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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “USPIS”

Ed Helms (left), Andy Samberg
Ed Helms (left), Andy Samberg
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If you’re still trying to find a way to convince a friend, family member, or mortal enemy that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sitcom worth watching, “USPIS” is officially that episode (at least, of this season) that should be used to get them hooked. If it doesn’t work, then that person is a lost cause (and in some instances, it makes perfect sense that he or she is considered a mortal enemy). As it turns out, all Brooklyn Nine-Nine needed to get back into the swing of things is to up the penis and butt jokes. That’s mostly true of life too. “USPIS” is an episode that’s full of such simple—on paper—juvenile humor, and it’s the strongest episode of the season for it.

The A-plot is a drug task force heavy one, which is an immediate win for the episode. The assignment of Rosa as head of the drug task force was one based on the precinct’s downward spiral, and as expected by Terry, Rosa is right at home as a leader. Stephanie Beatriz has plenty of understated brilliant moments in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a more secondary character, but just like Rosa with the task force, there’s honestly the very realistic chance that she can be an ace in a more prominent, lead role. With Rosa in charge here, it’s a reminder that for all of her smirks and deadpan, she still takes her job seriously. As does Jake, only in his whole “Jake” way.


With Rosa in the delegating role, that leaves the super team of Jake and Boyle to get to the bottom of the Gigglepig distribution process. Now they have is a special post office key, and that leads them to the USPIS, the United States Postal Investigation Service, for help. Also phonetically known as: “US-PISS.” This all leads to the introduction of Agent Jack Danger (pronounced “Donger”), a Wesley Wyndam-Pryce type federal agent for the Postal Service, played by Ed Helms. Despite how big of a donger Jacky (his preferred name) is, Helms brings an enjoyment and humor to the character that is a little unexpected now from those who may remember his character on those rough last couple of seasons of The Office.

But with the way in which Danger perceives the USPIS to be “the poor nation’s first defense in the war on terror”—just like it is “the crown jewel of the law enforcement system”—it’s nearly impossible not to at least crack a Rosa smirk. Jake’s insistence that Jack is a tool and a dweeb is very true to the character, as he is not one to be one-upped, especially by someone who approaches the law in the most low-key, primitive way possible, and it makes for a strange competitive situation. Jake doesn’t reach Full Samberg in this episode, instead acting within reason for the character and the show, and for that, when he defies Jack Danger’s orders and plan of attacks, it’s 100 percent understandable as a character choice and professional choice, while also being worth face-palming.

This is also a terrific episode for Charles’ hero worship of Jake (“I honestly think you are the greatest man who ever lived.”) and competence as a police officer (knocking down the door…followed by giving the perpetrator a high 10), as well as Jake and Rosa’s friendship. In fact, Jake and Rosa’s friendship is perhaps the most solidly written friendship of the entire show (besides Scully and Hitchcock’s, as evidenced by the cold open), with the two of them going above and beyond on every occasion possible to live up to the other’s standards, at least in a professional capacity. Having Rosa eventually tell Jake—who is constantly making promises to her in this episode based on their friendship—that he needs to take this seriously as her subordinate and not her friend is a good moment for the show, in general. Season two of Brooklyn Nine-Nine has made it abundantly clear that this is a precinct that has so many issues when it comes to professionalism, but reminders of such a thing (especially after last week’s episode making it all too clear) show that the writers understand that as well. This being a comedy doesn’t change the real life aspects of it being specifically a workplace comedy. The tag at the end of the episode shows that as well, with it being a bad ass take-down of Gigglepig suppliers from Rosa, Boyle, and Jake.

None of this means that I’m discounting the B-story, which also helps the episode bounce back from “Lockdown” and its season one-like problems by really utilizing the show’s ensemble.

Amy (to Holt): “Again?! Are you kidding me, man?!?”

This week, Amy is trying to quit smoking, cold turkey, and again, the show hits the audience with an “always leave them wanting more” mentality.


Amy’s relationship with Captain Holt is so drastically different than Jake’s—after all, Holt’s relationship with Jake is one in which Holt immediately knows he has to cover Jake on 20 bucks for Scully’s “birthday” gift—and for that, it’s absolutely amazing to see how this affliction drives her to finally “snap.” Smoking is the type of quirk that fits perfectly for this character. Her neuroses and need for control mean that she needs a legitimate stress outlet, and button and sign making in her spare time (and dreams) can’t quite count or cut it. Having Terry, Holt, and Gina all try their various, very specific attempts to get Amy to quit is just Brooklyn Nine-Nine at its best.

This is what I mean when I talk about Brooklyn Nine-Nine being ultimately about these friendships. Every combination of these characters with Amy, along with their methods for overcoming addiction, are so specific to them. That’s what makes these characters feel real. That’s what makes Amy’s ultimate decision work; of course she won’t quit smoking. She’s not a quitter. Except for when she “quits quitting.” She’ll probably be stuck with this addiction forever—and knowing the show’s continuity, she just might—but that’s simply the Amy Santiago way.


“USPIS” is a great episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, not just because it’s hilarious, but because it’s so honest to each and every one of these characters. Also, because Scully and Hitchcock finally got one over on all of them.

Stray observations:

  • This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: Scully & Hitchcock: Scheme City.
  • This week in Gina loves to mock Amy: “And Amy, you don’t know this, because I don’t necessarily enjoy talking to you, but in my early 20s, I too battled an addiction. I was a compulsive shopper.” Also, she wants to send Amy to rehab.
  • And of course: Terry was addicted to food, and Holt had a betting addiction. “Go Razzmatazz.”
  • Watching this episode after watching WWE Survivor Series, I was already on a strange high of awe, anger, and bewilderment. Make of that what you will.
  • So, Amy has a CatDog, huh?
  • Holt: “I told them I was in Ecuador. I think they bought it…Yes. The capital of Ecuador is Quito.”
  • Rosa calling Miller’s K-9 an “idiot” really got to me. That sad puppy face…
  • Jake: “You’re my friend and I wont let you down. I’m gonna push you up. Just like a bra.”
  • Danger: “B-side’s got some bangin’ Sousa deep cuts.”
  • Jake’s ideal robo partner future (and Danger’s robo partner dystopia) is literally the premise of Almost Human. Rest in peace.
  • “Going postal” is totally a good thing. Tell your friends.
  • Jake: “The perp got a way because [Danger’s] the world’s biggest tool. No, tools can be useful. He’s the world’s smallest tool. I’m the world’s biggest tool! Ah, see what he’s doing to me?!”
  • Jake: “Is this whole war on drugs really worth the human cost of me spending another minute with this bahonkus?”
    Rosa: “I don’t know what bahonkus means, but yes.”
    Jake: “Bahonkus means butt. And I think you could’ve guessed that from context.”
  • Much like cooks, there are too many quotes. Your turn.

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