Laugh it up with TBS’s new police comedy Angie Tribeca

Angie Tribeca clip

TBS’s new comedy series Angie Tribeca was released Netflix-style Sunday, January 17, 2016, with an all-at-once binge watch marathon.  Season One provided the flavor of nonstop laughs that we haven’t seen since Leslie Nielsen’s Police Squad! was yucking up the airwaves back in 1982.  That same “I can’t believe this is so funny,” laugh-out-loud, Abrahams, Zucker & Zucker-inspired comedy is back.

Streaming online for each episode of Season One expires today so put aside three or four hours and check it out now at the TBS website here.  Carol Burnett, who called in to the live marathon hosted by the show’s stars in between episodes, surprised the cast, and nailed it, calling the show “the best, most wonderful, stupid hysterical show I’ve seen in a while”.  What was the secret to the show’s success?  As usual it’s the writing.  Top writing, in fact, by the funny husband-wife duo of Steve Carell and Nancy (ex-Saturday Night Live’s Nancy Walls) Carell and their staff, who tapped into something else we haven’t seen in a while–humor that isn’t mean and ugly, just well-paced and all-out fun.

David Hoffman and DJ Tanner

Fans of Peggy Lipton from The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks might not be able to help making comparisons of Lipton to her daughter, series star Rashida Jones, who plays the title character.  Jones makes a great cop–she could easily fold into a dramatic role on any TV police procedural.  But she also has great comedic timing and is a solid series lead.  Plenty can also be said for the rest of the cast.  We already know Jere Burns from his role as the nasty villain Anson Fullerton on Burn Notice (and dozens of appearances on other popular series from Breaking Bad to Justified).  But who would have thought he’d be so endearing (and, yes, funny) as the textbook, loud-mouthed lieutenant (named Chet Atkins)?  Tribeca’s partner is J. Geils (yes, there’s a theme here with the names), played by Hayes MacArthur (How I Met Your Mother, Medium), comedian Deon Cole is cop DJ Tanner (and his partner Officer David Hoffman is played by Jagger the shepherd dog, who Cole communicates with in a very Han Solo and Chewbacca way), with Andree Vermeulen as the medical examiner, Dr. Scholls.  Gravitas and legitimacy is provided by none other than Alfred Molina as coroner Dr. Edelweiss, always in a state of physical torment–or not.

Angie Tribeca season one poster

And the guest stars and cameos are impressive, too.  You’ll find everyone from Friends’ Lisa Kudrow to Office Space’s Gary Cole, TV character actor staple Matthew Glave, Jones’ parents Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones, and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, and even bigger comedic guns James Franco (probably the funniest cameo of them all) and Bill Murray.  Maybe we’ll see Carol Burnett on a future episode?

The music, sets, and camera angles all reflect what you’d find in a serious drama.  It also makes the show work.  But the world of Angie Tribeca is a askew.  Way askew.

Angie Tribeca

The marathon was billed as commercial free, but as NBC’s Chuck managed with its in-show Subway promotions, Angie Tribeca found its way to include some fittingly over-the-top plugs to advertisers from Ford to Snickers.

The one-time, day long adrenaline shot of humor only can leave us with withdrawals until Season Two arrives.  How can we take this new binge-release norm we’re moving toward?  It just leaves us hungry for more.  Until then we can just re-watch Angie Tribeca in its weekly slot beginning Monday nights, January 25, 2016.

C.J. Bunce

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