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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 1.02 - The Tagger - Review

The one where Jake gets a babysitter.  Although Jake may have come to respect his statue-like Captain in the pilot, that does not mean he is ready to grow up and give-up the hijinks.  Holt wants Jake to take his job more seriously and stop goofing off so much.  And also clean up a little bit, as he’s the only officer with mice living in his desk (hey Algernon!).  Jake however, longs for the good ol’ days with lazy Captain McGinley when they used to tase cantaloupes.  Or computers as it may be.  And so Jake gets stuck with a babysitter until Holt thinks he is doing the job perfectly.  Not even a $50, or $40, or what’s really a $30 bribe can get him unsupervised once more.

The Captain babysits Jake on his minivan stakeout to find the police car penis tagger.  Jake gets really into character as he goes undercover as dad-of-two, Harvey, complete with sandals.  Hey, Harvey’s a sandals guy - blame him.  Naturally the sandals fly off as the two chase the punk, leaving Harvey/Jake fumbling to pursue the perp.  The professionalism thing clearly takes a while.

Charles spends most of the episode worrying about a prediction made by Gina’s highly credible* psychic friend. (*not at all credible as a psychic, perhaps credible as a shoe salesperson).  After she says that Rosa will never love him, he spends the rest of the episode trying to see if her predictions actually come true or not.  Gina, using her psychic, manages to keep Charles in a constant state of worry - at one point confining him to his wheelie office chair, for fear he’ll be grievously injured if he leaves.  One thing is clear about the Rosa-Charles-Gina triangle - Charles loves Rosa, and Gina loves messing with Charles.  Or anyone really, but gullible Charles does seem to be the bored administrator’s favorite mouse with whom to toy.

When Jake decides gets down to business (as the bribery plan fails), he really buckles down.  Although he was resistant to the idea of official police work, such as filing paper work or evicting Algernon the mouse from his desk, with some charts and maps (and maybe some glitter), Jake turns out a detailed 25-page report on the “genitalman.”  After all the work he put into the report, including the About the Author section, Jake gets frustrated when the Deputy Commissioner, father of the teen tagger, throws it in the yogurt-filled trash and takes his son away without punishment.

Once again, Jake learns a valuable lesson from his wise and stony-faced boss, as the show tries to gloss over the learning moment.  “What kind of father cares so little for his son that he lets him get away with everything?” Captain Holt asks Jake.  Oh wait, is THAT why he’s been trying to get him to behave?  Thanks for the sage words Captain.  And with that Jake heads off with Holt as back-up, not babysitter, to arrest the cop car penis-tagger.

Jake makes some sort of effort to continue with his dedication to professionalism by showing up on time to work the next day.  Of course, he climbs out of a tent in the conference room in his pajamas, but hey - baby steps.

Similarly to the pilot, this episode was light and fun - showing the human side of cops instead of focusing on the crime-solving side.  Jake and Holt’s tug-of-war is clearly the centerpiece of the show, with their different takes on, well, everything, providing comedy and “lesson learning.”  In a similar fashion to past Mike Schur shows like Parks and Recreation, there are some quick flashbacks for jokes.  It’s a great way to get a quick laugh, although the uncaring Captain McGinley was also used in the same way in the pilot episode.

Some characters are coming along further than others (as would be expected - it’s only episode 2).  Aside from the main dynamic duo, Gina pops in this episode as she does what she does best - avoid work and mentally manipulate personnel.  Rosa and Amy stay in the background of the episode and there isn’t much characterization there.  Rosa’s still the angry firecracker with an odd soft spot for Charles (sometimes), and Amy tries hard to be a cool cop, but that’s really all we’ve got of her right now.  Hopefully her character will develop as she’s brought up to the A story with Jake.  Charles features a little more heavily in the episode, and just cements his place as a nice, but very naïve, cop, who will pine after Rosa even knowing their chances are slim.

Once again it’s hard not to compare it to Schur’s other show Parks, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine stays away from the cynical-ness that comedies can fall into and instead is full of earnestness.  Depending on what direction they continue to go with the tone, B99 could be the cop version of Scrubs.

Here’s some new stuff we’ve learned about the characters this week:

- Rosa condones police brutality
- Charles is just as gullible as his round face would imply.
- Jake only has about $30.
- Terry does NOT want a SUV for his family - they ROLL!
- Gina really likes to screw with people. Does she actually work at the Nine-Nine?
- Captain Holt can make a good pun (“Genitalman”)
- Amy...is still a bit of a mystery.
- Officers Dumb and Dumber have a very limited knowledge of male anatomy, at least when it come to identifying it in graffiti.

What’dya think of the second episode of B99*?

*I’ve decided to shorten it to “B99” - because I love a good “abbrev.” …I’m a dork.

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