Daily Brooklyn 99 Thoughts: Queer Culture at Yet Another Opposite-Sex Wedding

*** Contains spoilers for s5e9, s5e22 ***

It’s so important that these gems show up on the episode centered around yet another heterosexual wedding aired on this show (is this the 3rd? 4th? Unclear.) Interesting that Charles and Genevieve are not married, even though they’ve been together for three seasons now and are co parents. Is this another subtle spit in the face of society’s hetero-normative ideas?

boyle ill take it

First gem: Captain Holt officiating.

“You’re married. You may kiss the bride.”

He does not say “husband and wife.” And I’m sure that’s important to Amy, and probably Jake as well. But mostly, I’m sure it comes from Captain himself who would never have agreed to hear “I pronounce you husband and husband.”

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Second gem: Actual bi-visibility

“You never know when you’re gonna find your dream person.”

“Anyone on the street could be them.”

“All right, it feels like you googled how to talk to your bisexual friends.”

“Yeah.”

123Go Serge! Doing research after someone comes out to you is nothing to be ashamed of, and you should all do it! Although I feel like watching this show might be enough.

Notice how Gina Rodriguez approaches in the car, and there’s some hinting on Terry’s part, and Rosa seems into it, but can we all stop to appreciate the fact that a complete stranger walked on screen and we didn’t all immediately assume she’s straight? And then once you think about it, is she a lesbian? Who knows? BI-FIVE EVERYBODY! WE GOT SOME REAL VISIBILITY! Yes, I wrote that in all caps so you would yell in your head, that’s how exciting this is.

Third gem: return of the Chosen Family theme

“And I love you both very much.”

“Permission to say it back?”

“Permission granted.”

“I love you too!”

“Love you, captain!”

Screenshot from 2018-09-06 21-35-20

#captainholt #queerculture #bisexuality #bivisibility #terryjeffords #rosadiaz #wedding #lgbt

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Daily Brooklyn 99 Thoughts: Captain Holt’s Leadership

Leadership is not just about establishing dominance, giving guidance, going first…to the Captain of the Nine-Nine, it’s about being willing to take a bullet for a cause you believe in. Captain Holt takes multiple bullets (some hypothetical, some metaphorical, and the rest just not technically bullets) during his career as Commanding Officer of New York’s Funniest.

But his leadership has many layers, it’s not all taking bullets. It’s about being a role model and a team player. It’s about setting the rules and earning the team’s respect by descending to their level when it’s appropriate. It’s the way he correctly estimates each member of the squad, the sergeant, and Gina, to maximize their potential and play to their strengths. He brings Terry to the gun range to get him re-certified because he believes the sergeant is ready to return to the field. I’ve dedicated an entire post to Holt and Gina. He mentors Amy and appreciates her so much. Holt-Peralta also deserves its own post, as does Holt-Diaz.

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Captain Holt finally requesting a cool code name

On principle he is hesitant to let the squad come to his aid, not because he is proud (#gaypride?) but because he doesn’t want to put them in danger. As he sees it, it’s his job to risk his safety for them, and not the other way around. Examples of this can be found in season 1 Christmas episode and the saga with Jimmy Figgis in Florida opening season 4.

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He stands up in defense of any member of his squad whether it is their safety, their career, or their feelings that might be hurt. For example, he scolds the detectives for avoiding Boyle after his injury (s1e12) defends Jake when he’s being threatened by the Commissioner (s1e2).

Now, let’s talk bullets.

Holt makes some major sacrifices, which sometimes work out fine because this is a comedy, but involved sincere risk of giving up on his dream and sabotaging his career altogether. The most obvious one is the deal with Seamus Murphy (season 5 episode 2) which could have cost the captain his career and possibly more. At the moment of decision, the captain took the deal even though it almost certainly meant giving up his chance to be police commissioner. That turned out okay, but he did know that at the time and he did it anyway, for Jake and Rosa.

Not to be taken lightly either is his speech in the running for commissioner (s5e14). The committee could have told him to go to hell and dropped him from the race. Again, that’s not how it turned out for him. But that is most certainly what would have happened if he had pulled that same move ten years earlier. Captain Crawford was not even one of his people, rather, she is a political opponent of his. But his mic-drop speech about being denied opportunity because of who he was is such a powerful statement, and so much more because of the position he is in.

He has risen through the ranks because he wanted to be in a place to make a difference, that’s what he tells Terry when they submit the complaint about the cop who stopped Terry for being black (s4e16). He recognizes that he has power, and he uses his power to do good. To make change. It’s really no wonder Cheddar is so well trained, I mean, look who his dad is.

#captainholt #queerculture #lgbt #pride #leadership #feminism

Daily Brooklyn 99 Thoughts: B99 vs. SVU on addressing institutionalized racism

Law & Order SVU season 17 episode 5: Synopsis: “An unarmed black man is shot during the pursuit of a suspect, raising racial tensions; Barba must indict the three officers involved — who claim they followed procedure.”
The squad are chasing a seriously dangerous perp, three policemen corner him and shoot – but it turns out afterwards that it was the wrong guy. The victim dies 😦 and the police department is in trouble. As it does, SVU goes into details of number of bullets fired, they hold an indictment and question all the officers involved and hold an internal investigation. It’s satisfying to watch justice being done, even though the episode ends before the full trial, so you don’t know what ends up happening to those specific cops (and I haven’t checked if that’s revealed in the following episodes.)

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Brookly Nine Nine season 4 episode 16: Sgt Terry Jeffords, one of the main characters on the show, is stopped in his neighborhood while out looking for his daughter’s blanky. The cop eventually lets him go when Terry says he’s also a policeman. Terry decides to try to handle it in a friendly way, and at first he meets the other cop in a coffee shop to talk. The cop is sorry he stopped him because Terry is also a cop, but he shows no remorse about the way he acted and says he’s “not going to apologize for doing his job.” Terry’s not satisfied, and decides to file an official complaint. At first the Captain advises against it, saying there could be backlash, but by the end of the episode the Captain changes his mind. Captain Holt is a gay black man, and says the reason he rose through the system was in order to be in a position to make change – so he supports Terry filing the complaint, repercussions be damned. Captain Holt says as a result, the other cop will probably think twice about making another bad stop.

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Both shows make a point of giving airtime to stories like this, and raising awareness is important, but it’s not enough. They both emphasize the feeling of injustice that accompanies the multitudes of cases all across the US and the world – people are just getting away with it.

I think Brooklyn 99’s message was stronger, even though no one died. In this story, the victim was a main character to which the audience has developed an attachment over four seasons. It was that much more shocking that anyone could possibly look at Terry and see just a black man, because we know so much about him. The guy built a princess castle on screen in season one. He’s a dad. He’s a great guy. But this cop didn’t know him – so it was really disturbing to see him escalating so quickly with “hands on your head – don’t move – keep your voice down -” etc while holding a gun. On the other hand, we’re pretty used to seeing lots of flying bullets on SVU, it’s the kind of thing they do a lot. The victim on SVU was an anonymous teenager who didn’t say anything during his minute on screen. It’s hard to empathize with the cops that were involved in the shooting, but they do make a big deal to show how upset they are and how worried that the city is “going to hang them” which seems an inappropriate exaggeration in light of an innocent man’s death at their hands.

Additionally, the Captain’s decision to back Terry’s complaint is meaningful, and (although fictional) shows something that can be done to effect change within the system. It shows people willing to risk their career to make the streets safer for black people. As satisfying as it is to watch ADA Barba question the cops on the stand, at no point is SVU discussing change – they are just representing reality, which is okay, that’s what they do. But it’s another reason why I think B99 wins this round.

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#socialjustice #sgtterryjeffords #captainholt #racism

Daily Brooklyn 99 Thoughts: S1E9: Jimmy Brogan’s “Good cops” are toxic masculinity 101

The journalist’s visit to the Nine-nine is a point-by-point unpacking of the components of toxic masculinity. This is the first of many episodes along the theme of “Don’t meet your heroes” which I’ll discuss in a separate post.

Brogan is disappointed that there are no “good cops” left, but fans of the show are loving it.

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So, according to Brogan, what are “good cops”?

  1. Violent. “I once saw Gaminsky choke a hippie to death with his own pony tail.” He glorifies illegal use of force. They endanger themselves and others unnecessarily and brag about the violence inflicted upon them.
  2. Grotesque.“Where’s the can? I gotta unload.” “Maybe you should learn to handle your brown.”
  3. Not interested in being smart. “We used to call guys that bragged about sitting around all day, ‘hair bags.’” This particular dig is referring to the use of computer science in police work.Consume alcohol frivolously. It’s not “manly” to be a nerd. (Oddly, though, it’s not girly either in the real world – huh. It just occurred to me that maybe being into computer science isn’t actually related to gender. Sarcastic? Me???)
  4. Reckless and careless. “Put your head through the door.”
  5. Don’t care about their job. “Being too hungover to chase a perp? That’s a classic old school move.”
  6. Don’t ‘feel’. “I kind of feel like you’re being unfair.” “Feel like? Listen to her, ‘Suzanne Somers’ over here. Talk like a man.” Emotions are for women, then?
  7. Homophobic. “You don’t have to stick up for that homo.” The ultimate threat to toxic masculinity is, of course, being attracted to men. Which makes this moment ever more epic

Jake punching Jimmy Brogan

#jakeperalta #masculinity #toxicmasculinity

Daily Brooklyn 99 Thoughts: Queer Culture

Queer culture is a prominent theme in the show. It appears first in the pilot with the unveiling of the Captain’s backstory. But the really satisfying moments are in real time.

S1E2: When Jake arrests the deputy commissioner’s son, deputy commissioner threatens to “make his life miserable.” Captain Holt steps in to defend his detective, so the deputy commissioner threatens him as well, stating,”You’ve just made yourself a powerful enemy, Holt.”

And the captain follows with the signature mic-drop of the opening of this show:

You’re gonna have to try a little harder if you want to scare me.

I’ve been an openly gay cop since 1987, so you’re not the first superior officer to threaten me.

You know how I’m still standing here? ‘Cause I do my job.

And I do it right.

Image shows Captain Holt looking condescending, saying "You're not the first superior officer to threaten me."

And then Jake, bless him, says what we were ALL thinking:

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#captainholt #jakeperalta #queerculture

See, there have been LGBT-identified characters appear on TV before, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes it up a level, giving representation beyond just about having a gay character. The captain’s statement holds his entire life as a gay man in an openly homophobic environment. It’s an acknowledgement that the characters are not just gay because diversity is in now, but that the captain being gay actually makes him a serious badass.

More on queer culture to come.

Daily Brooklyn 99 Thoughts: Captain Holt appreciating Gina’s talents

Gina Linetti is almost as much of a goofball as Jake, and definitely as much of a nerd as Amy. She is passionate about so many things and completely unapologetic about it. Frequently she’ll make statements that seem completely out of sync with whatever is going on in the episode, but these statements often turn out to be seeds of wisdom with great value. The character to shed light on Gina’s ingenuity (would she call it inginauity?) is the proper “no-nonsense” Captain Holt.

In the first season, Terry interviews candidates for IT specialist and the Captain insists that Gina sit in on all the interviews. She exhibits strange and seemingly inappropriate behavior (flossing? really?) and asks irrelevant questions. The episode ends in her explaining in detail how each of her choices provided a solid indication which candidate would be best for the job. I love that Captain Holt correctly estimated her value in this process even though Terry had no idea what she was trying to achieve.

In S3E14 the team is having a social-bonding evening in an escape room, and Gina points to the phone and says she’s intrigued by it because it seems like it would be useful for gossip. Captain Holt says, “Interesting,” in an earnest way, takes her seriously, follows this hunch and it turns out to be right.

I don’t particularly like Gina’s character. I find her irritating and often unkind. But these moments of Captain Holt trusting her instincts remind me that Gina truly belongs with the nine-nine, and she, too, is an amazing administrative assistant slash genius.

Gina: if I had a mic right now... I'd drop it.
Gina: if I had a mic right now… I’d drop it.

#ginalinetti #captainholt