The Spool / TV
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recap: An Adoption GAP(E) in “Gintars”
Ike Barinholtz guest stars in this episode that tests the limits of Boyle's parenting skills, but doesn't really mine enough jokes out of its premise.
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Boyle gets the A-plot treatment in an episode that struggles to find comedy in adoption woes.


Charles Boyle  (Joe Lo Truglio), as we’ve discussed before, is a polarizing character. It frequently seems as though Boyle is inconsistently written by Brooklyn Nine-Nine; the character is alternately broad and ridiculous, as well as the kindest, best friend in the world.

‘Gintars’ tries to have its cake and eat it, too, by introducing the Latvian birth father of Boyle’s adopted son, Nikolaj. The title character (played to sleazy, semi-accented perfection by The Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz) is exactly what you expect: a fraudster hawking knock-off GAPE brand apparel, who hangs out nude in Russian baths and refers to his progeny as his “sex result.” The character is a complete stereotypical farce, though his brand of peculiarity is actually not that distinct from Boyle, whose parenting techniques are derived from Disney narratives and who resorts to loud moaning in the break room when he’s worried.

The true plot line concerns the lengths that Jake (Andy Samberg) and Boyle will go for each other – or, in this case, how far Jake will overstep to protect his friend (in this case it involves kicking Gintars out of the country). Unfortunately the heart to heart that the friends share occurs too late in the episode and winds up feeling rushed.

…the change in tone from ridiculous to heartfelt feels like narrative whiplash. It simply doesn’t strike the right balance.

It also suffers because Boyle chastising Jake for taking action when he, Boyle, should have been left alone to handle his affairs directly contradicts the fact that he spends most of the episode horizontal on a couch or table. The sentiment that adoption is hard and Boyle deeply loves his son rings true, but the change in tone from ridiculous to heartfelt feels like narrative whiplash. It simply doesn’t strike the right balance.

The rest of the Nine-Nine is preoccupied with a case with no leads, which prompts Holt (Andre Braugher) and Amy  (Melissa Fumero) to fangirl over their mutual admiration for forensic entomologist Dr Yee (Reggie Lee) aka Father Fly. The joys of this storyline is twofold: seeing the pair of straight-laced, goody-two-shoes act so slavishly over a “celebrity” and Terry (Terry Crews) and Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz)’s disdain for the bug doctor’s techniques.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine — “Gintars” Episode 611 — Pictured: Terry Crews as Terry Jeffords — (Photo by: John P. Fleenor/NBC)

The B plot actually complements the A plot, because the Doctor also turns out to be a fraud (thankfully Rosa manages to turn the huckster’s lie into a tool to catch her crook). The real joy, however – and really the only true laugh out loud joke of the episode – revolves around Terry’s fearful reaction to the news that dust mites live in human hair. Not unlike Rosa’s constantly evolving hair styles from “The Crime Scene” each time Terry reappears, he has removed or altered part of his face.

It’s a silly sight gag, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine is always so committed that it can’t help but be funny.

Random Thoughts

  • Hearing Gintars describe his convoluted family tree as a “contemporary blended family” that is worthy of a sitcom premise feels like an unfortunate reminder that Netflix just cancelled One Day At A Time, the single best example of that description. RIP.
  • When Gintars refuses to leave the precinct, he elects to watch Mad About You on Latvian Hulu. Part of me almost wishes that it had of been given some ridiculous name to build on the GAP/GAPE joke.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine loves to do a quick back and forth verbal exchange that repeatedly uses the same word, so the rat-tat-tat between Jake and Boyle about Jake’s “butt” is delightful.
  • In case you were wondering, Boyle’s concussion test is the question: how many musical numbers are there in Zootopia? A: 1.
  • Mileage varies on how enjoyable Holt and Amy’s infatuation with Yee is, but watching them “blow it up” behind their backs and try to one-up the other with fly-based catchphrases is undeniably cute.
  • What’s more likely: that GAP removed the E from GAPE, or that Gintars added one? It’s a legitimate conundrum. Also – remember not to wear your GAPE jeans near pregnant women.

Best Lines:

  • Jake (suggesting Nikolaj fly a lengthy receipt like a kite): “Wow, kids are really basic.”
  • Boyle (when Jake tries to cheer him up): “I’m too sad to drink duck broth”
  • Rosa (when Terry asks if his drawn-on eyebrows look fine): “They do if you wanna look like a mean drag queen”
  • Diaz (when Scully shows up with a large bloody gash on his arm): “Oh, this terrible yet perfect”
  • Gintars (guessing why Jake refuses to take off his towel): “Mutilated penis?”