TV Review: Brooklyn Nine Nine: ‘Old School’

Brooklyn Nine Nine

S1, E8: ‘Old School’

Oh, Pineapples. What did you do?

Grade: B

I’ve been on a steady televisual diet of chest-beating melodrama and OMGWTFBBQ for the past month with Sherlock, so I don’t know if my brain can cope with the relative sanity and sweetness of Brooklyn Nine Nine. So even if we’re back in relatively familiar ‘Peralta learns a lesson. In other news, Rosa is scary’ territory, I will take it.

Peralta meets his idol: the hard-bitten journalist Jimmy Brogan (played impeccably by Stacey Keach) who chronicled the swearing, drinking, swaggering cops of the seventies. The man Peralta credits with getting him into the police force. (So now you know whom to blame…). Of course it makes sense that Peralta would fetishise a certain maverick machismo. But – as Holt tries to warn him – the Good Old Days When Men Were Men were not good for everyone. Or indeed most people.

Peralta’s too excited to listen, though. He’s so desperate for Brogan’s approval that he lowers his own bodyweight in strong alcohol and shoots his mouth off – on the record – about what a pencil-pushing stickler Holt is. Appalled at himself, he asks Brogan to take the offending quotes out, and Brogan obliges – but not before calling Holt a ‘homo’. Peralta sticks up for his captain with a fine display of unreconstructed machismo, punching out the bigoted old sot. And I have to say that while I think the lesson learned is a partial one at best, I cheered in my seat. And besides, where would we be if Peralta learned all his lessons at once?

In the B-plot, Diaz is testifying in an aggravated assault case, and Terry and Boyle are trying to give her an image overhaul. Don’t intimidate or insult the jury, defendant or stenographer. Don’t look like a member of a bike gang. Smile a little, but not too much. Blink a little, but not too much. Or too slow. Or too fast. That sort of thing. So of course poor Diaz develops a nervous tic and beams beatifically when describing a horrific beating. Never mind, though, Boyle counsels her to find her happy place, and she pulls it together, delivering a polished, professional testimony that puts away a bad guy. When asked about her happy place, though, never fear – Diaz will terrify you.

All in all, it’s slight and a fairly run-of-the-mill return to the show after a long hiatus. But it’s fine. It’s fine. I will take a nice cool sip of sherbet after the screeching Sriracha-laced cocktail of the past fortnight.

Odds and sods

  • ‘Is the sky some big blue hat that the world wears?’ ‘No. And no one has ever thought that.’
  • ‘I lost my virginity to Mrs. Scraggs’ daughter. It was…very fast.’ Boyle: ‘Nice’. Peralta and Santiago: [wear identical expressions]
  • ‘[Death wish] is what everyone calls me because I burst through doors.’ ‘You go through doors normally and everyone calls you ‘Pineapples’.’ ‘My grandmother calls me ‘Pineapples’ and I regret telling you that.’
  • ‘Sir, that is a brilliant idea.’ ‘It wasn’t an idea, it was a scathing indictment of your personal hero.’ ‘Eh, six of one.’
  • The cutaway of Hitchcock and Scully during their coke phase, though…that thing’s going to star in my nightmares for a long, long time.
  • ‘You look like a corpse we fished out of the river.’ ‘Wrong, I look like a cool rockstar who OD’ed in his pool.’
  • ‘The most comfortable place on earth. It’s like crawling into your mother.’ ‘Is that something people want to do?’

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