Morning TV Round-Up: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine,' 'Trophy Wife' & 'New Girl' reviews
It's morning round-up time, with thoughts on last night's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Trophy Wife" and "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I like yoga, Tuvan throat singers and NASCAR...
The Halloween installment of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" wasn't perfect, but it inched very, very close to a set-up that maximized the strengths of the series. We had lots of interaction among the entire cast — including several pairings (Boyle/Santiago, Diaz/Terry) we haven't seen much of before — and, more importantly, Peralta finally got to get one over on Captain Holt. The formula of Jake ignoring Holt's advice for 20 minutes and finally listening at the end had already gotten very old (and made Jake seem both dumber and more immature than I suspect the writers want him to be), and while this wasn't exactly an inversion of that, he needed a victory by now, and I was pleased that the "Ocean's Eleven"-style explanation at the end attributed most of his absurd-looking schemes to misdirection, but not all of them. It's a tricky balance, because you also don't want to make Holt look stupid, and Andre Braugher's deadpan disapproval is probably the show's greatest comic weapon, but for as long as they're sticking with this adversarial relationship, the victory tally can't be one-sided. Last night, it wasn't, and that was enjoyable.
Even better was Charles' attempts to get Amy to enjoy Halloween, not just because the run of jokes about Charles' Mario Batali costume were the best of its type that "Brooklyn" has done (and very reminiscent of the better parts of "Happy Endings"), but Charles' relentless enthusiasm about things that almost any other person would feel miserable about marks him as a very strong character (he's more than just this show's Jerry Gergich) and someone who plays well opposite anyone else in the ensemble. A great job by the writers and Joe Lo Truglio.
I haven't written about "Trophy Wife" since it debuted, in part because my opinion hadn't changed all that much. I liked most of the individual pieces — though Michaela Watkins' Jackie kept straying too far over the human/cartoon divide — but felt like the creative team didn't quite have them in harmony yet, having to either skimp on each individual story to include all the characters, or marginalizing some of them. The Halloween episode had to do again without Natalie Morales (who, in fairness, got a great showcase last week), but in the process, we got two fully-cooked stories about Pete's trouble saying no to Diane and the kids trying to help Jackie make a better video dating profile. This is definitely the most three-dimensional Jackie has been, particularly in the scene where she reassured Bert, yet Watkins still had plenty of ridiculous things to do and say. And the Whitford/Akerman/Harden triangle — not so much about love as about attention — remains a bountiful source of comedy. Fold in a non-cliché '80s costume in Kate's "Working Girl" get-up, the Phyllis Smith character's terrified and terrible intro of Diane and Bert doing Bert things, and you've got a real winner of an episode. More like this, please.
"New Girl," meanwhile, demonstrated its gift for using an absurd idea in service of an emotional story. Schmidt being duped into believing he's been pen pals with Michael Keaton since childhood is insane even by the standards of a show that features Crazy Winston (who, admittedly, has been a bit saner the last two weeks), but it eventually led to one of those terrific Nick/Schmidt scenes the show does so well, in a way that makes the origin of the story not matter at all. We may not believe that Schmidt was duped for so long, but Schmidt does, and it leads to that conversation, so good enough. Every Schmidt story this season before now has been a trainwreck that's made me hate the character, and I hope this is the start of a turnaround, even if he's living down the hall(*) for the time being.
(*) There is now a vacant spot in the loft. Paging Coach... Coach to the courtesy phone, please.
Beyond that, Keaton was a funny episode of "New Girl," giving us Jess' terrible Batman impression (and insistence on "Batmanmobile"), Nick throwing himself deeply into character as Keaton and Winston knowing nothing about "The Truman Show," among other gags. "The Captain" made me laugh more but also depended on several of the characters being idiots and/or evil. "Keaton" made me laugh and also felt like it understood who these people are supposed to be.
What did everybody else think?
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
Let Streaming Genie help you.