Is this going to be the year of the crossover? The Flash’s stint on Supergirl was widely regarded as a better DC vehicle than Superman vs. Batman, Alf showed up on Mr. Robot, and last night FOX brought back the long-dead sitcom crossover with New Girl meets Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Could there have been more actual crossover in this two episodes? Absolutely. But as a person who’s favorite part of LOST was watching characters cross paths in flashbacks, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Give us more!
Though it featured minimal character interaction (other than a meta, on-the-nose moment of Jake trying to commandeer Jess’ SUV and her shouting “It’s a crossover!”) the Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode was, a little unsurprisingly, the stronger half-hour. We’re barely a fifth through the season and it’s already clear Brooklyn Nine-Nine has become a stronger comedy. They made the smart decision to continue picking up where they left off- here, Jake was returning to the force for the first time since getting shot in Florida, adding a cane and taking away the frosted tips (Amy: “I feel like I’m kissing Vanilla Ice.” Jake: “There’s a time you would have jumped at that chance!”). A lot has changed at the force, which the writers of “The Night Shift” handled with grace; the squad is dealing with getting used to the night shift, Jake is dealing with Boyle spending time with his adopted son Nikolaj, and Rosa is still waiting for her fiancee Agent Pimento to return from witness protection. Usually, an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine this cramped might feel thin, but even with the addition of Jess the story moves along smoothly and even has time to fit in a Twilight joke that’s still funny (Boyle thinks the movies are “an insult to the books”). Fortunately, we also got to learn a lot about Terry and Holt; Terry gets “night sassy,” Holt’s idea of a rager is hanging pieces of computer paper that just say “PARTY,” and the night shift stinks for the captain largely because “late-night NPR is garbage.” This show continues to be one of the best, and they were completely on board to up their game for the New Girl fans.
While it wasn’t as strong an episode New Girl was on board too, and I have to give them credit for crafting an episode revolving around meeting a few NYPD officers on their opposite coast. Plus, we even managed to get some fun world building! Remember way back in the Pilot, when Jess came home from a trip early to surprise her then-boyfriend Spencer, and ended up catching him cheating? Turns out, Jess came home early from a horrible trip in New York, where she fell into an open grate and witnessed a subway suicide. Just New Girl things! Despite her earlier bad Empire State experiences, Jess gets the most Brooklyn in her LA this time, running into Gina, Holt and Jake (whose dialogue and comedic beats reminded me how different these shows really are). The highlight of the three was optimistic Jess and serious Holt’s meeting, since the two are a match made in a Heaven who probably deserve a crossover episode dedicated to just the two of them. Nick and Winston running into Charles and Nikolaj was fun too, if only for the believability that Charles is super into busking, and that crowds of people would stop around two guys shouting “showtime” just to see what happens. Schmidt’s mom returned to play the quintessential Long Island mother, calling Great Neck “the real New York” and insisting that Schmidt kiss his brother, Reggie (he’s a standard poodle). The most New York moment goes to Jess’ frighteningly real experience at a packed NY Deli, but the episode ends with a huge boost from a last minute appearance by Coach. He runs into the gang on the street and scolds them for not calling him once they got to New York, and proves the point that a little Coach makes any episode better.
Overall, it was a fun hour, and a worthy experiment. I can only imagine where ABC’s family sitcoms could take this revived trope- Speechless’ Maya going toe to toe with The Real O’Neals‘s Eileen, or the black-ish gang meeting The Middle. Maybe I’m biased because I really love both New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but if you can suspend disbelief about the fact that Jess and Jake had completely different conversations when they met in each episode I think we can all acknowledge this was a pleasant way to spend a Tuesday night. Now to get a story on how Damon Wayans Jr.’s 99th precinct cop Stevie catches a perp in LA undercover as Coach. That’s a crossover I’m here for.