I understand that this is a weird time to write about this particular subject, that it might have been more pertinent to talk about the importance on Brooklyn 99 earlier this year, when it was dramatically cancelled and then uncancelled, or later, when season 6 comes out. But it was coming back to University that made me understand why B99 is more than just a comedy, so I’m going to do it now.
For those of you who have so far missed out on the best TV show ever are unaware, Brooklyn 99 is a comedy set in a police precinct in New York City. While police-work forms the backdrop to the show, most of what makes it worth watching comes from the interplay between its various characters, as the exacting, deadpan Captain Raymond Holt whips his detective squad of loveable misfits into shape.
Now, there’s a lot to recommend the show that I could talk about- brilliant characterisation, progressive, unforced diversity, the countless memes and in-jokes the show has spawned over five seasons, but those have already been written about far better than I could.
Instead, I’m going to touch on something that I’m surprised that nobody else has dealt with. Namely, just how awful Brooklyn 99 makes those working in Law Enforcement look. Because you’ve probably only read this far if you’re a fan of the show, here’s a question for you- can you name a single cop outside of the 99th Precinct that the show portrays in anything like a positive light? Widen the search to the FBI agents, Homeland Security Personel and even Postal Inspection Service workers who appear on the show, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one who isn’t incompetent, corrupt, obnoxious, or all three.
Why is this relevant? Well, it gives a pretty good indication of why the highly dysfunctional cops of the 99th Precinct put up with each other. Sure, they all love each other deep down, but B99’s recurring characters are different shades of flighty, neurotic, immature and, in some cases, borderline sociopathic. I’d imaging that befriending coworkers like that is much easier if you know that everyone else is even worse.
And that’s why coming back to University and being reacquainted with the eccentricities of my social circle made me think about Brooklyn 99. Part of becoming an adult is being conscious of the flaws of people you care for. But it’s also learning that in a place as insecure and chaotic as the world is, people who have your back are one of the most valuable commodities around. So you put up with the flawed, imperfect people around you, you learn to accept and even love them, because screw it, you’re on the same side, and the rest of the world definitely isn’t.
I know there’s probably plenty of media that’s touched on this issue, but none have done it better than the slightly ridiculous cop show I love.