The Good Guys, “Broken Door Theory”

After three episodes, it seems like The Good Guys is now less concerned with parodying cop shows of time past and simply being a straight-up comedy with police elements. That’s sort of disappointing, but it was a fine line to tow from the beginning and perhaps it’s just easier to go this route with the series and especially Bradley Whitford’s Dan. But ultimately, that makes the series a little less enjoyable for me.

“Broken Door Theory” is still a fun hour of television and I laughed at multiple lines, but I found myself a little bored with it, especially in the first half. I wondered last week if the X minutes earlier gimmick was just for one episode and in that self-contained structure, I loved it. Well, it seems like it’s going to be used in every episode and not shockingly, I don’t care for it in that context. It is going to go from a funny comment on a television trope to a major gimmick in just another two episodes if it keeps up. And based on the fact that these episodes are being shown out of production order — I think the last two were actually episodes seven and six or something — it looks like the X minutes earlier technique is going to be a gimmick and that’s disappointing.

Dan is less broad this week thanks to the exclusion of computers, but it’s obvious that he’s rarely going to be used for any subtly. At this point, Whitford’s all-in performance is enough to keep me laughing and there are still a number of funny lines and looks here that I can buy in to the character as a real person. Although the discussion about the series will always bring up Whitford first, I think Colin Hanks has been good, not great and their chemistry seems fairly natural in the TV-antagonistic-but-not-really kind of way.

The women, on the other hand, ugh. I think it was Todd Van Der Werff of the AV Club who said that the whole situation with the female characters feels like Matt Nix wrote the script one way many, many years ago and the one major note from the studio was, “hey, this thing needs some women!” and thus, women. I’ve already reached my limit on the number of times I can actually believe assistant DA Liz just happens to be wandering around the police station OR arriving at the scene of the crime as if she’s a cop. And the Lieutenant character is at least ten more steps down in the ladder of worthlessness.

Nevertheless, I’m going keep watching. I hope the series follows the vibe of last week’s episode more than this one, and I’m troubled that this is one of the better episodes in FOX’s mind, but hey, again, it’s the summer and I like mustaches. I’m still in. Are you?

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