Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Jake & Amy
Last night finally gave Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans the event they’d been waiting for since season one: the wedding of Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta. The Peraltiago wedding was basically a given ever since it was revealed that Amy and Jake had a competition going to see who could make the most felony arrests. If television sitcoms have taught us anything it’s that opposites attract, and as soon as they revealed that the laid-back, immature Jake had a crush on the uptight Amy it seemed that here we had our classic will-they-or-won’t-they couple.
On the face of it their relationship shouldn’t have been particularly interesting- we’ve been watching two people who are constantly bickering fall in love for ages, long before Ross and Rachel or even Sam and Diane. But what sets Jake and Amy’s relationship apart and makes it so refreshing is that in this case, opposites do more than just attract. In a classic Sam-and-Diane relationship you have two people with opposite temperaments caught in a situation where the other person’s basic personality drives them insane, but that just makes them want to go to Bone Town even more. In watching those relationships I've always felt that eventually the lust would fade, and all that would be left would be the character traits they despise in each other. In the case of Jake and Amy, you have two people with opposite temperaments who actually fall in love with the traits that make the other person so different from them. Jake appreciates Amy’s attention to detail and finds her constant list-making adorable, just as Amy loves Jake for his breezy personality and dorky jokes. Jake and Amy don’t spend their time bickering and fighting because they are busy supporting each other. They are best friends.
In one of the episodes leading up to the wedding Amy presents Jake with a huge binder of tasks to complete in a specific amount of time. In almost every other classic sitcom relationship this would be met with eye-rolls, frustration, and possibly some sort of wacky scheme to get out of doing the work. Instead Jake immediately leaps into action and ropes in Terry to help, terrified of failing what he sees as a personal test of his worth as a partner. Jake is frequently described as immature, but immaturity for Jake is simply a personality quirk and a defense mechanism. At his core, Jake is a grown-ass man and more importantly, a good man. That's what makes his character's childlike personality endearing instead of insufferable. His only thought is to not let Amy down, and it’s not just about proving himself- it’s about his determination to never disappoint the woman he feels so lucky to be marrying. He vocalizes all of this to Terry, and also tells him he looks up to him as an example of what a husband should be. This is yet another thing that we never see on television- two straight leading men discussing relationships, fears, insecurities, and what makes a good partner. If we got anything close to this in another sitcom they would be sure to make it awkward, then have them save face after by saying something hyper-masculine, or that stupid thing of starting to hug then replacing it with a handshake and vague grunts. But blessedly that is not the world of the Nine-Nine, a world in which a conversation between two men about their feelings can happen without the writers having to make it a joke by no-homo-ing it up.
On the day of the wedding when Amy starts to melt down because some details have gone wrong, Jake doesn’t dismiss her feelings or tell her it’s not a big deal. If something is a big deal to her, it is a big deal to him. When he sees her start to freak out he immediately starts worrying FOR her so that she doesn’t have to. When met with this reaction Amy is able to actually calm down. She knows she’s being heard and that her concerns are being addressed, and that gives her the space to take a breath and trust that she has a partner to help her deal with things. When the stress makes her crave a cigarette Jake pulls out the nicotine patches he brought, because he knows her and he came prepared. He lifts the burden of responsibility from someone who has felt like she is responsible for everything her entire life. He might not always succeed in fixing everything perfectly, but it’s never from lack of trying.
From the start of the episode it felt strange to me that they were having the wedding in the rec center but I couldn’t put my finger on why that was. It was nice enough, and I couldn’t figure out what felt off until it was revealed where the wedding would end up having to take place. Of course it had to be at the Nine-Nine, where it all began. Relocated due to a bomb threat (oh yeah- there was an actual plot with a bomb and everything, maybe I should have included it but it didn’t really feel like the point), at the end Amy walked down an aisle decorated with shredded documents instead of flowers, which was much prettier than it sounds, and Raymond Holt officiated an intimate ceremony attended by the only family that has ever really mattered on the show. Their actual blood families were nowhere to be seen having gone home after the first cancelled ceremony, and it was barely noticeable. Boyle is an emotional mess most of the episode but in the end pulls off the last-minute ceremony for his best friend, Amy has a beautiful white dress to wear courtesy of the fact that Gina had planned on wearing it to the original wedding, and Hitchcock and Scully remain true to their characters by unexpectedly coming through in the end with the task Jake gave them at the start of the day just to get rid of them. Rosa gets to meet someone new (more Gina Rodriguez in season 6 please!) and Terry helps talk her into opening herself up to the possibility of love again. Holt trains his dog Cheddar to be a last-minute ring-bearer before he takes his eyes off him long enough for Cheddar to demolish Jake and Amy’s Nakatomi Plaza wedding cake, but then Holt comes through by getting the bomb-detecting robot that Jake was obsessed with to do the job instead. Everyone plays their part in a way that is funny and also true to their character. Holt tells the couple he loves them both, and also informs them he has moved their honeymoon vacation requests from ‘pending’ to ‘approved’.
Jakes vows are mature and beautiful, but when Amy closes hers by stealing a line Jake joked about putting in his vows when the bomb threat came in and which Amy begged him not to include (“Amy, there was a bomb at this wedding. Ya butt. Your butt is The Bomb.”) Jake loses it and says through tears “I love you so much. You’re my dream girl.” Because Amy actually loved the joke. Of course she did.