'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' co-creator Mike Schur looks back on season 1
Mike Schur: Everything can always be improved, and we will always keep trying. I think of "The Bet" as a kind of watershed for the show; it was about halfway through the year, it took a big leap forward for several personal stories, and it featured some really lovely acting and comedy from everyone in the cast -- Terry and his wife (and Holt being goofy, maybe for the first time), Charles telling Rosa he didn't look before he jumped in front of the bullet, Jake and Amy having a quasi-date during the stakeout -- it felt to me that the show shifted gears during that episode.
How much do you think the Golden Globe win actually helped your cause for returning for another season? Was the win in any way a negative, maybe suggesting the show was more fully-formed than it was at that moment?
Mike Schur: It certainly wasn't a negative, in any way, and it was completely unexpected and flattering. And I honestly don't know if things like that factor into the network's calculus.
The finale shows that Peralta and Holt have reached a new level of trust and respect for each other, and ditto Peralta and Santiago, but it's also a situation that's going to take him away from the precinct for months at a minimum. Why did you decide this was the right story to end the season on, and how much have you guys already mapped out for how you're going to deal with it in season 2 (or if we're going to return with Jake already back at his desk)?
Mike Schur: We have some nascent ideas for what happens next. This just seemed like a good way to throw a wrench into the precinct dynamics for a while -- how much of his assignment we will or won't work into S2 remains to be seen. We might jump ahead to his last day and fill the viewers in via flashbacks, or we might spend a while on the case if it warrants. We just wanted a situation that would shake things up, and force Jake to tell Amy how he felt, and this one seemed fun since (as I mentioned earlier) he's always wanted a cool undercover assignment.
The ratings have not been great, and the audience that watched you on Super Bowl night didn't follow you (or "New Girl") back to Tuesdays. Both of your shows are coming back next season, but do you look at the ratings they're getting, that "New Girl" and "Community" and "Enlisted" and some other terrific comedies are getting at the moment, and wonder if there's a new — and very low — ceiling for how these kinds of smart single-camera comedies can do? Or is it just a bunch of shows in troubled timeslots on troubled networks all at the same time?
Mike Schur: I think about this a lot. First of all, those overnight ratings are very silly, and we all need to stop reporting them and caring about them. You see a show gets a 1.3 or something, and you think "Uh oh." Then you see that L+7 it gets a 2.2 (or something), and you think, "Oh, well, okay." Then you see that L+30 across all platforms it gets a 3.3 (or something) and 8 million viewers (or something) and you think: "Well that's not bad." Now obviously, what matters is how networks can make money from ratings, but this is the system we have invented, where you can watch episodes of most shows on many different platforms at your absolute leisure, and yet we are still using a system that measures only the people who watched it the second it aired. It's like measuring album sales based on who bought the album within ten minutes of its release. It's really not anything we can control, except by making the show consistently good so more and more people hear about it and decide to give it a shot. Which is plenty hard- enough work.
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