“Hey, if you’re going to lose your mind ever time you fall into a coma and then I abandon you for another woman who then raises your baby thinking its a Canadian love child, then it’s gonna be a long second season…”
Sometimes you just want to laugh. Television has exploded into such a cornucopia of content that there are essentially television programs about everything now. Hell, there’s even two for most topics.
So with people getting whatever they want from somewhere in TV’s varied landscape, sometimes all that’s important to you at the end of the day is how much a show makes you laugh. Not how realistic of a period drama it is; not how gripping its metamorphosis of its lead character may be; not how gory and over-the-top the violence and action scenes are. Just how much a show makes you snort up whatever you’re drinking and almost choke to death on whatever you’re eating. And with Angie Tribeca’s second season, it felt like I was struggling for air and lapsing out of consciousness more than I wasn’t. And I mean that as the greatest compliment towards the show.
I had few problems with Angie Tribeca’s first season. This show makes me relentlessly belly giggle like nothing else on TV. The show’s freshman season was a perfect indication of the series’ exaggerated, eccentric sense of humor.
This season manages to somehow outdo last year in almost every category. It’s one of those beautiful circumstances where you thought what you had before was so damn golden, only to have no idea of what a show might actually be capable of. The stakes have risen and the gauntlet has been dropped. Angie Tribeca actually feels like a full, well-rounded television show this season rather than a collection of gags that are doing an impression of a sitcom.
For instance, the series comfortably feels much more like an ensemble piece this season, rather than Rashida Jones’ titular character receiving the bulk of the jokes. Not only is Hayes MacArthur’s Jay Geils given the opportunity to step up, but Dr. Scholls (Andree Vermeulen) and Tanner (Deon Cole) are gratefully given a lot more to do, too (I daresay we might not be far off from seeing an episode that focuses exclusively on Tanner and Hoffman—something I need immediately—if a third season is to happen).
It’s mind boggling to see the balancing act the show maintains. Its cast are simultaneously caricatures on strings meant to serve up gags while also being seen as emotional, realistically flawed human beings. This is a show where all of a sudden a character might be a vampire because it’s convenient to the scene. Actors are randomly switching roles one minute and the next you’re deeply invested in their pain and cheering for their epiphanies. This season has you significantly giving more of a damn for every single character, as well as their relationships.
Plotting also carries a substantially more impact this season, too. The series weaves an impressive larger serialized crime story throughout the individual episodes where they stand on their own merits but also compliment the larger mystery at hand. A one-off joke featuring James Franco in the first season is even turned into a season-long arc. It’s kind of insane how good a job the show does at having everything connect together where all of these disparate plot points connect to a huge, satisfying conspiracy in the end. If you thought Angie Tribeca was a show that you’d never hear, “Previously On…” this season is going to drastically shatter that illusion for you.
This sort of serialization is really the only thing that I thought was lacking from the first season of Angie Tribeca, so that being remedied is kind of fantastic. One of my biggest questions upon watching Angie Tribeca’s pilot was how do you sustain something like this? How does this work as a series? Now that the show has spent a year easing you into its universe it’s able to evolve the storytelling in such a manner and it completely works.
The series also deliciously pokes fun at cliffhangers, returning from the first season’s bombshell of an ending in the most extreme ways possible. This leads to some exciting new relationship dynamics between Tribeca and Geils, adding some welcome depth to the show. A lot of this material works because both Jones and MacArthur are killing it this year, but it’s also interesting to see some semblance of an overarching story and lasting meaningful events. Tribeca and Scholls’ friendship is also steeped in tension this year, which gives Scholls a whole lot more to do and arguably makes her a more interesting, fuller character in the process. It still might just be a different stereotype being fallen back on at times, but it’s at least a better one.
The series’ second season continues to stay fresh by finding a number of ripe backdrops to place crime against, with dog parks, the world of sushi, lifeguarding, boy bands, and organ thieves all making for great mines of comedy. The series is also still dripping in the jokiest of jokes like an assassin struggling to assemble a rifle because it uses Ikea parts, a black market that operates like a farmers’ market, or a John Doe that turns up who’s actually named John Dough. If you’re averse to puns, this show might literally drive you to take your own life.
There’s also just a lot more complexity present this year that makes this feel like more than just a comedy. The season toys with the idea of Tribeca defecting and where her actual loyalties and motivations may lie, which is legitimately interesting material for the character. Seeing how far Tribeca’s willing to go in order to figure things out is super engaging, too. At times it’s even like she’s The Punisher or something. All of this also hints at what could be a real trajectory for the show’s third season, introducing some angles that could really explode the status quo if they felt like it.
Angie Tribeca is a show that looks like it’s constantly having fun at every single turn. The fact that it happened to learn how to be even better at what it’s doing is the exploding bullet in the magnum (see, I know cop talk now). This is a comedy that really tries to give you everything and it honestly does a pretty damn good job at hitting that quota. If you liked the show last season, you’re going to love it this year, and if you’ve never seen the show, now is the perfect time to get on board. There are moments during the second season finale where the episode’s plot just crumbles under the weight of its own jokes—almost like it’s gone out of its way to not make sense. Angie Tribeca doesn’t want you to work too hard. Instead it just wants to keep you laughing up until the credits roll, and really, what more can you ask for?
Angie Tribeca returns Monday, June 6th at 9pm, exclusively on TBS. This review is based on all ten half-hour episodes of ‘Angie Tribeca’s’ second season.