Ask Matt: Exits of Gina From ‘Brooklyn’ & Jack From ‘MacGyver,’ ‘Big Brother’ Rants, and More
Welcome to the Q&A with TV critic (also known to some TV fans as their “TV therapist”) Matt Roush, who’ll try to address whatever you love, loathe, are confused or frustrated or thrilled by in today’s vast TV landscape. One caution: This is a spoiler-free zone, so we won’t be addressing upcoming storylines here unless it’s already common knowledge. Please send your questions and comments to [email protected] (or use the form at the end of the column) and follow me on Twitter. Look for Ask Matt columns on most Tuesdays and Fridays.
How Big a Deal Was Gina’s B99 Departure?
Question: I previously asked you about Chelsea Peretti’s then-pending departure from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, since there was little explanation, and after last Thursday’s swan song, she told another interviewer, “It wasn’t fully my decision to leave,” but was still not forthcoming. Reading between the lines, one might conclude she was a casualty of budget cuts, what with the show’s move from NBC to Fox, although no one associated with the show is saying so. As it was, the departure episode was as over the top as Gina Linetti is … for good and for ill. Sure, the cast might miss her, but this was treated like Dr. Green leaving County General Hospital on ER, and Gina isn’t THAT important to the proceedings. Then again, I don’t like the character very much. She was self-absorbed, condescending and sometimes mean, especially to Amy, and it’s hard to understand why we were supposed to believe all the other characters liked her. Sure, she’s Jake’s childhood friend and he’s loyal, but the rest of them? It doesn’t make sense. — Kelvin
Matt Roush: I thought Gina’s exit was a hoot, very much in character for the precinct’s most perversely sarcastic mistress of snark. In an ensemble show like this, any long-running cast member earns a final bow when the time comes, so this didn’t feel like too much—although the content was purposefully over the top, this was only one episode (with the tag of the former episode setting up her decision to leave). You may be right that this may have been as much a budget decision as it was creative; those matters aren’t always discussed publicly, and I’m not sure they need to be, as long as transitions like these are satisfying to the viewer. And while you may be glad she’s gone, I’ll miss the almost surreal quality Chelsea Peretti brought to this unflappably odd duck.
Question: I’m more of a casual viewer of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but do you think the show will survive without Gina? I know that shows like Barney Miller, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H and Cheers not only survived but thrived without Abe Vigoda, Gregory Sierra, Jack Soo, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, McLean Stevenson, Larry Linville, Shelley Long, Nicolas Colasanto, etc. I guess this will be tested the rest of the season? — K
Matt Roush: I’m sure the show will survive just fine without her. Gina was more of an oddball observer than core player (which could be another factor in her departure), and I doubt her leaving will affect the show’s rhythms or style of humor. And unlike the other shows you reference above, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is something of a cult fringe player, so cast comings and goings aren’t headline news the way they were in the days of beloved blockbusters like M*A*S*H, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Cheers.
Saying Goodbye to MacGyver’s Jack
Question: Just finished watching MacGyver, and Jack (George Eads) said good-bye to everyone at the end, going on an Army mission. It really looked like goodbye. Is he gone from the show? If so, why? It will not be the same without him. — Rebecca
Matt Roush: Lots of questions about this, although it was widely reported late last year that the actor asked to be let out of his contract, with reports noting that Eads wanted out to be able to spend more time away from the Atlanta set to be with his daughter in Los Angeles. There were also reports of an altercation on set, but I prefer to think of this as a mutual decision on the part of the show and the star to move on without him. So yes, that was the character’s proper farewell.
Question: Why in the world are normal, intelligent people with common sense forced to watch so many hours of Big Brother, now Big Brother: Celebrity Edition, when there are so many of us that want to watch our regular shows? I am so sick and tired of this stupid reality TV show that only morons take an interest in. CBS is by far the best channel of the regular networks and always has been, but I am irritated with them constantly pre-empting the good shows for this crap! Surely CBS is never lacking for ratings and if they want to get more ratings they can do better than airing this garbage. — Marilyn
Matt Roush: Here’s the good news. You’re only going to have to put up with it for another week (the finale is set for Feb. 13). And honestly, no one’s “forcing” you to watch this—and I’m the last person who’d defend a show I’ve always found to be the antithesis of good TV, and the epitome of time-wasting “reality” junk food. I got more hate mail than usual about this installment, maybe because CBS is airing it during the regular season when it’s more intrusive. (The first “celebrity” edition was positioned as counterprogramming opposite last year’s Winter Olympics, so clearly there was a better alternative then.) Here’s a thought: On the nights it airs (Monday, Thursday, Friday this week; Monday and Wednesday next), try sampling some of CBS’s competition. That’ll show ’em.
Question: My question is, Why, oh why does the Big Brother show have to come on almost every night????????? I assume it must be popular, but for us just seeing the commercials of those whining, crying characters just makes me cringe!!!!! No other shows get the privilege of coming on every night. — Joan
Matt Roush: Sadly, Joan, that’s the format. And for what it’s worth (not much), the footprint is a little less intrusive than it tends to be during the regular summer runs. Just keep telling yourself: In a week, it will all be over.
Can All American Make the Cut?
Question: I saw the list of renewed shows for The CW and was extremely disappointed that All American was not listed. I really enjoy this show! Acting is excellent and the storyline is unpredictable. It doesn’t fit in one of the predictable, sports story, single mom or racial prejudice molds. Please tell me if it is coming back. — Lorna
Matt Roush: We may not know until May (when the networks announce their fall lineups) on this one. The fact that it doesn’t fit into a mold, or one of The CW’s favored genres (superhero, sci-fi/fantasy, rom-com soap), makes it something of an outlier. CW shows tend to get noticed more when they drop onto Netflix once their seasons are over. This boosted the fortunes of Riverdale and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend among others. How this fares on other platforms could determine its future on The CW.
Question: Where is 9-1-1 on Fox? I loved the show and thought it had been renewed. – Ramona
Matt Roush: It’s still a keeper, but Fox is resting the show at midseason to give The Passage a shot for the next two months. 9-1-1 will be back on Mondays, with the current plan to launch the back half of the season on March 18.
Question: Why did NBC cancel Midnight, Texas, and what are the chances we can get the show back for Season 3 on Netflix, Hulu or HBO? I’m devastated it’s over. — Debra, Sunrise, FL
Matt Roush: The why: ratings, and NBC’s unfortunate decision to bring back Midnight during the regular season (not as a summer diversion) in a challenging Friday time period. As often happens with serialized cult and genre shows, the studio is reported to be shopping it around, and if anyone were to pick it up, I’d think it would be either Syfy or a streaming service. Hard to predict on this one.
That’s all for now. Thanks as always for reading, and remember that I can’t do this without your participation, so please keep sending questions and comments about TV to [email protected] or shoot me a line on Twitter (@TVGMMattRoush), and you can also submit questions via the handy form below. Please include a first name with your question.