Silly, star-studded cop spoof Angie Tribeca will divide comedy fans

This surreal series, which relentlessly mocks police procedurals with cartoonish glee, is comedy Marmite, says Ellie Walker-Arnott

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Angie Tribeca (Rashida Jones) is a kick-ass cop who wakes at 4:45am every morning, launches into a fitness routine, smashes up her apartment and leaves just as a gaggle of handyman arrive to clear up the mess.

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She’s a no-nonsense, cynical detective with a troubled past who hates working with a partner. Think you’ve seen that before? Well, you have. Every single sentence of every single storyline in Nancy and Steve Carell’s new police parody is familiar. 

It’s a strange, surreal comedy, packed full of visual gags and one-liners, relentlessly mocking police procedurals with cartoonish glee. 

It doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should you or you won’t enjoy it. There are poorly disguised stunt doubles, a detective whose sole role is to vomit at each crime scene, a cop who is actually a dog… Jones and the rest of the regular cast – Hayes MacArthur, Deon Cole, Jere Burns, Andree Vermeulen, Jagger the Belgian Malinois – don’t miss a single opportunity for a gag. “All due respect” but it’s non-stop cliches “if you catch my drift.” 

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It’s easy to see where the next laugh will come from but that doesn’t detract from how enjoyable this sitcom is. The running jokes are part of its appeal. We all know what’s coming when Tribeca utters, ‘Let’s just say’ – and it’s hard not smirk a little in anticipation. Sure a lot of the jokes fall flat, but with a show so crammed full of them, that’s still a pretty good hit rate and leaves a lot of laugh-out-loud moments nonetheless. 

Angie Tribeca is also seriously star-studded. Lisa Kudrow appears in episode one with the likes of James Franco, Bill Murray and Gene Simmons showing up later on. 

But I must admit, at the end of the first episode, I wasn’t sold. It felt like a single funny skit someone misguidedly decided to drag out over 20 minutes. But if you let go, embrace the goofiness and stop rolling your eyes, that you realise Angie Tribeca is actually brilliantly – and absurdly – unique.

US network TBS aired the 10-episode first season on repeat over 25 non-stop, advert-free hours when the show first launched in January and I can see why. A single instalment isn’t enough to really get into it. It’s a show, like Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, that lends itself to being binged. 

This kind of slapstick silliness is always comedy Marmite. You’ll either dismiss it entirely or love it wholeheartedly in spite of its flaws. After a couple of episodes, I’m leaning towards the latter. 

Angie Tribeca starts on Thursday at 9:30pm on E4

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jyteMfH8MQ