Pun-Filled Cop Comedy 'Angie Tribeca' Returns | NBC Southern California

Pun-Filled Cop Comedy 'Angie Tribeca' Returns

The absurdist, deadpan show returns Monday

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    Midway through the first season of “Angie Tribeca,” the cop comedy’s straight-laced title detective and her musically named partner, Jay Geils, go undercover to bust a nightclub prostitution ring. As Angie confuses the crowd with a faux sexy song about her “melons,” Geils gives another colleague a (lack-of) progress report from behind the bar. 

    “No hookers. One john,” he whispers into a hidden microphone as the camera pans to a gleaming toilet perched on a barstool. “But it’s clean.” 

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    That’s also about as clean as toilet humor gets, which is part of the charm of “Angie Tribeca,” a celebration of the silly where visual and verbal puns flow without clogs – or controversy. The TBS show returns for a second season Monday, just in time for some much-needed (comedy) relief.

    The TV humor scene, understandably, stands to be dominated this summer by political satire amid a presidential race not exactly brimming with (intentional) laughs. “Angie” – along with NBC’s new variety show “Maya & Marty” and the upcoming fourth installment of Syfy’s “Sharknado” franchise – provides an opportunity for a brief escape into some low-stakes absurdity.

    Like “Maya & Marty,” which bounces with a Carol Burnett vibe, and “Sharknado,” which hearkens to over-the-top 1970s disaster movies, “Angie Tribeca” is a throwback. Angie, as played by Rashida Jones, could be the granddaughter of bumbling spy Maxwell Smart of “Get Smart” or the child of clueless Lt. Frank Drebin of TV’s short-lived “Police Squad!” and the “Naked Gun” movies.

    While “Angie” is part homage, she’s her own woman at a time when hyper-serious police procedurals fill a major chunk of the TV landscape. Jones leads a cast that includes standouts Deon Cole and Hays MacArthur as Geils, who scored the biggest laugh of last season when he thanked a slain ventriloquist’s wife for her time – as he picked up her Time magazine.

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    It’s a lot funnier in the watching than the telling, thanks to stone-faced performances that permeate a show co-created by TV deadpan master Steve Carell. While the sight gags are droll, the dialogue of “Angie Tribeca” moves at a “30 Rock”-like pace – and landed as a happy blur when TBS debuted the initial 10-episode season with a 25-hour marathon in January.

    “Angie” proved binge-worthy the first time around. Fans are expecting a repeat performance this season, which arrives flush with new comic possibilities.  

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    Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.