Fan art by Judith Chamizo
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of those shows you simply can’t imagine your life without. Once you first dive into this diverse, captivating comedy; you’ll hold it with you forever.
For those who haven’t been blessed by Brooklyn Nine-Nine yet, allow me to introduce it.
Based in New York, the series follows a team of detectives working for the NYPD at the fictional 99th precinct. There’s Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), who’s immature yet much to his colleagues’ annoyance, is very good at this job. Among those most annoyed by Jake is Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), the brilliant bookworm who likely has her fridge arranged in alphabetical order. Jake’s best friend and colleague is the eccentric yet noble Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) who is (for a while) completely infatuated with Rosa.
Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) is the more mysterious one of the bunch who could take down anyone with a simple stare. Their fellow detectives are Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller,) who’s abilities as detectives you’ll question 98% of the time, until that one moment where they prove to be helpful. The sergeant of the team is Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) who’s an incredibly protective family man and the captain is Ray Holt, the by-the-book and hilariously expressionless leader. Last but not least is Gina Linetti, the sarcastic administrator who’s usually doing anything other than her work.
These characters are collectively one of the best ensembles on TV.
brooklyn nine-nine is the best, least problematic, most diverse comedy show on today’s television, has won TWO emmy awards but still it’s own network doesn’t give the promotion it deserves… anyways, this amazing show could unfairly get cancelled anytime now so PLEASE WATCH IT
— anabea🏳️🌈 (@amysrntiago) 22 November 2017
But what makes Brooklyn Nine-Nine one of the best shows on television? And why is it such an important show to have on air?
It Doesn’t Shy Away From Diversity
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is beautifully diverse. Casting two Latina women to play two of the lead detectives is something that many shows and networks may not have considered, but not this one. It’s crazy that this is something that we even have to praise, but until the media is more naturally inclusive, those who get it right deserve to be celebrated.
Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero compliment the show exceptionally. They provide positive representation for a still underrepresented (and misrepresented) community and Brooklyn Nine-Nine would be incomplete without what they bring.
The diversity of the cast of Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn’t end there, as we also have Terry Crews and Andre Braugher in lead roles. It puts two black men in positions of power and does it well, conforming to zero stereotypes and providing the audience with two incredibly unique yet brilliant characters.
The diversity of the cast is just the starting point. The way these characters are represented takes this show even further into the spotlight.
It Doesn’t Conform to Stereotypes
Having a diverse cast is of little significance if the characters they play are portrayed stereotypically. Thankfully, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, this is a none-issue.
Let’s start with the ladies of B99.
Amy Santiago, Rosa Diaz and Gina Linetti couldn’t be more different from one another, and that’s what I absolutely adore. These are 3 multi-layered women whose differences are never a cause of conflict. Some writers are unfortunately unable to write different women in one workplace without having them get “catty” or pitting them against one another, usually over a man rather than their work. In B99, their personalities are all drastically different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have in-depth friendships with one another.
Rosa Diaz is tough and mysterious and it never once needs to be explained. She doesn’t need to have some tragic backstory, there doesn’t need to be an explanation for her personality, it’s just her character. And we love her for it.
Fans have also been speculating Rosa’s sexuality for the past few seasons, with Stephanie Beatriz saying it’s something she’d love to see too. Having a bisexual actress play a bisexual character would make this representation even more meaningful, thus I hope it’s a side to her character that’s casually worked into the show.
rosa diaz is really going to get a girlfriend this is really happening???? pic.twitter.com/BJ1HXwQlPT
— chloe (@citrine2016) 23 November 2017
Latina’s are regularly stereotyped and sexualised in the media, but that’s never once the case on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Amy Santiago is part of the show’s leading relationship, but she’s never once reduced to “the love interest” as so many women are. She’s Jake’s equal and is actually his main competition, with him even acknowledging that she’s deservingly the better detective and leader.
The funniest character for me is undoubtedly Gina Linetti. Gina’s care-free attitude could easily have been stereotyped as making her seem “ditzy” or incompetent, but she’s genuinely intelligent and incredibly self-confident. She’s at the core of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s comedy and the writers give her great material to work with.
One of the most amazing aspects of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the character of Captain Holt, an openly gay black man. He provides incredibly important and positive representation for the LGBTQ+ community which I could praise endlessly.
His sexuality is both the least important part of his character but also one of the most important parts of the series. Holt being gay doesn’t define his character. He’s married to a man and that’s as casually mentioned as it would be with any heterosexual character who’s in a relationship. But simultaneously, Brooklyn Nine-Nine carefully touches on the hardships he faces being a black, gay man in his personal and work life. His sexuality isn’t made the punch line of any harmful jokes and his personality rather than his sexuality is put to the forefront.
Then, we have Terry.
Terry is tall and muscular and it would have been easy to label him as a “traditionally masculine” character, but he instead goes against any preconceptions you could stereotypically come up with. At the start of the series, Terry is unnerved about getting in on the action again. Why? Because he and his wife have recently had twin girls and he doesn’t want to put himself in danger and miss out on them growing up. He’s a loving and emotional family man which (rightfully so) doesn’t “strip his masculinity away”.
Then we have the two white men, Jake Peralta and Charles Boyle. Jake is the lead male, but the show in no way revolves around him. Brooklyn Nine-Nine explores each character equally and doesn’t just give the best lines and storylines to him. Part of Jake’s character is his immaturity, but he significantly matures throughout each season. It’s also worth noting that even though he is immature, he never once makes harmful jokes (men’s immaturity is often used as an excuse for when they make such jokes). Jake is a feminist and he continuously speaks out against bigotry.
Charles is another great addition to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The majority of his interests are traditionally non-masculine, but it’s another none-issue. The men are represented just as well as the women and it emphasises that it’s impossible for everyone to fit into one box that society is trying so hard to stuff them into.
It Gives Us Realistic, Complex Relationships
The relationships on Brooklyn Nine-Nine are also worth mentioning. A few of my favourites are:
Jake and Amy – This is a romantic relationship that develops over the course of a few seasons. Jake and Amy have one of those dynamics that you’re rooting for from the very beginning. It’s a very healthy relationship where the two constantly support and uplift one another.
Holt and Kevin – Another one of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s most important relationships is the marriage of Holt and his husband, Kevin. Their relationship is long term and like Jake and Amy’s, is an incredibly healthy one. These healthy relationships are the norm on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and it’s actually refreshing to see characters happy for once, rather than be in constant turmoil.
The fact that the above two relationships are interracial is worth noting too. Whilst interracial relationships can bring up issues for many real life couples, B99 makes them as “normal” as any other relationship would. If obstacles arise in these relationships, it has nothing to do with race.
A relationship I also adore is the one between Jake and Holt.
This is one that takes a few seasons to develop, but eventually Holt becomes a father figure to Jake, and Jake looks up to him. One of my favourite moments is in Season 1 Episode 8 when Jake punches a guy for calling Holt a “homo”. He doesn’t hesitate to not only stand up for Holt, but to stand up against prejudice – a key theme in Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The female relationships are also extremely positive. They don’t need to be the best of friends to get on, they’re simply allowed to exist in the same space and look out for each other. They don’t need to sit around the precinct and talk about boys together, because funnily enough, that’s not all women do. They aren’t pitted against each other and are seen as equals, rather than rivals. In a workplace and world predominantly dominated by men, they understand that they need to have each other’s backs.
It Tells the Right Stories
On paper, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is simply a cop comedy. But in actual fact, it’s so much more than that. Brooklyn Nine-Nine touches on a plethora of different issues without making them seem like a big deal. Not just that, it does it well.
In comedy, it can be all too easy to use stereotypes and make harmful jokes for the sake of a laugh. B99 is never once problematic and addresses important topics in a lighthearted way that still educates and entertains the audience.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine touches on racism, homophobia, sexism, masculinity, police brutality and deserves every bit of praise it can get for it.
In conclusion, watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s progressive, it’s woke, it has incredible dynamics and dimensional characters and it’s absolutely hilarious.
Keep the ratings up and show the network that this is a series that deserves to be seen. You can watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine Tuesday’s on Fox, on Netflix or get Brooklyn Nine Nine Season 1-4 on DVD. Live tweet it using #Brooklyn99, show the cast your support, rep some Brooklyn Nine Nine merch, get your friends watching it – do whatever you can to spread word about it.
Why do you love Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Let me and others know in the comments!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine was also included in my round up of underrated series: 7 Underrated TV Series You Need to Know About