Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Brooklyn Nine Nine

When Liz Lemon left the airwaves nine months ago, she didn’t leave behind any daughters. The female-driven sitcoms that remain on the current network rotation owe little to 30 Rock. Parks and Recreation‘s sunny Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and New Girl‘s hipster-cute Jess (Zooey Deschanel) are about as far as you can get from prickly, taped-together bra-wearing Liz. Likewise, The Mindy Project‘s boy-crazy Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) and 2 Broke Girls‘ gum-smackingly unambitious Max Black (Kat Dennings) have few concerns in common with the TGS showrunner and owner of Lesbian Frankenstein’s shoes. But Liz may have gifted us with a son in Andy Samberg. The Lonely Island frontman’s new show on Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, seems to have adopted 30 Rock‘s heavy use of sketch-comedic flashcuts as its own. Tina Fey’s show wasn’t the first to use digressive asides, of course. Family Guy is notorious for its ADD-addled, plot-irrelevant side gags like the Peter vs. Giant Chicken fistfight, while mockumentaries like Arrested Development, Modern Family, and the aforementioned Parks and Rec occasionally use them, usually in the form of flashbacks, to add context to a scenario while squeezing in an extra laugh. It was The Simpsons that arguably pioneered the flashcut, but that show’s animated nature undercuts its absurdism; when everything is possible, nothing seems all that outlandish. On the other hand, the live-action quality of sketch comedy, especially when performed by known actors or comedians, accentuates the silliness.

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published: 12.17.2014
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