Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Model Train Showdown Leads To Terry's Induction Into The Grim Dancing Hall Of Fame

Oh, you better believe we giffed it.

Longtime fans of our feature King Of Disparate TV Things Mountain know one important thing about me: I'm a huge fan of the TV trope of Gravely Serious Dancing. ...Okay, it's not quite a trope. Call it a microtrope. But there are examples, plural! For instance: there's the one I made the mistake of submitting to KOTM to get slaughtered by The Way Angie Jordan Says "Ham": Slurms McKenzie's last party, from Futurama.

Evidently someone at Futurama agrees with me that the incongruity of a grim facial expression atop extremely goofy dancing is inherently hilarious, since it happened again when Fry protested his petrified dog's display in a museum by doing his people's native dance on its front steps.

There's also the time Donna Martin responded to her boyfriend's disapproval of her appearance in a Powerman 5000 video by gritting her teeth and dancing through the pain.


In tonight's Brooklyn Nine-Nine, we write a new chapter in the annals of serious dancing. While Jake and Rosa spend the A-plot trying to track down Amy and keep her from sabotaging her chance to take the sergeants' exam, Terry and Holt collaborate on a project of their own. Terry feels the "soft room" -- a place for kids to spend time when they show up at the station -- could be a little more appealing: "All we have in there are toys from the movie Kazaam, and none of them are even Kazaam!" Holt generously offers up his extra graphing calculator, but Terry's idea is to put in a model train set. Since this is a plaything that appealed even to the young Raymond Holt, the captain agrees to put one together with Terry. Unfortunately, it turns out their ideas for what makes a good model train clash drastically. Terry puts together Jeffords Junction: "It's got an ice cream shot, a '50s diner, and a Mexican restaurant with a sombrero on it!" Holt immediately takes issue with the logistics of Terry's vision, since he doesn't see any drains on the model Mexican restaurant, so water will collect in the sombrero when it rains and collapse the whole structure. Terry grins that it never rains in Jeffords Junction. "So you achieve this level of lushness through irrigation alone?" Terry hasn't thought that through, and also doesn't care, since he feels the point of a model train set is using your imagination. Holt: "No, they're about accuracy. People want to see the world around them exactly as it is, but smaller." Terry's willing to compromise by letting his half be whimsical while Holt's is extremely real, until he comes back from getting Holt's 8mm level from his office to discover that Holt's made an edit in his absence.


A confrontation ensues in which both Captain and Sergeant agree to end their collaboration and instead go head-to-head, letting the next child to come by the squad room decide which half is more appealing, and Terry throws down the gauntlet: "I'm going to turn Jeffords Junction into the funnest town in America!"


"That's right. I said 'funnest.'" As if punctuating his point by flagrantly throwing an un-word right in Holt's face, Terry doubles down, enraging Holt with some of the most deadly serious dancing I've ever seen.


"Stop dancing."


"Stop dancing. This is a direct order. Stop. Dancing."


Holt and Terry finally smooth things over when an actual kid shows up and tells them neither half of the model train is nearly as fun as a videogame system would be, and they move their set to a file room to enjoy by themselves, away from any killjoy children. We're all just fortunate that their dispute brought us the glorious moment Terry let himself express his defiance with his feet. And arms. And nipples.

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