Fox strikes gold with sitcom
PASADENA, Calif. -- Viewers may have been as surprised as Andy Samberg ("Saturday Night Live") when Fox’s "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" won the Golden Globe for best comedy series earlier this month and he won for best comedy actor.
"I go up there, and I don’t have any jokes," Samberg said the day after his win. "I don’t like going on a stage without jokes." As for the show’s victory, Samberg said he got a distinct sense that the celebrities in attendance at the Globes were shocked, too.
"A lot of people in there had not heard of our show," he said. "That’s what’s so awesome about it because now they have."
For those who missed "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" when it debuted last fall as one of the better-reviewed comedies of the 2013-14 TV season, the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" pilot repeats at 8:30 tonight before the show moves to 9:30 p.m. with a new episode this same night. In that episode, viewers meet Holt’s husband when Holt invites his work colleagues over to celebrate his birthday.
Samberg stars in "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" as Jake Peralta, a smart-aleck but skilled police detective who butts heads with by-the-book Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher). What’s been great about the show is that what sounds initially like a tired premise has actually blossomed into something more complex.
Holt and Peralta have developed a respect for one another that wasn’t as obvious in the pilot, and Peralta’s jerkiness has been dialed down.
"It’s fun to see a rapport between Holt and Peralta, as well as friction," Samberg said. "With any odd couple in any show or movie, you need some relief and growth to it. Meeting each other halfway occasionally is satisfying as a viewer."
In addition, the show’s supporting cast has come into sharper focus.
"I think as with most ensemble comedies, from what I’ve observed with ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘30 Rock’ and all the ones that are considered great, the more (the writers) get to know the cast, the more they can tailor the writing to their strengths," Samberg said.
"Our writing staff is really experienced with that skill, and they picked up on that stuff really early and have turned the characters into versions of who the cast members really are. They play Melissa Fumero into more of a goody-two-shoes sweet character because that’s how Melissa Fumero is."
Pilot repeats tonight
Fumero’s Amy is often paired with Peralta on investigations, including in Sunday’s episode, "Operation: Broken Feather," where they investigated hotel robberies. Fred Armisen ("Portlandia"), who guest starred in the pilot, returned as the same character and former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann makes a cameo appearance.
"I’ve been in dramas for 25 years, and there’s nothing like a comedy to take the cloud off of acting," Braugher said. "No prison riot, no rapes, no nuclear stand-off."
Work in opposite ways
And although Braugher is the more respected actor from his dramatic background, he tips his hat to Samberg. Braugher said he reads Jake’s lines in the script and is then amazed to see the different spin Samberg puts on them, what he calls "deeper choices" in Samberg’s performance.
"We work in opposite ways and watching how he works is vastly more interesting than studying my own process," he said. "So I’m hoping one day to be more like Andy and less like myself. Š Our challenge in the next three to five years is to study the intuitive comic genius of Andy Samberg and incorporate some of that into our own work."
It helps that "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is a natural place for good humor.
"I pride myself on not losing it, but I lost it for the third time this season," Braugher said earlier this month after filming a scene with co-star Chelsea Pereitti, who plays office manager Gina Linetti.
"Gina said she was congratulating her grandmother on having made her ‘the intelligent, sensuous, articulate, sensuous woman she is,’ and I said, ‘You’re double sensuous?’ and she said, ‘Yes,’ and I just lost it."
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