‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’: The newest workplace comedy
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There’s a new cop show in town — but not that whole “Law & Order”-type thing you are used to.
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” stars Andy Sandberg and Andre Braugher, among others, and premieres tomorrow night on FOX. But can a cop comedy really work in today’s television world? Perhaps, if you have two of the minds behind “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” behind it.
Michael Schur and Dan Goor are the co-executive producers of the new comedy, and they showed us around the set — which includes all kind of precinct-y details you might not expect: from fliers for company picnics to an out-of-order sign on the water cooler.
Putting together a show for a big network takes a whole lot of work, it turns out. “‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ is what’s called a single-camera show,” explains Goor. “Which means it’s shot a little bit more like a movie than a traditional sitcom, which requires a lot more editing.”
Schur quotes David Mamet: “Writing a movie is like running a marathon as fast as you can; writing a tv show is like running until you die.”
Still the payoff is worth it for the guys. They describe the show as “more a workplace comedy than a cop show,” because, well, “It’s very hard to make up hilarious stories about murders and stuff. The majority of the show takes place in the bullpen. In the same way ‘The Office’ was a show about a paper company, this is a show about a police station.”
When it comes to writing the scripts for the show, it’s sink or swim whether jokes pan out the way they want. “I think you really only know when you see it edited in the final presentation,” says Goor.
The star, Andy Sandberg, has some great training for that kind of comedy, though. “‘SNL is very Darwinian,” adds Schur. “Your choices are: fix the joke, cut the joke, or bomb.”
So in a television market that’s filled with cable channels and online venues like Netflix, why choose a plain old network?
“You know, we still grew up in an era when that’s all there was. What excited me as a kid was to see the NBC peacock or the 20th Century Fox logo,” says Schur.
But with a big broadcast show comes a whole lot of pressure.
“There’s pressure on everybody in Hollywood, but you feel pressure from things you can’t control,” argues Schur. Goor adds: “We put our heads down and try to make the best show we can. I know that sounds like a cliche, but it’s true.”
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