Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s never been the most innovative or intellectual of sitcoms but what it has done is create an extremely likeable and warm cast of characters who it’s always been a lot of fun to spend time with. But now we’re losing one of them as actress Chelsea Peretti has decided to move on to pastures new, bar the odd guest appearance apparently. It’s rarely a good sign when a sitcom loses a major character, some survive, or even thrive, as in the case of Cheers and Roseanne (by which I mean the recasting of Becky, not recent developments), but for many it’s the beginning of the end. Community for instance was never the same after Donald Glover left, and after Steve Carell departed The Office the show became a giantic mess.
Fortunately for Brooklyn Nine-Nine Peretti’s Gina Linetti isn’t such a pivotal character, and if the series had to lose anyone she would have been the character I’d have suggested getting rid of as she’s not that important to proceedings. Not that she hasn’t been pretty damn amusing throughout the years but when she disappeared after being hit by a bus for several episodes last season (due to Peretti giving birth in real life) it didn’t affect the quality of the show at all, I’ve also a feeling there’s nowhere left for the character to really go and she’s always been someone most effectively used in small doses.
That certainly was the case here as her goodbye episode featured Gina in pretty much every scene and it often became irritating. She’s a narcissistic self-obsessed character (albeit one who’s able to show a warmer side on occasion) and hearing her talk about how amazing she is just got tiresome all too quickly. The plot revolved around the idea that she was going to give everyone at the precinct their own Gina moment, and was separated in to four “Movements”, but this didn’t lead to the show doing anything that exciting or interesting. Worst of all was her interactions with Captain Holt (the always wonderful Andre Braugher) where he tried to persuade her to stay over several games of chess, there were some early laughs to be had as Gina had been teaching him put downs but soon it became overly earnest and dull and dragged on for way too long.
It didn’t pick up with the second segment either where Gina promised to make Amy cool, though it quickly turned out that wasn’t really her aim. It ended with Gina supplying the wisdom that Amy should “Just be yourself” which for some unknown reason moved Rosa to tears (with Amy already all kinds of emotional) but it’s hard to see why, such advice is obvious and trite and the kind of thing you’d get in the cheapest of tacky self-help books. So why they’re so affected by her words doesn’t make any sense at all, especially when it comes to Rosa who out of all of the characters has spent her life acting in such a way.
At this point I was starting to wonder if it was going to be the worst episode yet, a far too self-congratulatory send off for a character I wasn’t convinced was deserving of such a thing, but thankfully the third part of the episode was finally very funny stuff. Highlighting what a great comedic actor Andy Samberg is, Jake and Gina teamed up and gatecrashed an exclusive member’s club so that they could organise an appearance by Mario Lopez (AC Slater from Saved By The Bell) at Gina’s going away party. Acting like unbelievably spoilt rich idiots led to a lot of laughs, as did their plan to trick Lopez in to thinking he was going to be attending a charity night for malnourished malaria monkeys. It got even better when we cut to the party itself only for Gina to reject Lopez after claiming the venue was too full, as she wished to show Jake that she didn’t “Need a celebrity or some crazy venue or a huge goodbye party” and just wanted to hang with her friends. Which for the first time was a genuinely touching sentiment, but it’s a shame we had to wait so long for it.
The show ended with a fourth and final part where the morning after the party they found Gina still at work, finding excuses as so not to leave, or so she eventually claimed, but it turns out she was just hanging around as a gold statue of herself had been delayed in the post. We then get one final video message from the character and that’s that, and while the cast are forced in to giving her a round of applause I found myself relieved that it was finally over with. It’s frustrating as I have enjoyed the character most of the time and she has been responsible for some hilarious scenes, but bar her interactions with Jake they failed to make her final episode anything other than a very average and predictable affair.
It’s a shame as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s one of my favourite shows, but in trying to persuade the audience that Gina’s a supposedly amazing character who we’ll miss an enormous amount it’s something of a misfire, and if anything has made me glad that she’s leaving which I’m sure wasn’t the intention. At least it almost definitely proves that the show won’t suffer from her no longer being around, and I’m pretty convinced that the sixth season will be just as fun as all the others have been despite her absence. Or maybe even because of it.