Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a great many things,along with being one of my favorite shows currently airing, but even I wouldn’t ever say that it’s unpredictable. Luckily, it’s never had to be, compelling and funny enough in its own right to happily follow some familiar beats. Sure, the cliff-hangers could catch us off guard but for the most part, the show delivers so much of its charm through the baseline of its viewers knowing these characters well enough to telegraph their actions. Hardly from taking away from the fun, it instead informs the series with a sense of warmth that the characters have been this well established that no decision seems to be mandated by plot.
But boy, when they manage to catch us, as is the case with many Dan Goor and Michael Schur shows, it’s to great and moving effect. I’m speaking of course about Jake’s surprise proposal to Amy at the end of the years annual Halloween episode, perhaps making it the best of its ritual installments and. Even if it wasn’t, it would at least have put the widest grin on my face I’ve worn all week. More than any other show on television currently on air, Brooklyn Nine-Nine understands that heart and humor can go hand in hand and, maybe, more than it does these days in our cynical based sitcoms, should. Think of the moment where we flash back to the moment where Jake realized he wanted to propose to Amy. He listens in bed as she, aghast, notes a spelling error in the cross word puzzle and, to Andy Samberg’s immense credit, looks at her with twinkling love in his eyes, a moment that felt stolen out of reality. That moment is when he decided he wanted to propose. Initially innocuous, oddly vital and totally and completely in line with what we’ve come to expect from both characters. Amy Santiago will always abide by the rules to an insane degree and be personally mollified when those rules break and Jake Peralta will continue to look at her with stars in his eyes.
Even beyond the proposal it’s a hilarious episode and one that allows all of the characters moments to shine. We get The Tramps, aka Boyle, Rosa and Terry teaming up to take down Jake, Holt and Amy from always assuming that they’re going earn the winning title each year. We got to see Terry show off his unique strength, the Boyle double from last year, Andre Braugher delivering the “This Bitch? Please” line, once again cementing that Braugher is the funniest actor working today. There was The Handmaid’s Tale gag, Jake being totally turned on by Amy’s competitiveness and a brief appearance by a Cheddar impostor.
But of course the greatest part, and surprise joy, of the episode is the proposal and in large part because of the fact that it all built so organically and true to the characters. The two began their relationship as competitors, daring one another into date or offering fake proposal. These Halloween shenanigans are the greatest examples of the precinct indulging in those competitive impulses. It was a delightful and heartfelt moment and proof that when a show is confident in keeping its leading paring together (think Ben and Leslie from Parks and Recreation) just as much interest can be derived from it. I for one can’t wait to see where this newest development brings to a show that is persistent in its ability to grow and remain consistently engaging and hilarious.