film: the apartment

I know people always say this, but wow. Brooklyn Nine Nine is such a good show.

Because Gina is allowed to be not just a bizarre, funny character, but also a financially and otherwise competent, forward-thinking woman. Because she is genuinely unconventional and genuinely smart at the same time–media doesn’t often let women be either, and certainly not both. Because she’s responsible without being traditional or generic or “uninteresting.” Because she grew up in the same circumstances as Jake and worked through some shit and she’s grown to be much better at the adult thing than Jake. Which is, actually, really awesome.

Gina is, again, not the kind of character one might associate with being responsible–she’s no Amy. And that’s good. It means the female characters on B99 are different from one another, but that they aren’t stuck inside shallow stereotypes.

Jake gets upset because Gina turned out to be better at being a responsible adult than him. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, because it makes perfect sense. Jake never expected Gina to “beat” him at life skills. He underestimated her, and it caught him off guard. That in itself is really wonderful to see for female characters: experiencing the realistic sort of everyday sexism that is pervasive in our culture. It’s also a realistic reaction for Jake, because when your childhood friends end up doing better than you, it’s a horrible feeling.

And you know what? Gina’s still right. She knows it and the audience knows it and Jake knows it–he apologizes to her. She’s allowed to have feelings despite being strange and over-the-top and generally a pretty comedic character. The narrative treats her, her feelings, and her relationship with Jake with respect and it’s all glorious and funny and it makes me super emotional.

Multi-dimensional female characters in a 24 minute comedy are rare–and Brooklyn Nine Nine has created three extremely likable women with diverse and equally interesting personalities in under one season.

It’s best summarized in Gina’s own words: “Yeah, so what? I’m ecclectic.” And yeah, she is, but so what? Does that mean she can’t be smart with her savings or have complex relationships or be a deep character? No, of course not, but many shows seem to think the opposite. B99 doesn’t fall into that category, though. This isn’t the first hint of Gina being a better developed character than she at first seems to be. Holt realizes her potential almost immediately; she’s shown to be incredibly perceptive; she’s clever and competent at her job when she cares enough to do it. Brooklyn Nine Nine’s doing female characters right–not just Gina, but Rosa and Amy as well. If you’re not watching, you should be.