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“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” review: “The Party”

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The gang from the 99 try and predictably fail to not be themselves (to Terry’s dismay) at Holt and his husband Kevin’s (or Kev’s) snooty house party. It was a great chance for the entire ensemble (including the little-used Hitchcock and shorts-wearing Scully) to display all the kooky traits that make them funny.

The primary focus was on Jake wanting to impress Kevin and failing miserably at trying to be sophisticated. Jake thinks inviting them to the party was all Kevin’s idea. There wasn’t a case to solve in this episode, but Jake is able to deduce that Kevin actually hates cops, despite being married to one (we also get the tidbit during Holt’s spat with Kevin that he likes the 99 gang). When it was announced Marc Evan Jackson would be playing the mentioned-but-never-seen other half of Holt, it wasn’t what I’m sure we all we thinking Holt’s significant other would look like, but Jackson and Andre Braugher played off each other well, as he did with Andy Samberg and his lack of knowledge regarding a New Yorker article. That’s to say nothing of the renowned “crap library” (or bathroom, ’cause Jake’s a dope).

Marilu Henner is a nice addition as a fellow food connoisseur Boyle meets at the soiree. It remains to be seen if they’ll form a triangle of sorts if Rosa still has feelings for him. Henner’s a TV pro and a vet of one of the best sitcoms of all time. The physical commitment in the coatroom make-out scene with she, Joe Lo Truglio and a leaf was hilarious. And flavorful for both, I’m sure.

A few episodes back, the show made a lackluster attempt at trying to humanize the otherwise crazy Gina when her place was broken into. At the party, her self-centered, borderline psychotic personality is the object of fascination to a psychologist and several others who hang on her every word. It feels out of step with everything else to offer up what seems like a legitimate crazy person (who steals things), or at least an unrefined move on the part of the writers. And then I keep forgetting she’s supposed to be Holt’s assistant.

In the Super Bowl episode, we progressed a little toward what most likely will be an Amy/Jake relationship, but “The Party” puts that on hold. I like how the show inches that story forward only every couple episodes. They can be together without that underlining their interactions as they did in the scene where brown-nosing Amy sneaks upstairs to spy on Holt’s DVR choices (he watches Sherlock and Bones) only to run into Jake looking for the New Yorker article in the aforementioned “crap library.” We’re then reminded again that Amy’s allergic to dogs. This was a very funny episode. Plus, it offered a portrayal of a gay married couple where that fact isn’t the main focus or used for cheap laughs. Progressive, but then there’s the “crap library,” though that was funny. And so Jake.