Important thing about the purge universe is that tv exists in the purge universe, I mean it’s just our world with Purging so like obviously, but have you considered that this means that like how sitcoms have Halloween episodes and Christmas episodes, they would also now have purge episodes
I would pay God direct cash if I could get hooked up with the purge universe’s episode of the Big Bang theory where Sheldon in a full bazingaed blood rage decapitates Howard with a dull prop bat'leth as the audience laughs uproariously
Week 7: Comedy in the Unpredictable Ordinary in Barney Miller and Brooklyn 99
My episodes for this week were Halloween themed episodes that used the holiday’s celebration of the supernatural, trickery, and spooky shenanigans to imbue the serious, ordinary police setting with unpredictable, “random” comedy. “Werewolf” (Barney Miller S3E6) begins with Nick answering a phone call about UFOs landing in Central Park. He monotonously informs the office, “UFO landed in Central Park. Anyone need any cheering up?” to which Fish replies, “There’s nothing funny anymore.” But things take a turn for the strange in the office when a ‘psychopath’ named Kopechne is arrested for creating public commotion. He believes he “suffers” from lycanthropy and warns the detectives that because it’s a full moon, his transformation into a ferocious werewolf is minutes away. Though most of the characters take this ‘omen’ with a grain of salt, some are visibly perturbed, like Detective Wojo who feels compelled to lock Kopechne in a temporary cell. Once imprisoned, he starts acting up, much to the perturbation of Nick and Harris, commingling themes of melodrama, horror, and comedy into the scene.
Kopechne: It happens slowly. Sometimes it’s hard to notice at first.
Nick: You — T-t-t-take it easy.
Kopechne: I’m starting to itch.
Nick: Oh, that’s normal around here.
Kopechne: It’s like all the hair on my legs is wriggling.
Nick: Oh, no, don’t do that, that just — just —
Kopechne: [clutching the bars of his cell] And my teeth hurt. [starts clenching his teeth] And my tongue is sweating. [starts panting like a dog] Let me out of this cage. [rattles the bars] Let me out of this cage! I wanna go home! [paces and pounces around]
And then he just
The drama only heightens as Kopechne’s dementia grows, so Harris runs to get Barney. Even the placid, often emotionless Nick hilariously implores,
Then Cpt. Barney rushes in, barking (no pun intended):
Kopechne falls completely silent.
I laughed so much at this scene — albeit uneasily, given its problematic portrayal of the mentally ill as 1. scatterbrained, almost animalistic inhumans, 2. “looneys” who deserve our laughter and ridicule, and 3. people who can stop and control their “performative” behavior. But I have to give credit where it’s due: though the joke failed for me because of its vastly problematic intentions, it still succeeded in its impeccable comedic delivery, thanks to the actors. Not to mention the comedy’s metatheatrical layer when Barney matter-of-factly shouts out the setting of the police procedural genre to mollify Kopechne, functioning almost like a magical charm in and of itself that nullifies the werewolf in the prisoner. Why does Kopechne pause then and there? We don’t know. Barney’s remark about ‘cutting it out’ (like excluding a scene because it doesn’t fit the show’s motives), though very rational, defy all logic and reason in their effects on Kopechne, someone who clearly needs more help than mere sentences. Still, it’s undeniably hilarious that such a simple, ordinary, obvious statements about the boring reality cease the previously heightening drama that risked toppling over its own ludicrousness. This juxtaposition between the audience’s expectations of Kopechne slobbering more violently in his “charade” and the outcome of his sudden, ironic pacification from Barney’s stupidly blunt remarks, in my belief, becomes the apex of comedy in this episode.
Similarly, the comedy in “HalloVeen” (Brooklyn 99 S5E4) also explores the potential of the normal to be incredibly funny. The very idea of ordinariness in Jake and Amy’s relationship is brought to the forefront of the episode. She acts very opposed to the idea of normal, sarcastically barbing at Jake, “You’ve lost the ability to surprise me! You’re normal! Ya just plain boring!” In response to that, Peralta ‘woos’ her in a series of unpredictable events with regards to the cummerbund heist, which works for the show since that’s what comedy is about, that is, the disparity between prediction and reality. Thus, by making Jake’s unpredictability the focal point of the episode and romanticizing it as the appeal of his and Amy’s relationship, the show also asserts its own knowledge of comedy. It’s a win-win for both B99 and its Jake x Amy shippers.
There are many ways the show succeeds in its comedy, so many precious instances when Jake and Amy’s love is infused with a kind of regular intimacy (like Roseanne and Dan’s) and thus identifiability, but I’d like to bring attention to a recurring event throughout this episode: the relatable comfort of insulting your loved ones, a jesting that is elevated as a comedy of intimacy. When Jake proposes that he and Amy team up together for the heist, she considers it,
There is a clear erotic layer to this whole scene (this isn’t subtext, this is text), especially since Jake is handcuffed to a filing cabinet. This only adds to the absurdist humor of the episode — in what universe would officers bring their private kinky lives to the precinct (during a Halloween competition no less!) festooned with complex contraptions, laser alarm systems, smoke devices, Handmaid’s Tale impersonators, imbibed GPS trackers, body doubles, Bond-esque cat burglary, and Corgis trained to retrieve cummerbunds? But while the absurd plot device of the Halloween heist grants Amy and Jake’s relationship a comic fantasticality/theatricality that the unpredictable comedy of a sitcom demands, there is identifiable realism in their romance that echoes Roseanne‘s, teaches that romance doesn’t have to be schmaltzy and cloying sweet as they often are in melodramas; it can be acerbic and funny because sarcasm, when used right, can become a form of comedic intimacy. The most ordinary of exchanges can have an unprecedented humor to them and therefore, have the potential to be extraordinary.
That said, while the show tries to dispel the idea of ‘normal’ in Jake and Amy’s relationship, they also reinforce it. Rosa, Terry, Holt, and Boyle become distracted and sidelined, lose sight of the belt in their chase for it — and ultimately, for the A plot to take its course. The heterosexual romance requires liminalization of secondary, minority figures, and the fact that Jake is doing the wooing, rendering him the subject and Amy the desired object still abides by heterosexist conventions of romance. Nonetheless, the episode was delightfully executed. I laughed a lot, a crystal clear indication that B99‘s ever so original comedy succeeded in its 5th Halloween episode.