Sometimes you just need an episode of television that features cute dogs and weird sexual tension. That’s something that Brooklyn Nine-Nine clearly understands, as that’s what we get in this week’s episode, “Cheddar.”
It’s a pretty inoffensive—even with the weird sexual tension aspect—and simple episode, and while that can be a bit disappointing in a show like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it’s still got its charm. “Cheddar” is essentially 20-plus minutes of televisual smooth sailing; it’s a relatively low-key episode, moving forward through its plots at the clip of a supposedly care-free corgi who really just misses one of its dads. This is an episode where the entire onscreen precinct has the time to spend a whole day looking for their captain’s dog and dressing in his wardrobe. And they do so while ticking the boxes of straight up sitcom shenanigans: There is the missing dog plot, a “blind” Boyle plot, and Gina’s attempts to stall Captain Holt.
All of this builds to Holt revealing his and Kevin’s marital problems to Jake and Amy, a poignant scene in a fairly irreverent episode and one that’s been a long time coming. As robotic as Holt is, he’s still actually a human, and the long distance relationship he now has with his husband has understandably human ramifications. It’s a telegraphed reveal within this episode, but despite that predictability (which is something that exists in all of this episode’s plots), predictable doesn’t necessarily mean bad, especially when executed well. So when the show gets to Holt’s reveal, Andre Braugher nails it. It’s absolutely executed well. And it’s not the first thing you’d think would come out of an episode with a missing dog plot at the forefront.
Because, let me be clear, that’s a ridiculous plot to have at the forefront. It’s adorable, as every smash cut to “Cheddar’s Day Out” is aww-inducing (as well as giggle-inducing), but it’s still as low stakes as the show or any sitcom can possibly get. (Even though a real life version of the scenario is far from low stakes or adorable.) The low stakes of “Cheddar” also puts the episode in a strange place where it’s slightly uneven from beat to beat; and that unevenness is both a good and a bad thing. The Rosa/Pimento plot in this episode honestly feels like it’s on a whole other show—one where Terry is the only person this particular show who reacts appropriately to their behavior—but in a way where it makes the return to the actual show even funnier. Genevieve Valentine wrote last week that “Adrian Pimento could have walked off an FX pilot,” and she was absolutely right. So the see-saw dynamic of the episode going from a cute corgi to a strangely erotic FX pilot is jarring, but like Jason Mantzoukas, that’s part of what makes it work. Rosa being the emotionally available part of this relationship makes it an interesting dynamic, especially as the two of them bounce off of poor Terry, and it’s strangely sweet.
But then there’s the “blind” Boyle plot, which veers dangerously into the Sad Boyle side of things. At three seasons in, everyone involved in Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a very firm grasp on their characters and who they are, which truly helps a lot with weaker moments… But “blind” Boyle truly tests Joe Lo Truglio’s work at keeping Boyle from just being an annoying afterthought in this episode. Yes, it’s funny to see Boyle map Jake’s face in advance and cradle a possum, but it’s not necessarily so funny that it trumps wanting Boyle to just sit everything out and not ruin emotional moments at the end of the episode. Understandably, Boyle wants to help, but at the same time, Boyle isn’t an idiot. He’s very enthusiastic, but is he honestly the character who thinks his other senses are instantly heightened after LASIK? After at least a couple of instances of them clearly not being heightened and him setting himself fire? Boyle’s probably the most difficult character on Brooklyn Nine-Nine to really peg down and not make him way too much—he would call himself an acquired taste—and in an episode like “Cheddar,” he sticks out like a sore thumb.
Whereas Gina is driving on parking structure spikes and pulling wires out of cars, and that just feels like a regular day.
“Cheddar” is an episode built on really solid jokes and subtly funny images, but I’m curious to see if it ultimately slips through the cracks of this season’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes. For those keeping track at home, it is arguably the cutest episode of this season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and one I can see being a treat in rewatches. But it’s also like a lazy Sunday in episode form, and as pleasant as that is, the memory could possibly fade quickly.
- This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: Pimento and Rosa’s FX pilot, of course. I assume it’s titled Heynongman.
- Thanks again to Genevieve Valentine for filling in last week, as I laid in bed with a fever and an urge to watch Lucifer.
- Jake: “He was so rich, he had a whole room in his house just to eat in.”
Gina: “You mean like a dining room?”
Jake: “Yeah, but in Manhattan.”
Gina: “Oh, dang.”
- I very much appreciate the cold open subverting a possible “oh, Jake” moment (the dining room exchange), only to eventually end with an actual “oh, Jake” moment (“WHAT HAPPENED TO BLOCKBUSTER?!?”). I also appreciate Amy’s continued disappointment in Jake’s facial hair situation.
- Jake: “Captain, what are you doing here? Thought you took the day off to pack? Or did you finally realize that it only takes one minute to pack?”
Holt: “Not if you care about your possessions and what the world sees when they look at you.” Ouch.
- “MAKE LEATHER JACKET BABIES” is definitely a note I wrote in the first Rosa/Pimento scene.
- Cheddar is clearly a “slippery bastard.”
- Jake: “He said Jacob. It’s biblical.”
- Pimento taking Terry’s advice (which was just Terry starting to say he’s deserving of love) naturally led to him proposing to Rosa. Just like Pimento naturally hid in the shower to wait for Terry. First of all, Pimento definitely knows how humans interact, and second of all, I kind of want Pimento to realize he loves Terry.
- Hey guys, did you know that Melissa Fumero is pregnant?
- I knew I would forget this: My favorite little moment of the episode is when Jake and Boyle first show up at Holt’s and Amy looks terrible. Why? Because of her allergies, and the show doesn’t think, “Hey, maybe we should remind everyone of Amy’s allergies.” It doesn’t draw attention to it, and it moves on.