Brooklyn Nine-Nine // Reading the Show

ReadingTheShow

I watch a lot of TV, and after seeing plenty of other blogs incorporate their love of TV into their blogs as well, I just had to do one of my own! Of course, I want to make it bookish somehow, so I’m going to look at some of my favorite shows and highlight books to check out based on your own love of these obviously amazing television programs – you are most welcome.

For the very first post of this feature, I went with a great comedy currently in its third season:

2013 – current | created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur | airs on Fox, Tuesday at 9:00pm
stars: Andy Samberg, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Chelsea Peretti, Dirk Blocker, Joel McKinnon Miller, and Andre Braugher

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is an ensemble comedy about a talented-but-carefree detective, a by-the-book police captain and their precinct colleagues. While based in the workplace, the series is not really about the job – it’s about the men and women behind the badge. (Hulu)

As a comedy about a bunch of police officers working in the 99th precinct of New York City, workplace hijinks are to be expected, and they’re certainly one of the best parts of the whole show. It’s not super-surprising that YA books tend to lack funny and entertaining workplaces, since most protagonists are a bit busy with their school career, love life, and possibly saving the world, depending on the genre. Some protagonists do manage to find jobs at quirky and fun jobs, though, like the protagonists in Top Ten Clues You’re CluelessThe Truth About Forever, and The Art of Lainey. With these books, you get to learn more about the behind-the-scenes world of a grocery store, a coffee shop, and a catering business. I don’t know about you, but I love getting to discover more about the ins and outs of jobs I’ll never have and probably never want. I worked at a library in high school and now I work at a small cafe at my college, and it’s always interesting getting to go back behind the desk or counter or whatever, and it’s even more fun learning about the hilarious things that can happen behind the scenes. The workplace stuff is a little heavier in Clues and Truth, but Lainey still has some coffee shop fun.

There are multiple female characters on the show, and luckily this makes for some great friendships among the women: Amy, Rosa, and Gina. They all have very different personalities, but they all support each other, even while teasing each other and sometimes misunderstanding each other. We need more positive and bigger female friendships in YA, such as the fabulous friendships in The Revenge PlaybookThe Friday Society, and Smart Girls Get What They Want. All of these friendships are diverse as well, which means there are even more viewpoints and ideas brought to the friendships.

New York City is a wonderfully diverse city (or so I’m told – one of these days I really need to visit it) – unfortunately, Hollywood doesn’t always seem to mirror that. This show does a pretty great job of going against that sin – sure, we have two older, white detectives, but they’re mostly there as comic relief, and yes, the main guy is Andy Samberg, a white guy who has just about every privilege other than being rich, but they’re not the only people, and they’re not even the most competent people. Andy’s character, Jake, is quite good at his job, but he would be nowhere without Amy (Latina), Rosa (Latina), Terry (African-American), Charles (yes, another white dude, but short and kind of a dork that Jake is friends with anyway, so that helps), and of course his captain, Holt, who is a black and gay man who never falls to either stereotype. Are all races represented on the show? No, there can always be more diversity, but it never feels like the characters are simply boxes to be ticked off in making a “modern” show. Amy and Rosa are two perfect examples – they’re both Latina, but that’s such a small part of their personalities. Amy is a teacher’s pet who loves following rules and trying to get Captain Holt to be her mentor, while Rosa is a highly private person who has anger issues. Neither is a “spicy and sexy Latina” stereotype, just like Captain Holt isn’t an effeminate man who obsesses over musical theater – Charles could be seen as a more stereotypical gay man, but he doesn’t fall prey to that trap either as a straight man who enjoys (slightly creepy) sexual relations with women. Each character feels like a real, diverse person, not a stereotype. This fact reminds me of other wonderfully diverse books such as Since You Asked (many different Asian characters), The Westing Game (mainly white people, but Asian, Greek, and black as well), and Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel (persian and lesbian characters, sometimes both).

This is obviously a comedy, but the fact that most of the characters are police officers means that there’s going to be danger. I think the show does a great job of mixing humor and appropriate danger. As someone who doesn’t like gore and unnecessary violence, watching a comedy is a great compromise, at least for me. Meg Cabot is a great go-to for comedy, so it’s no surprise that her books that involve murder also have plenty of funny moments, such as The Boy Next Door and her Heather Wells books. If you want some YA books with humor and danger, then Deadly Cool did a pretty good job of mixing the two as well.

Hopefully this makes you immediately turn to your computer or TV to watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine; if not, I would say that I’ve failed, but I get to watch the wonder that is this show, so I don’t think that’s really the case.

Let me know what you think of this new feature – yay or nay? Any suggestions for future TV shows to highlight?
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