A Stupid Opinion Grows in Brooklyn

17 Feb

Life in Brooklyn based solely on my Knowledge of Brooklyn from Girls, High Maintenance and Brooklyn Nine-Nine

In my entire life, I have spent all of six hours in Brooklyn, none of which were productive, memorable or sober, but I’ve been lead to believe it’s a Disney Land for post-adolescent children to play and frolic while occasionally learning how to be a functioning member of society. A grad school for life, or better yet a school of hard knocks that promises to turn everyone from the jersey-wearing Jay-Z to the Nets-selling, Magna-Carta-droppin’ international mogul Jay-Z. Where people afflicted with a toxic levels of suburban angst can seek the healing powers of urban pretentiousness. Not only that, but Brooklyn is the setting for some to the best viewing delicacies available for mass consumption. Girls, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and High Maintenance are all at the top of their respective fields (Premium cable comedies, Network comedies and web series). And when looked at as a whole (and why not believe that all three take place in the same Brooklyn?) the characters from Girls, Brooklyn Nine-Nine or High Maintenance show that Brooklyn isn’t all gentrification and hipster street cred, but just a possible step on the path to becoming a happy, healthy and well-adjusted human.

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Girls shows the beginning stages of the post-adolescent, pre-adult Brooklyn induced growth. The characters are Tweens 2,  but unlike the physical unrest and confusion of not knowing what toys to buy of the original Tweens, the second round of being in between a child and an adult is full of being pushed out of the nest and being force to fly. These characters still have the wide-eye naivety that everything is destined to work out for them because they’ve taken the risk of living in Brooklyn. For Hannah living on her own in Brooklyn is the hardest thing she’s had to do, and because every other “hard” thing she’s done (e.g. college and, well, just college) has had a reward at the end (e.g. diploma) she now subconsciously believes that biggest reward is just around the corner. Of course, she doesn’t have time for emotions when people die around her because she’s focused on doing the hardest thing she’s ever done; living in Brooklyn. This is her finals, her thesis, her main trials and tribulations of her young life. Which is why it’s so hard for her to accept that people who’ve abandoned those promised dreams for the security of a unfulfilling, but reliable, position. She is a selfish character with a limited grasp on what is required of someone living in society, but that’s what tweens are; dumb and selfish. And now that Hannah and the rest of the Girls are tweens again, only this time without the excuse of puberty, their dumb and selfish ways are met with an extra dose of reality, hold the compassion.

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In Brooklyn Nine-Nine the Brooklynites have made it past the embarrassing Tween 2 stage and are ready to start their lives as functioning members of society, but they’re not fully ready to commit. Nearly all of the detectives on the show have character flaws related to the passage from young adulthood and the real thing. Detective Jake Peralta deals with impulse control and the crippling debt that comes with it, Rosa is too hard for most human interactions, Sergeant Terry copes with how to balance his professional and personal life and Detective Santiago lets her urge to be stroked blind her to her blatant brown-nosing. And to top it off, the butt of their jokes are the way beyond Tween 2 office dwellers Hitchcock and Scully. They still grasp at the last hint of childhood by mocking what they may become. The characters on the show are beyond the girls of Girls in as much as they can support themselves and have turned from the pie-in-the-sky dreams their youth to the reality of adulthood. Now, hopefully, the characters don’t mature enough to keep Brooklyn Nine-Nine from being a perennial contender for the funniest show on the air crown.

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And lastly, in High Maintenance we get the most mature characters who coincidentally all have the same dealer. High Maintenance is such a rich show and it does such a great job of developing complex characters in such a limited amount of time. All of the characters, from the short scenes surrounding the main storyline to the reoccurring minor characters to the main characters, have become adults living in Brooklyn. There is tension between the young immature characters and the more mature characters in almost every episode. The show almost seems like a counter point argument of youth in the city. The characters’ problems in the show are a million miles away from Hannah’s problems. So much so that they spend an entire episode unleashing vitriol and scorn on the Tween 2’s of the borough to the point where they’re blacklisted from the show. The majority of the problems that come about from the show are the result of the tension between people trying to be adults, and the adults coming face to face with character or behavior that could make up a three episode arch on Girls. Even the Guy isn’t the prototypical drug dealer, this guy is someone who will come to you. He isn’t the guy sitting on the couch all day playing Xbox and slangin’ some dope. No, he’s out there doing the work, with rarely a complaint. Not only is he a hard-working adult, but he’s also mastered the art of empathy, which the lack of keeps so many people stuck in perpetual adolescents. High Maintenance is the elder statesmen of Brooklyn, leaving the city in good hands.

Life in fictitious Brooklyn comes full circle. It starts with the wide-eyed selfishness of Girls, drags its feet into adulthood in Brooklyn Nine-Nine and can sit back and enjoy the high of maturity in High Maintenance.

-C. Charles 

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