Current Network Shows

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Good, The Bad, and the Hilariously Funny

Catholic-perspective review on police comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I’ve been a pretty regular watcher of the (formerly) Fox detective sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” since the very beginning. I even got a bunch of my family members into the show after I watched the hilarious pilot. 

The thing about this Golden Globe-winning comedy is that it’s been pretty consistently hilarious and high-quality ever since. But, like pretty much every really well-done comedy show ever in our modern TV landscape, it does have its fair share of raunchy pitfalls.


The show follows the 99th precinct of the Brooklyn police department, particularly a small group of detectives (who conveniently always end up on the same shifts together) and their new, uptight and unemotional captain. 

The main character, played by former SNL guy Andy Samberg, is a world-class goof-off who is somehow also a very good detective. So he clashes pretty hard initially with the new by-the-book Captain Holt. 

The rest of the ensemble consists of a perfect variety of hapless/overly-driven/overly-angry/all-around weird characters whose personalities and faults clash for a consistently hilarious comedy, as they work together to solve crimes and take down perps.

The High Points

Solid comedy. I feel like most comedies do their job and make you actually laugh out loud maybe once or twice an episode (sometimes less, if we’re honest). But this show, I laugh out loud usually several times every episode. Sometimes it’s so funny we have to pause it to catch our breath so we don’t miss the next joke.

Beyond the clear high quality of the writing, there’s not a whole lot more. I mean, the hilariousness alone is definitely its biggest draw. But other secondary pluses are:

— It’s a nice combo for anyone who likes both hour-long cop dramas and comedies.

— Acting and storylines are good, no complaints of lameness or stilted delivery here.

— An occasional glimpse at deeper things (okay, it’s very occasional, but still…). For instance, Andy Samberg’s character has some large daddy issues from having an absentee father. And the sergeant (played by Terry Crews) has to learn to face his fears after a close call, in one subplot. Mostly, the show skims along the funny surface of things, as you’d expect in a sitcom. But it does occasionally offer an insight on things like family, duty, or sacrifice.

The Bad

So, sometimes you can watch a few episodes of this show in a row and start to feel like, “This is actually kind of on the clean side, for a TV-14 comedy…” And then you reach an episode that has sex joke, after cruder sex joke, after even cruder sex joke, with a lot of pro-LGBT agenda thrown in for good measure.

At least as far as the sporadic raunchiness is concerned, my theory revolves around the fact that TV show episodes are each written by different members of the writing staff, on a more or less rotating basis. So, though the main framework of each episode is beaten out by everyone together, my guess is that a member or two of this show’s staff has a particular penchant for pulling out the raunchiest angle to each joke in their episodes.

My husband and I have felt the need to just skip a couple episodes over the course of the time its aired, because they seemed to be headed pretty downhill in the crudity department. But I think we’re probably a little more sensitive than most. 

As far as the pro-LGBT agenda, that’s definitely gotten worse as the seasons have progressed. Initially there was one homosexual main character, and sometimes they don’t make a big deal out of it, but sometimes it feels a bit like they’re trying to hit you over the head with it. And then this past season, another character came out as being bisexual, and there’ve been a couple episodes that partially revolved around this.

Over All

I think the high quality of the show’s writing and comedy does tend to make me overlook some things I’d never put up with in a lower quality show. 

Can I recommend it? With caution. 

It’s probably not the best show for someone who is highly sensitive and easily offended by sexual jokes. And I’ve also never really wanted to seem like I have a totally unreserved love for this show, because it does at times so clearly support the homosexual agenda. 

But is it hilarious and entertaining, and often decent fun? Absolutely.