Like many other ambitious and entertaining sitcoms, Brooklyn Nine-Nine sometimes struggles to tell multiple, satisfying stories within a 30-minute episode. In an effort to give every character his or her time to shine, the comedy can sometimes be so stuffed with plot that it prevents the show from giving any of its stories room to breathe, preventing the show from telling them in a fulfilling way. Unfortunately, that was the case in this week’s “Ava,” which provided us with one incredibly satisfying storyline and a couple of under-cooked others, including one that wastes a guest spot from the amazingly talented Nick Offerman.
Before we get into the one standout story from “Ava,” let’s start with what falls short in this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Although it provides a few amusing moments, such as Amy admitting she was attracted to Boyle for a second and the whole “Smudge City,” “Log Jam City,” Calm City” scene, the C-plot of this episode, centering on Amy, Boyle, Hitchcock, and Scully transcribing all the precinct’s paperwork by hand while the internet is down, possesses absolutely no thematic connection to the birth of Terry and Sharon’s baby. It’s an excuse for Hitchcock to get his arm stuck in one of the tubes (which was funny, by the way) and primarily acts as a placeholder for these characters until they can join everyone at the hospital in the closing moments of “Ava.” However, it is funny, and sometimes, all you need for a comedy to work is for it to be funny.
Furthermore, while Holt’s past with his ex-boyfriend, Frederick (played by the almighty Nick Offerman), does have more of a concrete link with the central storyline of “Ava” (as it ultimately ends with Holt admitting that he was behaving pity towards Sharon, much like he was with Frederick and the duck), the rushed use of Offerman doesn’t allow the connection between the two stories to fully form. Instead, we’re given a half-baked plot with Holt admitting he was wrong without any proper build-up and a complete and utter waste of Offerman, who barely appears in two scenes as Frederick. In order to work, this part of the episode definitely needed a few more scenes to develop the history between Frederick and Holt.
Despite these issues, though, “Ava” does find success in everything that has to do with Jake and his relationship with Terry and Sharon. Over the course of the past two seasons, beginning with last year’s “Chocolate Milk,” Brooklyn Nine-Nine has done a terrific job at showcasing Jake and Terry’s friendship and the lengths that both men will go to help each other. “Ava” continues that trend, as Jake steps up as the future godfather of the yet-to-be-named Ava and stands by Sharon as she prepares to give birth, while Terry rushes back to the precinct to be with her.
Of course, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has Jake fill the role of Sharon’s “godhusband” in the most Jake-ish ways possible, with his constant use of the word “vaginal” (even when it doesn’t apply) and his attempt to mimic Terry by talking in his Barry White voice. But that’s what makes it so wonderful and heartwarming when Jake’s invited in to be the first person on the squad to see and hold Ava. Terry and Sharon didn’t simply choose Jake to be Ava’s godfather because he was the first to find out about Sharon’s pregnancy; the two of them wanted Jake for the type of person he is: strong, dedicated, and caring. And it’s moments like the final scene of this episode, which is earned by Jake’s continued efforts to help Sharon through all the pregnancy drama, that illustrate why Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of television’s finest comedies. Underneath all that humor the show provides is an even bigger heart, and the comedy’s never afraid to wear it on its sleeves.
- This week’s opening scene with Boyle as Tommy Gobbler is absolutely outstanding. Easily the funniest scene of the episode.
- “Pushing prematurely” and “fatiguing the uterus,” two phrases I never thought I’d hear Captain Holt say.
- Jake refers to Sharon and Terry’s doula as “a vaginal Gandalf.” What makes that line even better is that Sharon tells Jake that’s pretty much exactly what a doula is.
- The recurring gag of Holt cutting Boyle off was great, and it was a very smart and funny decision to use it again in the scene at the hospital. “Boyle, this is clearly a moment between him and Diaz.”
- Andre Braugher doing anything is great, but Andre Braugher unwrapping and eating gum is something sepcial.
- I could have used more Amy Santiago in this episode, but then again, I could always use more Amy Santiago on Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
- I can’t stress enough how underused Nick Offerman was in this episode. I really hope Frederick comes back at some point. We need to learn more about Dave….and the duck.
- Ava is 14 lbs. and 6 ounces. In case there was any doubt, Terry declares it himself: “Terry Jeffords makes big babies.”
- “Ah Sharon, nice to see you. You look so big. Like a mighty truck.”
- “How did you get things done before the internet and faxing?” “Cocaine.”
- Thanks to Laura for letting me fill in this week while she’s out of town. She’ll be back as your reviewer for Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s next all-new episode.
What did everyone else think about this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Do you think the episode could have used Nick Offerman more? Comment below and let me know.
[Photo via FOX]
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