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January 22, 2014

The Couch Potato: It doesn't take a detective to find a good cop show

NEW CASTLE — The entertainment awards season has dawned.

It’s the time of year to watch a myriad of organizations bestow accolades upon those people who take part in the noblest of all professions — act like somebody else.

That’s right, everyone. It’s time to honor those people who do the best job of pretending that they are someone other than who they really are.

So yeah, acting awards are pointless in the view of the old Couch Potato, but there is something intoxicating about the beauty and artistry that is put on display at these shows. While I find it weird that we put actors on such a pedestal, I do understand that these are the people who inspire us, make us cry and in the best case, make us laugh.

There’s at least some nobility in the talent to make people laugh.

To that end, there was a bit of a shocker at the Golden Globes, which were hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. I got to see bits and pieces of their hosting, and I will have to admit it was pretty funny.

But getting back to the shocker. A Couch Potato favorite was able to take home two awards, even though the show has managed to air only 12 episodes in its lifespan. The show is “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and it runs each Tuesday night at 8:30 on Fox.

Surprisingly, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” won for Best Television Comedy and star Andy Samberg, who plays Detective Jake Paralta, won for Best Performance in a Television Series for Comedy.

Awards aside, I’m proud to say that the Couch Potato has been on this show since the beginning. “Saturday Night Live” alum Samberg has always been funny in a young Adam Sandler kind of copycat way, but the show also had other things going for it.

Creators Michael Schur and Daniel Goor cut their teeth on some of the best comedies television has offered in the past few years. This is the list that either one, or both, of these men has written for: “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “Saturday Night Live,” and a former Couch Potato blog subject that was completely underappreciated in its time, “The Comeback.”

That is a murderer’s row of television comedy, so there was no reason to not give “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” a try this fall.

The Couch Potato has been rewarded by a show that includes the subtleties of “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation,” but also the bombastic nature of “Saturday Night Live,” and “Conan.” The show smartly follows in the footsteps of “The Comeback” and other single camera shows by giving it a “reality" feel, otherwise known as "mockumentary" television.

Samberg has shined playing a petty, immature (basically himself) detective working in Brooklyn along side his co-workers who are narcissistic and incompetent, but funny nonetheless.

The show is able to blend comedy and absurdist plots with enough drama and high stakes situations to draw the viewer in. You won’t be disappointed by the thoughtfulness and cleverness that goes into each episode as the producers have done well to create a show that plays out like a serialized drama, but in a comedic way. Episodes are contained, though some aspects of the show are threaded through each week.

So even if award shows can be petty and capricious, they at least did get one right with “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

You owe it to yourself to check out an episode and revel in Samberg’s ability to act like someone else for a half hour each week.


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