As a workplace comedy built, in part, around a love story, Brooklyn Nine-Nine owes a lot to the American version of The Office. This week’s episode, based around the games the precinct plays when Holt and Terry leave the office, is a near perfect mirror of that show’s standout, “Office Olympics.” The similarities are eerie, down to the fact that both episodes mark the third entry in each show’s second season.
But “The Jimmy Jab Games” manages to grow out of The Office‘s shadow by letting its characters be self-aware in a way that the employee’s of Dunder-Mifflin never were. Jim and Pam were both afraid to tell anyone about their feelings, but Jake and Amy discuss theirs openly, with their friends and each other. By the end of this episode, Jake knows what he wants, but he also knows what is the more grown-up thing to do. Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s less about realizing what’s right there in front of you, and more about learning that no matter how much you want them, some things are out of your control.
The Case of the Jimmy Jab games:
Named for King of Iraq (President of Iran) Armand Jibby Jab (Ahmadinejad), the Jimmy Jab games appear whenever the precinct needs to waste time without supervision. In this case, it’s because they’re waiting to run a motorcade for the president of Syria. What began as a simple bagel toss, has grown into a full-fledged spectacle with rewards, Scully in a Viking Helmet, and a whole lot of intrigue.
Jake, Amy, Diaz, Boyle, Hitchock, and Scully all enter. In each round, one player is eliminated. Let’s break down the play-by-play:
At stake: a Winchester 3000, the one chair in the office with minimal staining, good lumbar support, and no broken wheels. Also at stake: If Jake beats Diaz, she’ll give him her friend Katie’s number (Diaz hates mixing work and pleasure); if Diaz wins, Jake has to give her $200 and promise not to ask for one of her friend’s numbers again. The last thing at stake: Amy’s pride (she always loses).
The goal: eat as much month-old Chinese food as you can stomach
Highlight: Scully downing the takeout happily, “you guys know this is free right?”
Eliminated: Boyle, who “can’t do this to my mouth, she’s the love of my life,” and Scully, who gets food poisoning
Gina’s starting shout: On your mark, get set, Wahlberg!
The Bulky-Bulk Run Run
The goal: race around the building in bomb suits
Highlight: Jake attempting to trash talk Diaz while simultaneously proving he’ll be respectful to her friend—he has to loosen up his flower-buying fingers, “I’m going to go nuts on the daisies”
Eliminated: Hitchcock, who goes down with the cry “I’m doing it, Charles! I look cool.”
Gina’s starting shout: On you mark, get set, Ruffalo!
Keep Your Cover
The goal: talk to as many people as possible without them realizing you’re a cop
Highlight: Amy accidentally moves her fake baby bump: “My baby! It’s on the side!”
Eliminated: Diaz, whose blonde wig and sunglasses hide her, but whose hatred of being called “sweetheart” makes her break cover
Gina’s starting shout: On your mark, get set, Paul Gosselaar!
(Note: After Diaz is eliminated here, she and Jake change their bet. She gives him a chance to call it off, because she knows he’s not over Amy. Instead, they decide on new terms: to get Katie’s number, and prove he’s over Amy, Jake has to win without flirting with Amy at all.)
The Obstacle Course
The goal: to quote Gina, “Make it past the barricade hurdles. Then, use a bean bag gun to get a snack. Eat the snack in its entirety. Next, head down to the first floor where you will locate a pamphlet about bullying. Then, print out a picture of me using a laptop from 1982. Whoever grabs their printout first is the winner.” Also, after the printouts, there’s a surprise foam attack.
Highlight: Jake’s attempts not to flirt with Amy, even while she previews some really dumb victory dances.
Eliminated: Jake, though we later learn he held the elevator door open to let Amy win.
Gina’s starting shout: On your mark, get Seth, Rogen!
Verdict: Amy wins, and Jake has to pay Diaz $200. But Jake admits to Diaz he let Amy win, and because Diaz is worried that he’s having trouble getting over Amy, she gives him Katie’s number. “The only way to move on is to move on, whether you think you’re ready to or not” Diaz says, in what’s hopefully the beginning of her very own “Dear Diaz” advice column.
The Case of Victor Emmanuel III:
Holt and Terry pair off to try to appeal to Deputy Chief Wuntch in order to get funding for the precinct to stop the spread of Giggle Pig, a new brand of ecstasy that’s surfaced. How sad, Wuntch points out, to have an embarrassing blight growing right under your nose, “not unlike that mustache you had when we first met.” “That mustache was era appropriate,” Holt responds, warping “era” into a lugubrious two syllables.
Anyway, Holt leaves a typo in his proposal so Wuntch will immediately reject it (“was this prepared by an immigrant?”) and he can use her wanton disapproval against her to appeal to the next in command. Wuntch is right behind him, however, arriving at that meeting and questioning on Holt whether Giggle Pig will do that much damage to the community. “You’re like the League of Nations in ’36,” Holt replies, “just hoping the Abyssinia Crisis resolves itself.” “That’s the lesson you draw from the fall of Addis Ababa?” Wuntch rejoins, “Raymond, you sound so naïve.” “And you sound like Victor Emmanuel III.”
For those who are wondering, I’m just going to leave a wikipedia link here and say that Victor Emmanuel III lost control of Ethiopia (and also the fascist party took over the country under his rule). In other words, this is a pretty big burn.
Holt gets himself a task force, a step up from financial support, which he’s pretty happy about until Wuntch reminds him that, unless they catch a lot of perps, he’ll be the poster boy for departmental waste. Holt’s pretty worried about losing face to Wuntch, but Terry reminds that he can use the task force to do good for the community. He also suggests that Holt appoint Diaz to run it. She’s a great detective, and she’s the only one who speaks the truth to Holt when he walks into the middle of the Jimmy Jab games: “It’s stupid, but we like it.” Holt agrees, which means we’re getting more Diaz screen time in the future. Win.
Verdict: Wuntch got served. (Wuntch sounds like lunch. Holt’s sure he’s the first to come up with that).
Other open investigations:
The case of Hitchcock’s attempts to be cool: He stumbles into possession of Boyle’s workout tapes, which would reveal that Boyle’s been sleeping with Gina. Hitchcock tries to get Boyle to help him be cool in exchange for the tapes, “I just want to be part of a conversation where Jake uses my name and nobody insults me,” but keeps increasing his demands. After saying, in public, that he thinks Hitchcock is handsome, Boyle gives up and fights Hitchcock for the tape, successfully destroying it.
The case of Boyle and Gina: still very much a thing, though Gina still gets to say things like, “It’s daylight, Boyle. Why are we talking?”
The case of Amy’s ability to do well at things: According to Jake, she’s very good in professional matters, terrible when everyone’s just doing dumb games.
Holt: “You want to hear the funniest thing ever? I also split an infinitive and she didn’t notice.”
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