Brooklyn 99 is a show I recommend to literally everybody I meet, no matter what kind of TV they like to watch. It’s one of the only shows on television that consistently makes me laugh out loud. But it’s so much more than just a comedy; it’s got heart, too. You start to genuinely care about the characters and feel like you’re a part of the little family they’ve created at the 99th precinct. Even if you’re a little skeptical about some of the elements—maybe you’re not a fan of Andy Samberg (and if that’s true, I’m judging you!), or maybe you don’t like police procedurals—seriously, just trust me on this; it’s a great show. If you still need some convincing, check out the list below for five reasons that will hopefully convince you why you need to start watching Brooklyn 99 ASAP!
1. The characters.
Brooklyn 99 has some of the funniest, quirkiest characters on television since comedic powerhouses like The Office and Parks and Recreation. While I could go on and on about each one individually, I’ll just give you the highlights on some of my favorites. The main character, Jake Peralta, (played by the incredible Andy Samberg) is a hotshot cop who openly ignores the precinct rules. While he may be an ace detective, he is goofy and immature, often playing hilarious pranks and messing with his co-workers while still finding time to crack intense cases. While he may be a bit childish, Jake has a heart of gold and really cares for his friends and loved ones. There’s also Gina, who can only be described as a wild card. She has some of the absolute best lines on the show, considering most of what she says is wildly outlandish and don’t make any sense. She’s prone to narcissism, interpretive dancing, and doing everything she can to avoid getting any work done, which makes her insanely relatable. Last but not least, rounding out my top three characters is Rosa Diaz. Rose is tough, badass, and incredibly mysterious. She loves knives, her motorcycle, and making sure her colleagues know as little as possible about her. While she may be on the prickly outside, Rosa is a loyal friend and a great detective. Not only are the regular characters amazing, but the guest stars are just as strong. Keep your eyes peeled for appearances by Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Maya Rudolph and Eva Longoria!
2. The diversity.
Furthermore, the characters are incredibly diverse and nuanced. None of them are one-dimensional stereotypes, and their storylines are handled tastefully. Captain Ray Holt, whose arrival to the precinct catapults the series premiere, is the first openly gay black captain the NYPD has ever had. Throughout the series, he recounts the struggles and discrimination he faced as he worked his way up through the NYPD. Amy Santiago, one of the other detectives on the crew, is a high strung, Type-A personality with a strong desire to ascend the ranks of the NYPD; she, along with Rosa, is Latina. However, neither character ever plays into any offensive Latina stereotypes. Both Rosa and Amy are strong, smart, and badass females with compelling character arcs. Stephanie Beatriz, the actress who plays Rosa, recently came out as bisexual both in real life and on the show. She cited the importance of having a character who is not ashamed to openly declare herself as bisexual, as that type of representation is not often found on TV today. All the character are so well done, and constantly subvert expectations. It’s absolutely incredible to see such a diverse cast of characters take on prime time television!
3. The message.
While the show is primarily light-hearted, the show is not afraid to delve into some heavier topics. The show speaks about racism, homophobia, police brutality and many other relevant issues with tact and poise. In one episode, Sergeant Jeffords, played by the incredible Terry Crews, is racially profiled in his own neighborhood, and wrongfully detained while walking in front of his own home. In another episode, Rosa attempts to come out as bisexual to her family, only to be invalidated and ignored. Almost every episode, the squad comes together as a family to address these issues in a way that is thoughtful and genuinely heartfelt. The characters genuinely care for one another and love each other like a family. This shows deft ability to navigate both the most serious of topics and the goofiest of moments with such skill makes this show such a hit for me.
4. The humor.
The jokes on this show are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The cast and screenwriters expertly employ puns, quips, callbacks, physical comedy, and just genuine weirdness into this show to make a genuinely fun and entertaining viewing experience. Watching these insane characters get into even more insane scenarios makes me literally laugh out loud. Some of my absolute favorite episodes are the Halloween episodes. Each year, the members of the precinct work with and against each other in a battle of wits to be in possession of a certain special item by midnight on Halloween night to win a special prize. As you can only imagine, hilarious hijinks ensue, and the stakes only get higher as each season progresses. Seriously, if you only have time to watch one episode, watch the Halloween episode from season one. It’s Andy Samberg at his peak!
5. The binge-ability.
The show is easy to devour in a few days. Each episode is 20ish minutes long, and with such fast pacing, they seem to fly by. All four seasons are currently on Hulu, with new episodes from the current fifth season arriving on the streaming site the day after they air. The show is an easy distraction from work and school, especially with finals fast approaching. After a long day of class, work, club meetings, and homework, there’s nothing better than relaxing before bed with a quick episode of Brooklyn 99 to take my mind off the day’s stresses.
Brooklyn 99 is just one of those shows that ticks all the boxes for me: it’s got a great cast playing some truly stellar characters, it’s got heart, it’s got action, and it’s got some of the best writing in the game right now. The creators and the cast have truly come together to create something special. I’m excited to see what the show does in seasons to come!