Pop Culture at its Best

Tuesday Comedy Roundup: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 1.01, New Girl 3.01, The Mindy Project 2.01

Brooklyn Nine-Nine S01E01
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Written by Dan Goor and Michael Schur
Airs Tuesdays at 8:30pm EST on FOX

Judging by the trailer, Brooklyn Nine-Nine should be another boring and unentertaining network comedy to hit FOX this fall, making this series, out of the pilots that have emerged this fall, the most surprising so far. What seemed unappealing about the show was the familiarity of the concept; it felt all too familiar, like when That ’70s Show turned the show’s idiot into a cop. This is one show that shouldn’t be judged by its trailer alone.

Andy Samburg’s silliness doesn’t feel like it can work on a network comedy, but paired with the shear competitiveness of his partner, Melissa Fumero as Detective Amy Santiago, he works really well. With Amy trying so hard to be taken seriously while being paired with the workplace idiot, there’s plenty of room for frustration-based hilarity. The narrative flows clearly throughout and is executed really well, something a lot of pilots struggle with.

There’s a ton of equally silly, but interesting and funny characters, with Stephanie Beatriz as Detective Rosa Diaz proving particularly promising. It also looks like Brooklyn Nine-Nine plans to use flashbacks in the same hilarious way that FOX’s New Girl does.

By the end of the pilot, we get a feel for each character and the dynamic of the work place. With our protagonist Detective Jake Peralta understanding a bit more about why the new Captain is the way he is, the audience really gets a feel for how the rest of the season will play out.

New Girl S03E01
New Girl, Season 3, Episode 1, “All In”
Directed by Max Winkler
Written by Elizabeth Merriweather
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on FOX

From the moment “All In” starts, there’s a really awkward feeling present for Nick, for Jess, for Schmidt, and even for the audience. The season three premiere picks up immediately after season two’s finale and fails to engage throughout. The main focus of the premiere is exploring how Nick and Jess adjust to no longer being just friends, and in their usual ridiculous fashion they end up almost stranded in Mexico.

Whilst all this is happening, “All In” also explores how the rest of the characters are dealing with the aftermath of the wedding. We saw Schmidt run away from two women, and in the premiere nothing much has changed. Instead of facing reality and making a decision, he continues to struggle as he juggles the two. This particular story arc feels really unimaginative and frustrating as audiences are equally as eager to see what happens between him and Cece as they were with Nick and Jess. It’s frustrating, but no doubt will keep us watching. At least “Paradise Nick and Jess” is amusing and somewhat interesting, even if it feels just as absurd.

Once again, Winston’s storyline isn’t great. In the season two finale, he was the one to push Nick in the right direction, but here he is almost useless to Schmidt. The show never seems to use Winston to his full potential and instead gives him irrelevant and boring storylines. Overall, this premiere is a pretty average episode, but it ends well enough to make us want to watch the rest of the season and see how Nick and Jess cope now that they’re “All In”.

The Mindy Project S02E01 promo pic 1

The Mindy Project, Season 2, Episode 1, “All My Problems Solved Forever…”
Directed by Michael Spiller
Written by Mindy Kaling
Airs Tuesdays at 9:30pm EST on FOX

When returning to a show after a season cliffhanger there is often a sense of change present which never really lasts that long. At first glance, the characters appear to have grown, almost matured, upon adapting to Mindy’s departure. The very idea of Mindy in Haiti does not sit well, so it’s no surprise that during this reintroduction to The Mindy Project, very little time is actually spent there. “All My Problems Solved Forever…” moves at a very quick pace, and it doesn’t take long for the setting to shift back to New York, and for the characters to fall back into old dynamics.

Throughout “All My Problems Solved Forever…” the cracks begin to show between Danny and Christina, where Casey and Mindy seem stronger than ever. There is nowhere near the amount of sexual tension present this time round between Mindy and Danny, but the pair do share a nice moment. With both of their partners departing New York, it’ll only be a matter of time before tension rises again.

Casey has done well to make it this far in The Mindy Project, as a lot of Mindy’s love interests tend to get written out almost immediately. When he realises that Mindy does want a big, traditional wedding, we can’t help but think he could be a good match for her. The real question is will their relationship survive the distance, and the real test will be if Mindy can remain faithful now that she’s back and surrounded by temptation, old and new.

Other thoughts / observations:
– The wedding feels like a repeat of the Bon Voyage party
– James Franco is an excellent addition to the cast right away. The rivalry between his character and Mindy should be hilarious
– Interesting character development for Jeremy. Will they keep him “fat”?
– Hopefully Christina is gone for good, she brings absolutely nothing to the show

– Catstello

  1. Catstello says

    I’ve been disappointed with New Girl since season two to be honest. I’m interested in Schmidt’s love triangle too, I just don’t think they’re executing it well enough. It’s not funny seeing him run and not be a man about it. I do like Elizabeth though. I imagine he’ll stick with her and him and Cece will return to their old dynamic maybe?

    I think The Mindy Project on a whole is a better show, the first season was consistently good where New Girl isn’t always good anymore. I want more sexual tension between Danny and Mindy too! but I like Anders Holm.

  2. Justine says

    These are among my very favourite shows on TV right now and I was really disapointed by both episodes.

    Unlike you, I do think the best part of the show is actually the Schmidt storyline. I am far more interested in that love triangle than I am with Jess and Nick. I love both Cece and Elizabeth as characters, I hope they both stay. Also, I agree with your frustration regarding Winston. Three seasons in you would think the writers would have found something to do with his character, but he still feels so out of place.

    I do think the episode of the Mindy Project was a little better. It had some full out laughs. Everything seemed a little rushed and I do hope they return to the old formula sooner rather than later. I am not a huge fan of the fiancee, will be happy to see him go. I want more Danny, and I want more sexual tension. I also have to agree that the wedding party really did feel like a rehash of the bon voyage. James Franco does fit surprisingly well too.

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