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Josh Reviews Angie Tribeca Season Two!

Last spring I devoured the first ten-episode season of Rashida Jones’ Angie Tribeca, a wonderfully clever, gloriously silly show.  In my review of season one I compared Angie Tribeca to a modern-day version of Police Squad.  The show follows a team of homicide detectives but it’s not really a police procedural parody.  It’s more like the show uses the framework of a police procedural to cram in as many crazy, often-very-random jokes as humanly possible.  I loved that first season and so I was delighted that only a few months later a second ten-episode season was released on TBS.

Angie Tribeca season 2.cropped

Unironic silliness can be hard to achieve, but Angie Tribeca nails it.  The show is a riot, chock full of absurdity and craziness, puns and sight-gags and slapstick and wordplay and lots more.  The jokes are piled high, with gags coming fast and furious.  This is a show that makes me laugh a lot.

Once again, Rashida Jones plays the titular Angie Tribeca, a Los Angeles homicide detective.  The whole gang from season one is back, including Hayes MacArthur as Angie’s partner Giles, Jere Burns as their boss (and my favorite character on the show) Lt. Atkins, Deon Cole as DJ Tanner (a great Full House joke), Andree Vermeulen as medical examiner Dr. Scholls (come on, all of these character names are so great!), and Alfred Molina as Dr. Edelweiss.

Rashida Jones is, as always, terrific in the lead role.  Alfred Molina’s one-scene-per-episode is always a highlight, allowing the great Mr. Molina to act increasingly crazy to enormous comedic effect.  I commented above that Jere Burns as Lt. Atkins is my favorite character on the show, and though he has fierce competition from Mr. Molina’s Dr. Edelweiss, I stand by that assessment.  I have fallen in love with Mr. Burns’ crazy deadpan, half-yelling delivery.  It’s amazing.

Season two had an incredible parade of amazing comedic guest stars.  Jon Hamm, Busy Phillips, Heather Graham, Mary McCormack, Maya Rudolph, Newsradio’s Vicki Lewis, Saul Rubinek, and many more familiar faces all appear in season two and are so, so funny.  I also have to highlight Noah Wylie and Eriq La Salle, who pop up in a brilliant E.R. reunion in “Organ Trail.”  But my favorite cameo of the season has to be Kevin Pollak’s appearance as the punchline to a brilliant A Few Good Men joke in “Beach Blanket Sting-O.”

Whereas all ten episodes in season one were pretty much stand-alone installments, here in season two they have opted for a different tack.  Each episode does still have it’s own distinct, usually outlandish murder investigation, but the whole season is linked together by several running story-lines, including Angie’s split from Giles (and a crazy story-line in which Giles and Dr. Scholls have been raising Angie’s baby from the season one finale), the mystery of Angie’s not-as-dead-as-everyone-thought-he-was former partner Sgt. Pepper (played by James Franco), and a conspiracy involving the city’s mayoral election.

I generally like continuity between episodes in a TV show, and I liked that this second season of Angie Tribeca felt like a complete story.  Having plot-threads carry over from one episode to the next gives viewers more of a reason to keep watching from episode to episode.  On the other hand, not all of those continuing story-lines felt strong enough to sustain over the course of a whole season.  The election-related conspiracy and everything involving Mayhem Global was more confusing than compelling (the show’s anything-for-a-joke craziness doesn’t mesh well with trying to sustain a complicated mystery/conspiracy plot), and the totally nutty story-line about Angie’s coma and her baby being raised by Giles and Dr. Scholls was just ridiculous.  (I guess it was supposed to be a parody of TV shows’ soap-opera like plot twists, especially involving season finales, but it didn’t work for me.  It was more insane than it was funny, and it led to Angie and Giles being estranged from one another for most of the season after season one had tried to get us to care about the two of them being together.  Either the show wants us to have some sort of emotional investment in Angie and Giles’ relationship, OR the show just wants to be totally crazy.  This story-line tried to have it both ways and that didn’t really work for me.)

My only other quibble with season two?  What happened to the screaming cop at the end of the opening credits, my favorite recurring gag from season one??

But look, I don’t want to get too down on Angie Tribeca for trying up some new things in season two.  The show remains super-funny and unlike pretty much any other comedy on TV these days.   Comedy fans, hear me: check out Angie Tribeca.  This show is a ton of fun.  I really hope we’ll get a season three!!

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