Tuesday night is huge for television comedy. In order to make sense of all of the options, we've decided to rank the best shows each week to suss out who is coming out on top.
Note: The ABC comedies were on break this week, so our rankings don't include Trophy Wife or The Goldbergs. Thankfully our other Tuesday night shows were strong enough to pick up the slack.
1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Brooklyn Nine-Nine closed out its season with a bold finale that actually sought to take the show in new directions. For that, it gets the top spot on our list this week. The episode began with Jake Peralta drunk, at a bar declaring that he got fired from the NYPD. That, we eventually learn is a fake out. Though it seems like the NYPD commissioner does not like the way Peralta is aggressively pursuing a "civic leader" he believes is laundering drug money, the FBI does, ultimately recruiting Jake for an undercover mission after Peralta continues pursuing the man. He readily accepts that but not before telling Detective Amy Santiago how he feels about her. That sets up the series to begin its next season in a much different place with Peralta either going undercover or dealing with the aftermath of doing so, and Peralta and Santiago reckoning with Peralta's confession.
Oh, and did we mention that at the end of the episode Gina woke up in bed with Boyle? The other characters outside of the Peralta, Santiago, and Captain Holt trio were helping Boyle deal with the aftermath of his breakup with his fiancée (played by Marilu Henner). Things are bad: he has started dressing like he's in The Matrix and eating eggs out of a bag. Gina, who has taken to speaking in emoji, declares earlier in the episode: "Boyle needs a little rebound nookie. Eggplant emoji." That's what we call foreshadowing.
2. New Girl
Any episode of New Girl that starts with a game of True American is already a winner in our books, but last night’s didn’t stop there, and ended up turning in not just one of the best episodes of the season, but of the entire series. The B-story following Schmidt, Coach, and Winston trying to impress the new girls moving into their building was itself very solid (Schmidt making emoji faces IRL is the show at its GIF-able best), but the centerpiece of “Mars Landing” was the Nick/Jess relationship – and its demise. For a coupling that is often one of the weaker parts of the show, watching it fall apart in such hysterically-hungover antics was a sight to behold. Jake Johnson hit peak Nick Miller, ranting on everything from his views on education (kids should beg for it) to his future as an interstellar truck driver (science is whatever you believe in). We learned what both see in store for their relationship – of course Jess's future kids will name themselves, and of course Nick's first born will be named Reginald VelJohnson because of a lost bet with Schmidt – and that's what, in the end, forced the break up. Nick and Jess are two fundamentally different people, and they both want to stop pretending they're not. We agree; does it make us cynics if the end of Nick & Jess makes us just a little bit happy?
Honestly, New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine could be 1A and 1B this week, but we bump Jess and the boys down a peg out of concern for the future. What it does with Jess and Nick from here on out (awkward sexual tension? a too-soon reconciliation?) has the potential to turn disastrous for the show as a whole.
One last thing: with Jess and Nick no longer together, can Nick and Schmidt share a room, like in their college days? Please?
3. About a Boy
About a Boy turned its attention away from Will's immaturity this week to focus a little more on Marcus and Fiona, and came away with some good results. Marcus becomes attached to the idea of having Will as a father. When Will refuses, Marcus doesn't seem to understand why a lack of physical attraction is an impediment to coupling, meaning Will has to give Marcus the birds and the bees talk. That coincides with Fiona trying out dating, and ends with Marcus barging into a restaurant yelling about intercourse. Not bad! If only Brooklyn and New Girl hadn't been so good this week.
4. Growing Up Fisher
Fisher wasn't terrible last night, which speaks to how good the whole gang of Tuesday night comedies were sans ABC. "Work With Me" cut back on the Mel-is-blind jokes (no over-the-top pratfall that we recall), and instead went with two serviceable sitcom plots. There was the tension caused when Mel hires Joyce to work at his law firm, which wasn't hilarious, but didn't make us groan either, and there was the continued story of Henry trying to woo the girl across the hall. Unfortunately, that devolved into the tired "girls only like guys who ignore them" trope, which doesn't elicit anything, but an eye-roll these days.