It's evening round-up time, with brief thoughts on tonight's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I'm tried as an adult Highlander...
In its second episode, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is still finding its way a bit, but there's a really strong core in place with the Peralta/Holt relationship (Holt's discussion of Jake's slovenly ways in the teaser was the episode's comic highlight), and Chelsea Peretti is really starting to pop as Gina. In a way, Gina occupies the same space on this show as April does on "Parks and Rec," but the way in which she doesn't care about anything comes across as goofy and bright rather than the sarcastic dourness of what Aubrey Plaza does on the other show. We're not quite at the point where I wouldn't rather just watch the two leads in every scene, but you can feel some of the supporting characters starting to click into place.
(I also really like the opening credit sequence, which has a retro '70s-by-way-of-Tarantino vibe which very much fits in with the creators' stated love of "Barney Miller" and "M*A*S*H.")
Fienberg very kindly and excellently filled in for me on the "New Girl" premiere last week during the earlier days of my extended hospital stay. I'm pretty much on the same page with him about the premiere, and felt that "Nerd" was an improvement, in that the Jess/Nick story felt solid — less about taking the temperature of the relationship than simply telling a story about what Nick Miller, boyfriend, can do when Jess Day is in getting in trouble with the cool kids (played by Angela Kinsey, Dreama Walker and Mark Proksch). If the writers have decided that Winston's new default characterization is "an insane person," I will accept that, both because Lamorne Morris plays it well and because it's at least a consistent characterization from week to week. Once upon a time, if Winston had made a tiny noose to murder Daisy's cat (Brenda Song being written out because of her unfortunate association with "Dads"), I'd have been dumbsquizzled, but at this point, it's just who Winston has become.
Even with those two stories and some fun isolated moments like everyone's reaction to Schmidt's cat story and the guys' performance of "I Believe I Can Fly," the episode was still dragged down by the Schmidt love triangle plot. I suppose I should give the writers points for ducking one cliche (out of many they did not) by having all of Schmidt's terrible lies work so that Elizabeth and Cece didn't figure out what was going on, but the whole thing is making me hate Schmidt. I'd rather they had just sent Emmy Winner Meritt Wever back to "Nurse Jackie" after the premiere rather than drag this out. We know which actress is a regular and which isn't, so why make Schmidt into this much of a dick — when the whole point of the character is that he's a nice guy despite all his d-bag tendencies — for a foregone conclusion?
What did everybody else think? Feel free to discuss "Dads" episode 2 (with its awesome jokes about Jews and gay people and pot-offs) and "The Mindy Project" (which I watched before I was in the hospital and therefore barely remember) here as well.