Fox announced yesterday that it was canceling Brooklyn 99 after five seasons, which is a huge mistake. I don’t usually get obsessive over network sitcoms, but this is one that’s both excellent and important.
While I do have some issues with the way they’ve portrayed fatness over the years (the season one episode “M.E. Time” is atrocious and I skip over it on every rewatch), overall Brooklyn 99 is an enlightened, sensitive, and diverse show that manages to be hysterical without resorting to stereotypes.
There’s so much good representation on this show: two Latina women, one of whom is bisexual, two Black men, one of whom is gay, multiple interracial couples, a Jewish lead character, women who have complex back stories and exist for reasons beyond the men’s plots and character development, men who express their masculinity in non-toxic ways, and so forth.
They tackle difficult issues. As a cop show, it could be easy to gloss over the very real issues with police, but they even did an episode on racial profiling, where Terry was stopped in his own neighborhood and treated like a criminal. The officer who did the profiling was portrayed as the bad guy and not allowed to get away with it. But they also didn’t sugar coat it. Terry submits a formal complaint and shortly thereafter is denied a professional opportunity. Was it because of the complaint? There’s no way to know, but it’s likely, and they didn’t shy away from saying exactly that in the episode.
The relationship between Jake and Amy is one of the better portrayals of a modern hetero couple on TV. Yes, they love each other, but it’s not just that. There is a genuine sense of respect between them. When Amy’s career starts taking new steps (she was recently promoted to Sergeant), there isn’t a whiff of concern about Jake being emasculated by her outranking him. Plus, they go from serious to having fun together, and are truly best friends as well as a couple. It’s a great relationship model to see on TV.
In general, the women on this show are excellent, well-rounded characters. They’ve each got their own unique personalities, which of course, can be over the top — it’s a sitcom — but don’t rely on stereotypes. They all embrace their own quirks and everyone loves them for who they are. Male characters show their feelings and eschew toxic masculinity.
There are many, many great things about this show, and I’ll be sad to see it end. Maybe all these great things are WHY Fox decided to do away with it. A friend of mine suggested a link between Terry Crews speaking out about his #metoo experience. We can’t know for sure, of course. The timing is interesting on that one.
Fox made a mistake canceling this show. They took the one show with positive representation and true diversity, that was hilarious and generally non-stereotypical, and axed it. This is especially awful if you consider that Roseanne got to return to TV, The Big Bang Theory is going to have at least 12 seasons, and they’re making room for some Tim Allen-helmed nonsense. They removed thoughtfulness and replaced it with more of the same offensive, Trumpy nonsense.
Could Brooklyn 99 Come Back?
The outcry online last night was extreme — the show was trending internationally on Twitter for hours, and hashtags like #RenewBrooklyn99 and #Brooklyn99 are still on fire. People are begging other networks (NBC owns it, I guess) and streaming services to pick it up for at least one more season.
Rumor now has it that there are serious talks about it being revived elsewhere. Hulu is the most likely choice. I really hope someone takes it over. While I’d like to see it continue for years, even just one more season would be good. They deserve to at least wrap up the show with a planned ending, instead of a sudden cancellation. But I want more.