NBC has confirmed that Brooklyn Nine Nine will move to the network after Fox announced on 10 May that it would not be renewing the show for a sixth season – and despite a loud online campaign from fans.
The hashtag #RenewB99 trended on Twitter worldwide following the announcement, as fans and celebrities alike express their bitter disappointment at losing the much-loved programme.
RENEW BROOKLYN NINE NINE
I ONLY WATCH LIKE 4 THINGS
THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS#RenewB99
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 10, 2018
When we said we didn’t deserve Brooklyn Nine Nine, that didn’t mean we wanted it taken away.
Since the 80s sitcoms have typically followed a format of spiteful humour, homophobia, racism and misogyny. Perhaps it’s not always been purposeful, but it’s always been there. The ‘dude’ jokes about ‘acting gay’, the sexualisation and subsequent slut shaming of female characters and the mere lack of representation. Even in classic favourites such as Friends and How I Met Your Mother, these themes range from subtle to unmistakable.
Brooklyn Nine Nine, on the other hand, firmly eschews these themes. Set in the (fictional) 99th Precinct of the NYPD, Brooklyn Nine Nine follows a group of detectives who, whilst goofy and hilarious, are also excellent at their jobs, tolerant, kind and caring.
“The storyline has been lauded by members of the LGBT community as being sensitive, humorous and relatable.”
From the very first episode they’ve had an openly gay captain in a loving marriage heading up the precinct. His relationship is not singled out, but portrayed as any other would be – but without ignoring the issues that Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) has endured in his tenure. More recently, Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) has come out as bisexual on the show. The storyline has been lauded by members of the LGBT community, particularly by bisexual people (myself included) as being sensitive, humorous and relatable. In addition, Beatriz herself is bisexual, another important step for representation.
In an interview with BUILD Series, Beatriz told the story of her audition for the role of Rosa – and that, once she heard that Melissa Fumero had been cast as Amy Santiago, she gave up hope on being cast, stating that shows never “cast two Latina women”.
The show approaches issues of race with sensitivity, but keeps its humour all the while, voicing and broadcasting important discussions whilst remaining one of the funniest shows on television. In Season 4, the show tackled police racism in an episode written by Phil Augusta Jackson. Jackson stated in an interview with Buzzfeed that they didn’t want the episode to come off “too preachy. Another concern was [that it would feel] too much like an after school special, where we divert so greatly from the typical tone of the show that it ends up not feeling like the show.”
The episode centred around Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews), who is stopped by a white officer, who reaches for his gun, manhandles and frisks him. The episode then goes on to see another conflict – Holt and Jeffords, the two black lead characters, disagree over how to respond to the difficult situation. It’s a sobering moment for the show, but is beautifully done.
Jackson stated in the same interview: “My hope is that people watch the episode, and even if it’s in a small way, [recognise] that racial profiling is a very real thing in this country, that racism is still a very real thing in this country, and that it’s a complex issue that is worth talking about.”
“Brooklyn Nine Nine has been a ‘punch up’ only comedy from day one, never stepping on any minority group for the sake of a laugh.”
Even down to the friendships within the show, it is a work of art. Compared to shows such as The Big Bang Theory – which centres around a group of supposed friends mocking each other for enjoying things they like, and trying to change each other – it is a hive of supportive attitudes. Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) are prime examples. Much like Scrubs’ JD & Turk, the two are supportive and caring toward each other – even when it seems like they might not be the most compatible pair. It’s heart warming and hilarious to watch.
The show also shuns toxic masculinity in its approach to its male characters – Terry Jeffords, the picture of traditional masculinity (his strength and physical form are referred to often in the show), is also frequently shown to be a caring and devoted father and husband, a supportive and dedicated boss, and has no trouble expressing his emotions or being unashamedly enthusiastic about the things he enjoys (“Terry loves yogurt”).
It is part of a new era of sitcom, such as The Good Place, Parks and Recreation and Bob’s Burgers, whose premise relies not on insult comedy or dark humour but manages to be gut-achingly funny whilst maintaining the wholesome nature we’ve come to love. And in what is, let’s face it, a pretty sh*tty time in the world – isn’t that exactly what we need?
Far too many TV sitcoms continue to rely on the classic insults and easy targets, in a time when we know better. Brooklyn Nine Nine has been a ‘punch up’ only comedy from day one, never stepping on any minority group for the sake of a laugh – it got the laugh without relying on such tired, cruel tactics.
This is 2018, damn it. So when we said we didn’t deserve Brooklyn Nine Nine, well we lied. We do deserve this show. It’s about damn time.
Yet again we managed to save the precinct – Nine Nine!
#Brooklyn99 IS COMING BACK FOR SEASON 6 YOU GUYS ON NBC!!!!! You did this!! You got loud and you were heard and you saved our show!! Thank you!! Thank you to NBC!! NINE NINE!!!!! pic.twitter.com/cTycfF4FoR
— Melissa Fumero (@melissafumero) May 12, 2018
Update 11/05/18: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brooklyn Nine Nine producers are already taking calls from other interested networks, including Hulu, Netflix, TBS and NBC – our fingers are crossed!
Update 12/05/18: This article originally announced the cancellation of Brooklyn Nine Nine, and has now been updated to reflect NBC’s announcement that it will pick the series up.