Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Terry Crews and Joe Lo Truglio believe masculinity shouldn't stop men from showing affection
The one thing that helps 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' stand apart in the sitcom genre is its signature style of evaluating societal issues and norms through lighthearted comedy.
Having tackled racism, workplace sexism and harassment, cop-brutality, homophobia, and countless other issues, the one aspect of the show that doesn't get highlighted as often is the wonderful portrayal of a non-definitive masculinity shown by characters such as detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) and Sargeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews).
These characters aren't afraid to embrace the softer, feminine, and affectionate sides of their personalities.
Lo Truglio and Crews, in a chat with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), shared how awesome it was to play such nuanced characters is.
Lo Truglio, who plays the kind and affectionate detective Boyle, is quite enamored with his best friend-slash-coworker at the 'Nine-Nine'—detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg.)
Despite being a part of such a stereotyped section of the society—i.e. a white cop—Boyle doesn't shy away from expressing his love, fondness, and affection towards Jake.
There are no "no-homo" jokes or crass humor related to their bromance.
Boyle's spirit is uninhibited when he is around his male best friend, and never for once does this feminine display get questioned or insulted by the people around him.
Lo Truglio, who has played the role for six years going on to the seventh now, pointed out just how crucial such a multidimensional portrayal of masculinity is.
"It's important to show that affection doesn't have to always be sexual," Lo Truglio told MEAWW at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019. "It's important to show that adoration doesn't have to be a weakness, especially with straight men to other straight men. And I love that. The characters have never shied away from Boyle's enthusiasm for friendship and connection and it's a testament to their courage."
Crews, whose character Terry Jeffords is a burlesque cop and father-of-three, isn't strained by the confinements of masculinity either.
Terry loves the farmers' market and building dollhouses for his kids and, according to Crews, he believes this striking portrayal really opens up the conversation of how male characters and their masculinity doesn't need to be so one-dimensional and restricted from showing affection.
"When I look at the different kinds of masculinity that we show (on 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine), I just think it opens it (the discourse) up," Crews told MEAWW.
Speaking about Lo Truglio's Boyle and his penchant for showering his friends and coworkers with affection, he quipped: "We always try to calm that (Boyle's enthusiasm) down and yeah, but that's okay because he's so earnest and I love it."
Crews and Lo Truglio admit that the credit goes to the absolute geniuses behind the script, who—if the actors are to be believed—are quite the magicians with the ever-evolving jokes they come up with.
"When we first started the first and second seasons, I think we were improving and ad-libbing a little bit more, and then you find that you only have a certain amount of time for the episode and a lot of it gets cut out, so why keep the crew there longer than they have to?" says Lo Truglio about the improvisation quotient of the show's humor.
"We also have incredible writers that come with different alternative jokes for the scene, so we feel like we're getting some variety. Of course, if we're inspired and we're on a roll that will do it but it doesn't happen as often as you think."
Crews agreed, saying: "I think (now) we know who we are. We know these characters we'd live with them for almost seven years. So they bring it all to switch; there are written improvs that are already lined up so you can do it five different ways, and they'll edit it to the best way. But the testament to safe comedy is that we trust them to do that because I've been in places where they tell you to do it a certain way and you're stuck with and you think you would have done it another way. You wish you could have had another chance."
Lo Truglio made a revealing observation on what their writers are truly all about: "The writers (of the show) are not precious with the jokes. You can't be precious with the jokes, they are precious with the characters."
'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' has been renewed for a seventh season, expected to arrive in January 2020 on NBC.