INTERVIEW: Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Mike Schur on post–Super Bowl spot
Brooklyn Nine-Nine will be airing after the Super Bowl to the biggest television audience of the year. As a Season 1 show, it's the desire of series co-creator Mike Schur to ensure the series has the right elements to wow the audience on that special night while still pleasing them when they show up later for a second viewing.
SheKnows had the opportunity to speak with Mike Schur, one of the creators of the new Fox hit Brooklyn Nine-Nine, about favorite character matchups, dream guest stars and what the expectations are for airing in the most viewed time slot of the year — after the Super Bowl this coming January. Enjoy excerpts of the discussion below.
SheKnows: Let's jump right in! Brooklyn Nine-Nine got the coveted after–Super Bowl slot. Did you already have an episode that would fit perfectly there, or did you create something special for that night?
Mike Schur: We found out about it before we had started discussion for the episode that would be in that slot, so by the time we started writing a story for that slot, we knew it would be in the Super Bowl position.
It's a little bit of an odd assignment because it's one of the biggest audiences that exists on television, and you want it to be something really big and fun and splashy, but also you want it to be a good sample for the show. You just want it to be a good episode of the show that represents what the show is, because you don't want people to watch it and see a bunch of oil tankers exploding and people in car chases and crazy stuff, and then they tune in the next week and they're like — this is not what I watched that week!
So we're trying to just do an episode of our show that maybe is just a little bit splashier or bigger or more visual or something than we might normally do, but we really just want to do a funny episode of the show to introduce people to the show if they haven't seen it already.
SK: Well, the good news is that they're all funny, so you should be in good shape.
MS: Thank you! That's nice of you to say. I mean, I think so, too. I think the cast is really great. You know, Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher — they have just the best on-screen chemistry in the world. It's like they're like Sam and Diane to me. Not in terms of their longevity or intensity or anything, but I really enjoy just watching them exist on-screen together.
SK: I think they will. I think it's just a matter of getting eyes on the show. Anybody I know who has seen it has enjoyed it.
MS: Oh, that's good. I mean, I think that's true of every show on TV. The landscape is very jam-packed, ya know? People have so many hundreds of options for their entertainment time, and there just aren't enough hours in the day to watch everything. So the wonderful opportunity to be after the Super Bowl means hopefully we'll get this big exposure, and hopefully some of the people will watch it for the first time and will like what they see.
SK: As the season has progressed so far, have you changed any of your expectations based upon unexpected dynamics between characters?
MS: Every Season 1 of every TV show is sort of trial and error. By that, I mean you're kind of trying out different combinations of actors, and you're trying different kinds of stories for your main characters, and you're sort of just poking around and seeing what seems to work.
It's like we're doing a story in an episode... where Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero are in the story together and... it's just a story that Stephanie's character, Rosa Diaz, was offered a job as a police captain in a town in New Jersey and Amy Santiago, Melissa's character, gets kind of jealous and kind of acts out a little bit. It's a nice story because it ends up being a story about how the two of them feel. Like Stephanie points out to them, they're women in a man's world, and they have to have each other's backs a lot.
And it was a small story, you know. It was never the main focus of the episode... but I just thought that the two of them did such an awesome job, and they're really funny with each other, and it was one of those deals where it wasn't that we didn't expect them to be good with each other... but they were better than we could have hoped for, and it made us happy and want to write more stories for the two of them.
So, that's really what Season 1 is always all about. You just try every combination.
SK: We loved that Jake (Samberg) punched his idol in the face on behalf of Holt (Braugher). So are we ever going to meet Holt's partner? Obviously not his police partner, but his "partner" partner?
MS: No, his real, actual human partner. Yeah, we're working on an episode now. We're gonna get to meet Holt's husband of many years, yeah.
SK: Good! That will be exciting. We're all looking forward to that.
MS: Yes, it's going to be very fun, and I think it's like the second half of the year will focus a little more on their personal lives and their lives outside of the precinct. We wanted to spend the first half of the year really focusing more on their jobs and... their work dynamics... and now the fun of it is that we get to delve into their personal lives a little more. And obviously, the No. 1 kind of outstanding question is who is Holt's husband and what kind of person is he and what is his home life like... so that's gonna be a big focus for the second half of the year.
SK: I have been on calls with you in the past when you talked about your influences, so have you thought about who would your ultimate pick be for a guest star from an old cop show?
MS: Oh, that's a really good question... There's a lot of them. You know, they're like, a lot of guys from like the Homicide era that I think would be fun to do like a little reunion with Andre, and obviously actors from The Wire... having Stacy Keach around was great because he represented... what I think of as that golden era of tough-guy TV and tough-guy movies. But, I don't know. That's a really good question. I'll have to think about that.
I think that there's a lot of fun to be had when we have flashbacks to Holt's first day on the job... or what his life was like when he first started out in the NYPD, and every time when we get to dress Andre up in that crazy afro and that crazy mustache and put him in the crazy burnt-sienna leisure suit. It's always orange for some reason.
We talked about someday down the line doing an entire episode that's basically a flashback of what his life was like back then, so maybe that would be an opportunity to find some of those guys from the '70s and '80s — you know, the Hill Street Blues era — to try to have some of the guys hang out with us for a day or two.