High jinx and silliness make arresting cop caper
Ian O'Doherty on television
"Appearing on the voice is an exercise in existential futility, like shouting into a vacuum."
BROOKLYN NINE NINE.
RTE 2. MONDAY
Andy Samberg is one of those American comedians who becomes all the rage in his home country without ever really being appreciated abroad. In fact, he's a bit of an acquired taste -- like baseball, or drone strikes.
But he is undoubtedly one of the fastest rising names in America right now and it's easy to see why -- he is cute enough to make girls like him but not so domineeringly handsome that blokes will be intimidated.
Written by the people behind Parks And Recreation, Brooklyn Nine Nine is one of those ensemble pieces that have become all the rage since the success of the US Office and while it certainly doesn't have the brilliance of that show (a far superior creation to the British original, it must be said) it's happy to go straight for the silly bone -- and misses as much as it hits.
The show's main draw is also its biggest problem. Samberg is quite obviously one of those performers who could outstay their welcome with worrying alacrity and there are moments when he's trying to squeeze too many jokes, too many nerdy poses and too many silly faces into one scene. The ultimate result is that what is meant to be geeky and nerdy -- the male, slightly less odious version of 'kooky' -- simply becomes witless gibbering from the star that makes you hope one of the perps he is chasing will simply shoot him.
But then, and this seems to be his great talent, he redeems himself with something stupid and dumb and funny -- look if you don't find an undercover cop going full method and then trying to chase a suspect wearing only flip flops ("It's what my character would have worn.") then Brooklyn Nine Nine ain't for you -- and nor will anything Samberg ever does, I reckon.
But a good cast (Braugher and Terry Cruise excel, as you would expect) and some good lines -- I particularly laughed at the Deputy Commissioner who boasted that his little shit of a son was off to Duke University "on a lacrosse scholarship" means that RTE maybe, just maybe, have a cult hit on their hands.
I remember talking to the former host of a TV talent show a few years back and even back then he simply shrugged that: "There's not enough talent on an island this size to warrant a whole series," before consoling himself with the fact that he got a nice cheque at the end of each run.
Viewers have no such carrot at the end of this rainbow (a rainbow of mixed metaphors, it would appear) and I spent much of Sunday's opener wondering who just would watch it. And even more importantly -- why?
I suppose the families of the applicants feel obliged to watch. But anyone else? Does anyone without a personal interest actually tune in to a show whose only value lies in thoroughly exploding the myth that the Irish are natural entertainers.
But what's remarkable is that everybody, from the dementedly cheerful Kathryn Thomas (constant eruptions of drippingly phoney sincerity and condescension) to the judges to even the contestants themselves seems to realise that appearing on The Voice in any capacity is an exercise in existential futility, like shouting into a vacuum. Or shutting a door once the horse has fecked off.
The show's time has gone. If it was ever here in the first place.
CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER.
CHANNEL 5. ALL WEEK
From those who aspire to a career on reality TV to those who are reduced to it -- CBB.
Evander Holyfield was the first to feel the cynical crozier of the PC puritans when he commented that being gay is a choice. Not particularly enlightened, for sure, but not particularly offensive and it wasn't said with any malice. In fact, Holyfield said he was simply following his Christian teachings.
If C5 had been seriously worried about his remarks they wouldn't have aired them. Instead, they transmitted the scene, swiftly followed by them giving him a warning for "offensive behaviour".
So come on, C5 -- you've stitched up the Christians, let's see how brave you are with Muslims. Any bets on Anjem Choudhary being next year's surprise guest?