How Brooklyn Nine-Nine Pulled Off The Perfect Feminist Proposal

Photo: Courtesy of FOX.
Proposals are a tricky prospect on comedies. How do you carefully balance romance and the mushy-gushy outpouring of sentiment and the need to have a certain number of jokes per minute? Parks and Recreation has one of the greatest proposal scenes of all sitcoms, which was then topped by an equally memorable wedding scene in which Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) told Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) “I love you, and I like you.” It was the perfect vow for two characters who balanced each other out so evenly. Michael Schur, the mind behind the Parks and Rec vows, is the co-creator of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so he clearly knows how a comedy should navigate a proposal. Tuesday night on Nine-Nine, we got not only a romantic — yet not saccharine — proposal, but also a surprisingly feminist one, written by Nine-Nine co-creator Dan Goor.
After two seasons of will they/won’t they tension, detectives Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) finally got together in season 3 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As a bit of a grown-up manchild, it’s been difficult for Jake to navigate the milestones of an adult relationship. For starters, he needed a clean mattress so Amy would feel comfortable staying at his place. The basic components of adulthood weren’t exactly in place.
Finally, everything came together. “I love you”’s were said, and cohabitation began. Then, on Tuesday, during a particularly ruse-filled episode featuring the 99’s annual Halloween Heist, Jake made the ultimate move: he asked Amy to marry him. In typical Brooklyn Nine-Nine fashion, however, it didn’t all happen smoothly. Amy spent most of the episode calling Jake predictable and boring, guessing his every move in the heist of the championship belt (which the chief kept calling a cummerbund). He was able to one-up her in the end, though, switching out the belt, which originally said “Amazing human/genius,” with one that said “Amy Santiago, will you marry me?” It was a complete surprise to Amy, who probably felt chagrined about repeatedly calling her boyfriend boring and basic.
The proposal came complete with one of the series’ signature running gags. “I’m so confused; I don’t know what’s happening right now,” Amy tells Jake. He responds “I’m so confused, I don’t know what’s happening right now, title of your sex tape.” “I’m shaking; I’m definitely going to cry, title of your sex tape,” Amy jokes right back.
Then, things get serious — with a few wisecracks thrown in. Jake tells Amy how much he loves her, especially because she pretends to like Die Hard. He calls her the best detective he knows (an act of deference since the two are so competitive when it comes to solving cases). It’s sweet, yet on-brand. Jake didn’t write anything down, but Amy is fine with his off-the-cuff words. Even though Jake is the one doing the asking, the two are always on equal footing. It doesn’t feel like an antiquated tradition.
The show continued to keep it fresh and feminist during the squad’s celebration of the heist with no winner and now-betrothed couple at a bar later that night. Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) asks if Jake called to ask Amy’s father for permission to propose. Jake did — kind of. He actually called with a very modern-day take on asking for someone’s hand in marriage.
“Mr. Santiago, I’m calling inform you that I plan to ask your daughter to marry me. But, since it’s 2017, I am not asking for your permission, as she is not your property — nor would she be mine if she chooses to say yes. She’s a strong, independent woman, and she don’t need no man. That being said, I truly hope she says yes. But, it’s her decision so just BACK OFF.”
Jake ended up leaving the message as a voicemail, which worked out because he’s terrified of Mr. Santiago, but it’s the words that count. Amy said yes to the proposal with or without her father’s “blessing.” And with that, Brooklyn 99 pulled off the perfect feminist proposal.
As to the wedding, Goor told Entertainment Weekly that we’ll most likely see it this year. The whole writers room was surprisingly on board with the decision to have the two get engaged, which can be a challenging end to a charming will they/won’t they dynamic. “Our feeling was that the process of getting married would give us a bunch of good stories,” Goor said. “Hopefully, there will be many opportunities for fun stories about the wedding, bachelor parties, etc.” Given how smoothly Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s last bachelor/bachelorette party episode did not go, there are clearly loads of hijinks in the future.
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