The latest episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was one that tried to walk the difficult balance of funny and emotional. One of the best characters on the show, Gina Linetti, played by Chelsea Peretti, is leaving the precinct and decides to give everyone a “Gina moment” before she leaves. Split into four movements almost like the show Life in Pieces, the episode felt a little bit choppy. Certain scenes, like the chess one, were well thought out, using the game as a metaphor for both Gina’s decision and Holt’s and Gina’s relationship. The scene itself was remarkably done and set the bar high for the rest of the episode.
The best part of Gina’s character is that she is so incredulously over-the-top and unpredictable. This episode tried to pay homage to Gina’s character, but it felt like it leaned a little too heavily on her quirks, which made some of the tender moments (like Rosa crying) and plotlines (like the statue) feel forced or rushed. Gina’s strength comes from her role as a complementary character. The episodes where she features in the main storyline, she is usually paired with another character to balance out her extreme personality. In this episode, no such balance was provided, and it made the show feel a little off. The episode was entertaining, and it had its moments for sure (eg. Jake and Gina as spoiled, rich children), but as far as tribute episodes go, it wasn’t the best I’ve seen.
B99 fans. Hiiiiiiiiiiii. Chelsea Peretti, here. I won't be doing a full season of Brooklyn Nine Nine in Season 6. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever be back, winky face emoji, heart emoji. I want to thank you for the hours you spent watching Gina be Gina:— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) October 3, 2018
We learned about Chelsea’s departure from her tweet in October. In a Hollywood Reporter interview, when asked about the decision to leave, she replies, “Well, it wasn't just a solo process. [Laughs.] I wasn't just like, "I'm leaving!" and I swing my cape. I can't get into the exact breakdown of how it all transpired, but it wasn't just my solo decision.”
When probed further about whether it was hers or the show’s decision, she deflects. “That’s the part that I’m deliberately not clarifying, because I feel like I can’t get into the exact breakdown [of what happened]. I’m just a lowly actor out here without much status. Everyone’s like, "Hey, do a bunch of interviews." And I’m like, "All right. I don’t know how to talk about it." But I feel like it’s one of those things … you write about Hollywood all the time. No one can ever fully say the whole story of what’s going on. But the gist is it was somewhat mutual. And it was amicable. That’s the best way I can put it.”
That last response, despite being in text, has a certain tone. I might be wrong, but it seems a little defensive and guarded. I don’t think the split from the show was hostile, and Peretti shared Instagram photos of the amazing gifts and send-offs the show’s creator presented to her on her final day of shooting…
…so I’m still insanely curious about what went down. If it was a career decision to move past the show (a la Steve Carrell), I think she would have been more honest about that. The lack of information is intriguing, but not damning. Chelsea Peretti is currently filming for Brooklyn Nine-Nine in a comeback episode, so clearly the working relationship still exists. That just makes me even more puzzled about what really happened. I need to know!
Whatever the reason behind this decision, Chelsea Peretti has gifted us with an iconic, memorable character that models how to create unique female characters. Gina’s a single mother, yet that fact doesn’t define her, nor does it come up without reason. She’s entirely vain and self-obsessed without appearing ditsy. In fact, the show actively tries to subvert those stereotypes by showing her talent and intelligence in a variety of situations, usually ones where the rest of the cast has failed. Gina is a lesson in confidence, in self-love, and in saying f-ck you to the haters. She was an amazing addition to the show and like most of B99 fans, I’m really going to miss her.