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

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The show’s most underdeveloped characters are paired up in this episode when Jake’s ridiculous spending habits (which includes purchasing six massage chairs, several turntables and 12 purchases of cinematic classic Olympus Has Fallen on PPV) put him in danger of losing his beloved nanna’s apartment, although the writers have made great progress making Jake a more likeable, well-rounded egotist who learns from his blunders and consistently tries to do the right thing.

Gina, on the other hand, has only been the most misplaced and undefined character of the group, usually coming off as a snarky psychopath (who’s had eight fiancees but ONE “not divorce,” apparently). We learn in this episode that she and Jake grew up together, and she volunteers to help try and figure out his financial situation. I can see there are attempts at trying to make her more structured. She’s responsible enough to know how unorganized Jake is (tubs, both plastic and bath, filled with unopened letters), and that dealing with a loan shark is a bad idea. How she handled Jake’s hurtful reaction after learning she has money to buy the apartment and rent the room to him at least showed that Gina is not just a cynical, quippy crazy person, and maybe this is the start of getting this character more in step with the rest of the great cast. This was a better stab at making her less implausible than earlier this season when her apartment was broken into, but even that wasn’t well-executed because of what she put Amy and Rosa through in that episode.

Last night, they along with the rest of the precinct were subjected to performance evaluations from Holt. Amy’s reaction to his only question of identifying a weakness predictably short-circuits the boot-licker’s brain. Unlike Gina, every other character on this show has their trait, and Santiago’s is an ambitious, comically unbalanced overachiever. But it’s relatable. She wants to be the best, even at the expense of her social life and being a killjoy, as she and Jake later points out. Very little has been relatable or fitting into the show’s world in regard to Gina and her (at times) creepy quirks.

Rosa and Boyle were busy in a B-story that served mostly to show the change in their friendship since Boyle started dating Professor Vivian. He helps her deal with a schlubby, face-shaving member of the weekend squad (Matt Walsh) who routinely clogs up her keyboard with facial hair. Their plan of stuffing his locker with human hair and shaving cream backfires (and gets in Boyle’s throat) when they find out about the bad luck he’s facing (sick wife and dog, plus a cancer diagnosis). A less Rosa-obsessed Boyle apologizes for his creepiness in pursuit of her over the years, and passes on her invitation to hang out. Glad to see she didn’t react with jealousy, but actually with happiness for Boyle. Lesser shows could’ve have certainly gone the cliched route.

  • in baltimore

    love the show. your criticisms are gentle, accurate and a little nerdy and would be nice prods to the writers. remember: It’s a comedy, so if it goes nuts once in a while – thank God – just like Seinfeld. That series took a couple years to really find its stride and we’ll be lucky – with these crappy ratings – if B99 gets to grow. I do, though, think this is a great cast and I do like most of the writing, gags, actors – all of them, even Gina. There are a lot of players, and time is needed to flesh them out, but there are a lot of routes to go with B99. I don’t need them all right away. I think Boyle and Rosa, B plot they may be, are a fascinating couple. I don’t agree with what you wrote: I think she did get jealous but took the high road. These characters struggle to admit who they crush on, just like real people. Rosa likes Boyle, but he was so crazy, over-the-top in love with her at the outset, she couldn’t stand it. Now that he’s gone cool, he’s become far more attractive. She likes him. I guarantee it.

    • Anthony Hoffman

      I totally agree with your points! Thanks for reading!