‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’: a Cop Show for Kids

So Much Better Than That Boring Stuff Grandpa Watches

I normally hate cop shows: the repetitive, boring episodes that seem to never end, the horribly-acted romances that leave you cringing, and the meaningless drama that they throw into the middle of a homicide case.

These shows do this all in an extremely dull way. Their limited, clichéd humor has no layers or depth. It’s as if they found the world’s most boring man and asked him to write what happens in a police station.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine blows these shows away. I turned Criminal Minds off after two episodes. It made me wish I’d been at school instead. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, on the other hand, keeps me entertained almost constantly. It manages to be a cop show, but also legitimately funny. I’m very picky when it comes to the TV shows I watch. I normally start a show and stop it within the first four or five episodes. But the wit in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, along with the hints of sincerity, compel me to continue watching. I watched the first five seasons of this show in two weeks, and I eagerly await each new episodes each Thursday.

The producers definitely designed this show for younger viewership. It even has its own parody of Game of Thrones. All those other cop shows, like CSI, are intended for older viewership, making hour-long episodes so if your grandpa falls asleep for 20 minutes, he can still catch up on what he missed. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a cop show for kids.

Younger generations have virtually no attention span. This show takes perfect advantage of that, with multiple plotlines running in a 25-minute episode. It keeps the viewer engaged, but makes sure they don’t get bored with what they’re watching. The cases the detectives work look serious on the surface, but there’s always a light tone. They could be solving a case about arson, but Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) will  crack a bunch of well-timed jokes. The writers even make boring-seeming meetings funny, while still continuing the plot.


I don’t actually care about the outcome of the cases. That’s not the point of the show. Most cop shows involve character development and outside drama, but the episodes are always about some big case involving a serial killer who murders prostitutes. In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the cases are just a segue into more humor. It’s really just poking fun at those old-man cop shows.

And really, it’s more of an office comedy than a cop comedy. It’s basically just The Office with New York detectives instead of boring workers in a paper company. They both have a quirky secretary, a kind of weird boss, and a fun employee who’s always pranking people. The show, full of young people who want to do things their own way, feels relatable for teens and millennials, who helped get it picked up by NBC after Fox canceled it for no good reason.

Office comedies have always been a television and movie goldmine. The writers have to sit down and think, “How can I make this ordinary thing funny?” They tend to have a formula for every season of one of these show: a lot of filler episodes, and then four or five episodes that advance the plot, making sure the shows don’t stay too static. The writers of Brooklyn Nine-Nine do an excellent job with this. They sometimes introduce new characters or recurring plotlines so they don’t run dry with the content.

The Office remains inexplicably popular among young people, but young viewers really should try something else. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is everything that The Office should have been, a funny, upbeat, workplace comedy with good, well-developed characters. It’s the epitome of a good workplace comedy.

Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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Elijah Pollack

Elijah Pollack written for both Book and Film Globe and Rock and Roll Globe. He's also the cohost of the Extra Credit podcast on Audible, and has written for Observer.com.

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