As we get to know the rest of the characters, I'm counting on the series to tone Samberg down a little. And what makes Brooklyn Nine-Nine probably the best new comedy of the fall season is that its formula is just different enough from everything else on the schedule to break it apart from the pack. 



CASE NOTES

– Fumero probably could use a little more time getting used to this comedy thing. She looks like she's about to laugh during every scene. Also, let's hope her character becomes more than just a device to set up Peralta's zingers. 

– I loved the "twist" that Ray was gay. And I love that it was played like, "So what?" Very unexpected, but also very matter-of-fact. 

– One problem with the structure of bouncing back and forth between police work and the office is that Gina won't be out in the field, and she's arguably the funniest character of the bunch. 

– "We got a 10-tie situation." 


What'd you think of the pilot? Will you be back for Episode 2?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 1/1/2017

Season 4 : Episode 12

147 Comments
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I'm sorry, but Chelsea Peretti is just awful. Her character isn't funny at all. She's the only one that really feels out of place here.
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Is this the new "The Office"? I hope so!
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While Samberg's character is obviously a bit of a caricature, this is really fun and enjoyable so far. I look forward to seeing how it grows over time.
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andy samberg is kind of annoying but the rest of the show is good enough for me to get over that.
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There has only been a handful of US comedies that I am proud to declare myself a fan of (Arrested Development, Friends, MASH, Louie, Community...) and just some more that I've found a decent way to turn off the outside (Modern Family, Scrubs, Veep, Malcolm in the Middle, The Office, The Golden Girls (yeah, yeah.. I know)...) so I'm not saying that my opinion is worth anything, but I actually found the pilot quite good, if not great. I can see myself enjoying and caring for most of the characters - only detective Santiago seemed rather meh.
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Fred Armisen's cameo was the funniest part of the pilot, but the show has potential and needs time (like all comedies) to find it's footing and make a few changes. Can we begin with Samberg's character being less of an absolute douche?
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I liked the first episode, hope the rest are as good. It reminded me of The Unusuals, which was a great comedy that didn't last very long.
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i liked now i just have to get someone in my family to watch it with me because it was funny!!!
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Pretty good. I also wouldn't mind if Samberg toned it down. I didn't like the resolution to the tie story and I think Braugher was WAY too tolerant but otherwise it was funny and watchable.
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I see that the most popular posts are from people who detested the show. Is it because it was so hyped? Personally I thought it was ok, in a silly, borderline Naked Gun sort of way, but funny is so subjective. I hope it's not the best new show this season has to offer, but I'll definitely give it a few more episodes.

And the people who think this is the height of comedy aren't wrong, they just find different things funny. It's much easier to compare the qualities of dramas, but a comedy is judged on werther it makes people laugh. Just because I don't laugh at 2 1/2 men, doesn't mean it's a bad comedy - millions of people apparently think is hilarious. Do I wish they would watch Happy Endings instead - sure, but all I can do is watch what makes me laugh and ignore what doesn't.
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Det. Rosa reminded me of April from Parks & Rec
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It made me smile and chuckle at places; and it is watcheable after a hard day at work.
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Not a big fan of comedy but I liked two things : they make fun of classic detective shows and the captain is gay. And it made me laugh a bit. That's enough to make me come back.
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Being a viewer that seldom watch comedy especially sitcoms, I did not really liked the pilot though I loved Andre Braugher. I probably give this a miss. The only comedy series that I am still watching is Episodes and The Mindy project (mostly because I like Mindy)
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yeah pretty much the same along the lines for me. Andre Braugher is someone i greatly admired on Homicide and i`m glad to see him still working.
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Very promising Pilot but since Under The Dome I have learned that Pilot's can be misleading for that matter I am waiting for Episode 2. That could be a big hit show
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Tim, I hadn't planned on watching this but based on your review I gave the pilot a shot. I LOVED it. Thanks for being dead on, as usual.
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I notice several people comparing it to Barney Miller. No love for Police Squad? Or isn't that comparable since it was openly a parody?

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I enjoyed it, I just worry about the timeslot, since it comes on right in the middle of NCIS and SHIELD starting next week. Also, Dads is a terrible lead-in.
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I have low standards for Tuesday nights, but this isn't bad. I never wanna like Samberg, but I can never hate the guy like my instincts keep asking. Maybe he's...ok.
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I enjoyed the show. At SNL, Andy Samberg's humor was not really my thing, but the pilot was actually really funny. If this is the pilot, I can not wait for the rest
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I enjoyed it. Like you said Tim, it's familiar (in a good way), but it 'dips its toe into the action-comedy genre and that's enough to make it stand out from the rest'.

I'm interested to see how audiences will react to the macabre sense of humour. I don't have a problem with it myself (I generally have a very twisted sense of humour), but there were some lines that made me raise my eyebrows like, 'Good news for all you murder fans' and 'Welcome to the murder', while others made me giggle, 'so the perp came in through the window... and apparently had sex with the dish rack'. My point is: is there 'something consistently amusing about cops cracking wise while hovering over a dead body?'

I'm not sure if I know the answer to this, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine does highlight that in reality life, even one of a New York detective, isn't without it's lighter moments of humour. That being said, I don't want the series to show 'a complete lack of seriousness' because it will ultimately make it less grounded and more surreal. Heading into the series I'd like to see a bit more seriousness occasionally. After all, there's only so involved you can get in an action sequence (which the show is trying to pull off to differentiate itself) when Peralta is being completely ignored by a naïve old women during his scuffle with an assailant.

I shared your similar woes about the use of Samberg, Tim, and I found him painful at times throughout the pilot. But like you said, 'As we get to know the rest of the characters, I'm counting on the series to tone Samberg down a little'. And there's no reason they can't. If its even possible every single member of the team is a standout, and thus far I enjoy every character thoroughly - except Gina. 'And Chelsea Peretti is the early scene-stealer as administrator Gina Linetti.' A scene-stealer? I hope not, I really disliked her character, was there a reason she had to be intentionally mean to Joe throughout the entire episode?

Also, not a huge fan of the flashbacks. They remind me of Family Guy cut away gags, which work fine for an animation, but not so great here.
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I liked it...surprisingly, I really like the casting choices except for Andy he makes me think the show is a Youtube parody instead of an actual show.
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Seems like a solid comedy- I'll need a few more eps, but I'm really digging it, and I think it has potential.
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I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I also cannot believe it is a 1/2 hour. Also, did anyone else get a The Office feel?
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Yes! I definetly got The Office vibes from the pilot.
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Probably the best pilot since Fox's underrated "Breaking In" but i think the supporting characters are more funnier and interesting than Andy Samberg's Peralta.
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Loved the pilot episode, espsecially Chealsea Peretti's chatacter.
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I really loved this. My favorite bits were the people who wouldn't stop going about their business. The lady who kept shopping during a police vs. perp fight and the janitor who wouldn't move and made the cops skootch around her.
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Great first episode, just hope they can keep it up.
Great cast and they all seemed to know that playing it striaght and trying to force the laughs made it funnier than say Dads that tried to go for laughs and fell flat.
Unfortunately with my track record for picking comedies, both this and Trophy Wife will get cancelled and Dads will run for 37 seasons
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If this is the best sitcom the '13-'14 season has to offer, it bodes poorly for all of us. This wasn't a "bad" show, but TV.com overhyped it to the Nth degree, there wasn't a single laugh and barely any chuckles, the writing wasn't particularly smart or compelling or clever or even interesting, things just kinda "happened" and we ascribed them to the characters being competent or incompetent as the story required. The best thing I can say is that it was produced adequately, although the premise of The Office had justification for shaky-cam where this does not, and the flashbacks using radio squawk to get in and out was downright irritating.

Speaking of the characters, no thanks. Every character was shallow and their quirks not interesting. The whole "I want to make this the best precinct" shakeup thing was stale and pretty theadbare as a series launchpad. I didn't buy any of them as detectives in any way, and Samberg's antics not only felt forced and immature, but out of place and full of unearned swagger.

The Good Guys was head and shoulders better than this show, it got a ton of genuine laughs and was a more compelling crime show to boot, it bums me out that it didn't get that fair shake.

I was planning on giving it another shot, but considering what's going up against this in the timeslot next week, I'm forced to say that I'm out.
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'Every character was shallow and their quirks not interesting'. I don't deny that in the pilot majority of the characters, except for Braugher's, were little more than stereotypes - but that being said, there wasn't one I didn't like (except Gina). I guess tropes are used for a reason? I just hope they are developed a but more as the series progresses, but for a pilot I was fine with what was seen from the characters.

As for 'The whole "I want to make this the best precinct" shakeup thing was stale and pretty theadbare as a series Launchpad' I have to disagree. I think the pilot did an exceptional job at making us care about the improvement of the precient my providing audiences with a solid backstory for Braugher's character. He's never had the chance to have his own unit before (mostly because he was denied it), so for him to get one is a big deal. Not only is it important he doesn't screw it up (because what would that prove about gay detectives?), but he wants it to be the best it can possibly be to proof himself to other people.
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There are 3 female characters in this ensemble. Right now if you put a gun to my head I couldn't definitively tell you which was which, or which one was "Gina". I looked it up, Gina was the one who grated on my nerves the most, that was the "trying too hard" character if ever I saw one.

Tropes are used when writers are lazy and not creative, a real character is one who seems easy to put in that box but turns out to be much more than expected, one way or another.

A precinct so shoddy that they give it to the guy they really didn't want to give it to isn't going to be the best right out the box. How about a goal of "fixing its problems to get it up to par", what's wrong with that idea? Or how about respecting the achievements these characters claim to have made in their careers? If we're giving up on the trio of loser detectives, won't those 3 just drag down the successes of the rest? Yet we get nothing there, they're the 3 people in the Dunder Mifflin annex. It's stupid and it leads to the very mistakes like the lead character letting Ratko escape in the store, that was shoddy work BECAUSE of this silly shakeup, it's poorly thought-out. If Braugher's character has never led before, why doesn't he want to tread water or get incrementally better first? Because this is a shallow, cardboard sitcom, that's the only reason. You don't start at the bottom and immediately think you can jump to the top, you aim high but set goals that are reachable first.
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I loved The Good Guys. Also, didn't you think Andre Braugher looked like, "Oh shit, I've really stepped in it this time. I'm killing my agent for reals." He's way too good for this nonsense.
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He definitely didn't look like he was having a good time with this work, but it's probably best for his career to reboot the heavy stuff after his last show got canned by ABC.
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His last show was great. It's just that it was created to kill The Big Bang Theory and it didn't work. It would have done well in a later timeslot, but ABC wanted that one and it was too expensive to be an also-ran. Everybody said "move it," but they didn't want to. I believe that Lost was such a show, but it succeeded and kicked ass.
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I think ABC really doesn't know what to do with a drama that isn't focused specifically on a female audience, and they weren't really trying to upset anything, just pulling a hail-mary with a high concept series that is a bit costly and is more serious than they're used to.

The days of Lost and Alias are over, ABC isn't that same network anymore, now it's soapy and light and focused on the female market to the exclusion of everything else.
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best part was the flashback of the chief arresting the disco ball strangler..HAAHHHAHAHA
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i honestly didnt watch i turned to the channel and made food then it was over
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It sucked
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I'm with Taccado. Very good start, and I'm sure it will improve. I did really enjoy the end when he realized it was a uniform.
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Phil Lord & Chris Miller directed the pilot, I love their work. I thought it was a solid pilot, plenty of laughs but room to improve. I know the creators will improve the show a lot (they were behind The Office and Parks & Rec). Andy Samberg was Andy Samberg though, I though the supporting players were a hell of a lot funnier.
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Love it!!! Lol'd many times during the pilot.
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Of course, since it was written for the 12yr olds who use "words" like LOL.
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Oh damn I'm gonna need some ice and and tissues for that glorious burn. ugh it just stings sooooo hard.
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Great cast and the understated humor / goofiness was right up my alley. Enjoyed it a lot and expect I'll be watching it every week.
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Nope, another one bites the dust, freeing up another DVR spot.
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many are talkin about Barney Miller, and that this show has is not a new idea! To be honest I had to imdb "Barney Miller" to find out that it is a show from the 70s! guess what? not all of us were born in that era!
I loved Brooklyn 9/9, was not that brilliant but it is out of the ordinary! the lead character is hilarious.
I think you need to give the show a chance before criticising it
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Same to you about Barney Miller. Some people are intelligent enough to know that the world wasn't created the day they were born.
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gonna watch this tonight with the wife. i would have totally forgot to record it, so i'm glad she remembered...can't believe the new shows are starting already.
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Enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Will definitely watch. Reminds me more of an updated version of Barney Miller, which set the standard for half-hour cop comedies.
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On one hand I think Andy Samberg is funny. I enjoyed Hot Rod as well as many of his bits on SNL.

On the other hand, his open-jawed + toothy smile reminds me of a muppet. Which I guess is part of his charm... he's not quite breaking but his character is obviously enjoying himself.
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It was meh to me. I think I gave a depressing snort at a supposedly funny scene and that was it. Nothing stood out to me.
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Awesome! Now here's something fresh, finally, with mad potential and a great cast! I loved it!
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That was a solid start. The problem was though that it felt a little bit like a series of short sketches put together. But I guess that was because all the different characters had to be introduced, so they were put into situations where they had to interact with each other in ways that brought out their personalities. It'll probably get better in upcoming episodes.

I really hope Samberg won't constantly be in the spot light, because like you, I really dislike him. He is overrated, and thinks he is far funnier than he is. Watching the class clown fool around is funny for five minutes, but then it quickly gets tiring. And if Fumero was about to start laughing in several scenes, so was Samberg. The rest of the cast I have no problem with, so I hope there will be episodes that focus solely on them.
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And the award for the most overhyped new show of the season 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine'! What an absolute steaming pile of dung. Not a single original humerous moment in your pilot - not a good sign. Terrible, just terrible.

The reviewer keeps talking about how this is a new idea - workplace comedy in police station - ????? This show wishes it was 'Psych'. (Hal Linden is also laughing at that comment - Another show 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' is never ever going to touch - 'Barney Miller'.) Not until watching this unfunny crap did I realize how much I'm going to miss Sean and Gus. Andy Samberg is so much more annoying than funny.

Andre Braugher - you are much better than this stupid show and stupid role. I've never dumped a show from my DVR quicker than this.
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Well said. When it gets cancelled we can give those of you who loved it some shiny things to play with...
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Ehhhhhhhh it was okay. I didn't laugh once... I giggled twice, the first coming about halfway into the episode. And thinking about it now, it was a pretty stupid joke to giggle at ("This is my partner, Detective Terrible Detective") but I guess Samberg's delivery made it a bit funnier.

I'm not liking the supporting cast much. Joe Lo Truglio almost never makes me laugh, and the two supporting females... Santiago and that administrator lady were both terrible. The main three plus Terry Crews were fine, I guess.
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I giggled at that too. Detective Terrible Detective just for some reason hit me just right.
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Fred Armisen stole the show. I want him to be on every episode as a different person everytime.
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Solid series premiere. Andy Samberg was surprisingly funny, and the rest of the ensemble cast (Braugher! Crews!) is strong. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has easily earned three more episodes in my book.
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Oh Canada.
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Our home and native land? ...
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I had so much hope for you. You're extremely bright, you write well and you're funny. Brooklyn Nine-Nine couldn't carry your lunchbox. Andy Samberg isn't funny as are Ben Stiller and Will Ferrel are not. The Hangover wasn't funny. The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Veep and Denis Leary are funny. I know funny is a matter of taste, but B 99 was not funny...
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You know, I just rewatched the episode (because of you!), and I'll admit it WAS all rather cliche. The disco flashback seemed especially bad the second time. But I still chuckled here and there.

It's not great, but like I said, I'm going to give it the 4-episode test. The Parks and Rec writers attached to it compel me to give it at least that much.
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There were at least 10 times I laughed out loud to these hi-jinks. I was thinking Samberg might ham it up to much and he came very close, but seemed to walk a fine comedy line. Some moments reminded me of 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation. Fred Armisen, the muffin drop, Sergeant Jeffords screaming and emptying his clip into a dummy, and other bits all genuinely funny. Definitely will be recording the series for multiple views.
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Ham pun intended? I liked all of the parts you mentioned too!
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I kinda expected more but it was ok so I will tune in next time.
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