Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “Full Boyle”

Illustration for article titled Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “Full Boyle”

Boyle’s got swagger. At least he does for the first part of “Full Boyle,” before it turns out he’s the same guy he always was, magnified because of his love for the professorial Vivian (Marilu Henner), whom we met in last week's episode. Taking characters out of their natural archetypes due to specific situations is natural comedic territory. Well-worn character traits getting the flipped treatment is always good for a laugh, especially when the tension between the character the audience knows and loves and the neo-version of said character start to rub up against each other. That’s how “Full Boyle” felt like it was starting out. Boyle, buoyed by the look of love, starts wearing surprisingly low-waisted jeans and acting like, well, Peralta. Even Chelsea has the momentary hots for him. But that sense of confidence and swagger never has time to build tension with the lap dog version of Boyle that has been one of his most defining traits since the beginning. It’s a bit of an abrupt, messy switch that goes on to define a loosely-held together episode that works because of killer one liners and the MVP performances of Joe Lo Truglio and Andre Braugher.

Boyle and Peralta team up in the beginning of “Full Boyle” to find an unlicensed cabbie who is picking up tourists and robbing them under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Since he’s only picking up tourists, it’s hard to get a read on him (“He was either Latino, Arab, or Mexican. Either way, very Muslim.”). Boyle and Peralta’s attempts to catch the cabbie were quite funny (“We’re both Carries!”), yet, their attention is not fully on the case, as Peralta is worried that Boyle is screwing up yet another relationship by moving way too fast—a.k.a. going Full Boyle. This plot worked up until the double dinner date when it lost the chemistry between the two cops (Bernice, for one, felt obvious, like a missed opportunity), ending in the pepper spray misfire that was not nearly as funny as the former part of the episode, even if it did lead to Boyle’s engagement to a woman who goes as full-on Boyle as he does. Lo Truglio is particularly good in episodes that focus heavily on his character. Boyle could be so horribly irritating in his sycophancy, but Lo Truglio plays him with such heart, it’s impossible not love this guy.

Holt is preoccupied with his own political problems to pay attention to whatever Peralta and Boyle are getting up to. There’s a challenger to Holt’s dominance as president and founder of the African American Gay and Lesbian New York City Policeman’s Association (although, that’s a mouthful so we’ll just call it AAGLNYCPA). Holt on the defensive, thrown out of whack by a young upstart, was beautiful to see. Braugher’s stilted line delivery (“Now let’s figure out a way to… destroy him.” “My stomach is… in flux.”) was so perfect for a man normally in control who is so thrown off his game that it takes Gina to bring him back down to earth. It’s once again worth noting how Brooklyn Nine-Nine deals with its diversity issue: There could be easy jokes to be made from the double-minority whammy of AAGLNYCPA, but those are never at issue. Brian Jensen is not reason to make a gay joke or a black joke; he’s a reason to throw Holt off, to have him protect the club he founded and nurtured when he was the only member.

Meanwhile, Diaz and Santiago are faced with Super Dan (Nate Torrence), a caped crusader of his Brooklyn neighborhood. They dismiss him, only to learn later that he has valuable information that could lead to arrests in their long-simmering case. It’s a trifling plot for the most part, but it illustrated something for me that Brooklyn Nine-Nine does not commit itself to very often: dealing with Brooklyn itself, and the people the Nine-Nine are meant to serve and protect. Meaningful interaction with the outside world doesn’t happen very often, save for a few examples, like Craig Robinson’s Pontiac Bandit or Fred Armisen’s recurring shut-in weirdo. Parks And Recreation could use normal Pawnee-ans only occasionally because of its small town roots and the nature of the Parks department. But this is a show that takes place in one of the more diverse metropolises in the world (not to mention one known for its world-class wackadoos), and policing is such a public job. Even this episode was firmly set in New York, with one of its major plot points having to do with livery cabs (which are creepy as hell and I never understood why people rode in them) and one of the great New York pastimes—making fun of rube tourists. Glimpses at characters like Super Dan show that tapping into the world outside of the precinct may do Brooklyn Nine-Nine some good in future episodes.

Stray observations:

  • Guys, apparently Olive Garden is also really into Terry Crews. Weirdest cross-promotional tweet of all time?
  • “He was Canadian, so he said was probably his fault he got robbed and apologized for wasting my time.” “Oh Canada. Truly Odie to America’s Garfield.”
  • Floorgasm appears!! “It was inspired by the city of New York in that I stole it from some kids on the subway.”
  • “I love it when you talk broth.”