Economy class: What is a “bottle” episode of the series

Economy class: What is a "bottle" episode of the seriesBrooklyn 9-9

April 1 left the 14th episode of the fifth season of the series “Brooklyn 9-9”, which enthusiastically reacted American critics: “If the showmans decide to close the show dramatically now, then it will end on an ideal note.” “Brooklyn 9-9” – this is already quite a unique series, for five years, remaining fresh and cheerful. What is so unusual happened in the last episode?

According to the plot, Detective Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Captain Holt (AndrĂ© Broger) are interrogated by a dentist suspected of killing a colleague. This role was played by Sterling K. Brown, the star of the series “It’s Us.” For 20 minutes, Brown does not go away, answering the questions of detectives. They play the script “smart and stupid cop,” trying their best to fetch recognition from the dentist. However, we do not know what all the other heroes of “Brooklyn” are doing – the action is concentrated entirely on the three heroes. For 20 minutes we do not leave the room for interrogation, only occasionally moving to her waiting room.

In serial jargon, this episode is called a “bottle episode”. This means that the series is removed with minimal costs, often with the use of one location. But the writers have the opportunity to show themselves, but at the same time to develop characters. The departure from the usual narrative and the emphasis on the heroes of the series sometimes make such episodes unforgettable.

The term came about thanks to the “Star Trek”, in which the action of some series developed exclusively on board the ship Enterprise. The camera crew joked that these episodes were like a “ship in a bottle”, because the actors did not go beyond the scenery. There is another version of the origin of the term – from the phrase “bottleneck episodes”, which means “shooting with a deterrent”. “The neck of the bottle” was a small budget, which needed to be met.

Thinking over the season, showrunners and producers outline “bottle” episodes in advance. They will save money for other series. For example, often the first episode of the new season requires a larger budget to meet the expectations of viewers who have been waiting for the return of their favorite series for several months, or even years.

Another eight “bottle” episodes

The Enterprise team responds to the distress signal from border post number 4, located in the neutral zone between the Federation and the Romulan Empire. Posts were exhibited more than a hundred years ago, but no one had ever seen a living representative of this empire, since the contract was on the radio. “Enterprise” notices the intruder: it is a Romulan warship. Captain Kirk begins his persecution, entering into a dangerous game with the most intelligent captain of the Romulans. The series is considered one of the best in the season.

The main characters of the series Jerry, Ellen and George are sent to the screening of the film “Plan 9 from outer space.” On the way to the cinema, they decide to drop into a Chinese restaurant, but no one has booked a table in advance, and so the trio has to sit and wait until the place is vacant. When Larry David, one of the authors of the series, presented the episode to the NBC channel, the reaction was extremely negative. Producers felt that this is a completely unnecessary series, and the lack of a change of locations will make viewers bored. David threatened to leave the project, he was supported by co-author Jerry Seinfeld. The series was eventually released only at the very end of the season. Subsequently, the “Chinese Restaurant” will be called critics one of the first classic episodes of “Seinfeld.”

Just the series, which refers to the April Fools’ episode “Brooklyn 9-9”. Detectives Pemblton (played by AndrĂ© Broger, the same Captain Holt of Brooklyn) and Bayliss try to knock out confession in the murder of 11-year-old Adena Watson from Risley Tucker. They have only 12 hours to force a man to confess to his deed. The series was staged by Martin Campbell, director of the films Golden Eye, Mask Zorro and Casino Royale. He masterfully used a closed room to create tension, relying solely on acting and dialogues. Tom Fontana, who wrote the script, received for him the Emmy Award. No episode of the “Slaughter Division” was awarded such an honor.

An interesting case of a “bottle” episode, which did not live up to the expectations of the producers. Despite the fact that the action developed in one location, the production cost of the series was even higher than the usual episode of “Materials”. Agents Mulder and Scully are investigating the massive suicide of the team of geophysicists in Alaska. The scenery reminds John Carpenter’s film “Something”, and the plot is connected with an alien parasite. The creator of the series, Chris Carter, called the inspiration of John Campbell’s story “Who’s coming?” – just on it was filmed by Carpenter.

“Friends”: “A series in which no one is ready” / The One Where No One’s Ready

In “Friends” there are several “bottle” episodes, but the very first was just this one. According to the plot, the company is going to an important evening for Ross in the museum. Phoebe arrives at Monica’s apartment and Rachel at the parade, but Joey accidentally messes up her dress. While Rachel is looking for what to disguise Phoebe, Joey takes Chandler’s place. Going to change clothes, Chandler incidentally hides all Joey’s panties. He in retaliation puts on all the clothes of Chandler. Rachel can not choose a dress for herself, Monica listens to the former answering machine, Ross is on the verge of hysteria. Critics considered the episode a reference to the “Chinese Restaurant” from “Seinfeld.” In 2004, the NBC channel voted to find out the most popular series of “Friends”, and this took the third place.

The first four episodes of the third season of the “Galaxy” were very expensive in production, and before the fourth season the authors wrote several “bottle” series to avoid costly computer graphics. The ninth episode is replete with flashbacks, filmed earlier. They were to be distributed throughout the season, but in the end they were woven into the outline of the boxing match. The spectator learned about the conflicts, relationships and betrayals, because of which the characters were on the verge. The “unfinished business” revealed the characters, and Michael Taylor received the nomination for the award “Nebula” (given to works in the field of science fiction) for the scenario of this series.

The director of “The Last Jedi” Ryan Johnson put three series for “Heavy”. The episode “The Fly”, although it did not become a spectator favorite, was criticized by the critics. For example, a magazine Time called it “the most unusual and, perhaps, the best” series. Walt arrives at the lab, prepares the meter and discovers that there is a fly in the room. Fearing that the insect is capable of spoiling a new batch of drugs, Walt begins to hunt for the fly and falls. In the morning, Jesse discovers Walt in the laboratory – he’s sick, but he insists on catching a fly and refuses to start working until the insect is killed. Critics believe that the fly personifies Walt’s fault, which did not begin to save Jane, Jessie’s girlfriend.

Heroes are working on the project when the dean invites them to the parade of puppies. While everyone is going to, Annie finds out that she has lost her pen. She demands that the whole group stay and find it. Abed notes that the situation begins to remind him of a “bottle” episode. Remaining in four walls, the characters reveal themselves emotionally and physically – they will literally have to undress. This is not the only “bottle” episode of “Classmates”, but it is he who perfectly reveals the essence of such series.

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