Tracey Gordon, the protagonist in the Netflix hit show, Chewing Gum — a British comedy about a 20-something Christian woman on a quest to lose her virginity and find herself — is weird. The fact is, if I knew her in real life, she’d probably irritate me a lot. And yet, I love her.
I don’t just love her because we’re both British-born Africans. Or that, like her, I lived in public housing for part of my childhood, or that we both have dirty laughs. I love her because she, mostly, succeeds in breaking free from what society and her faith have told her she should be and how she should act.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” can do something that political discourse seems to find incredibly difficult. The series is confident and optimistic about the necessity of good policing, without ever being remotely defensive about the prospect that this essential job could and should be done better. Its characters are meant to be the best of the NYPD, and they still struggle with bureaucracy and their own impulses. The series doesn’t need them to be perfect — if they were, their excellence would be as deadly to the show’s comedy as incompetence.
That’s an essential perspective. Equally essential: the way Goor and his team have unlocked Andre Braugher’s comedic genius; the way the series managed to revitalize the sitcom holiday episode; the show’s love for and critique of decades of police pop culture; any series that gives us the sight of Samberg pretending he has the mumps. It would be sad to lose “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” if it were only the funniest or one of the most politically fascinating shows anywhere on television. Given that it’s both, seeing it go off the air would be an absolute tragedy.