An episode focusing on the difficulties of conception highlights some of the show’s best qualities.
This episode, appropriately titled “Trying,” gets at the heart of what makes Brooklyn Nine-Nine so special, and why Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) are the best couple on television.
Framed by two of Hitchcock’s (Dirk Blocker) divorce parties, writers Evan Susser and Van Robichaux use an episode stuffed with B, C, and D plots as a showcase for how difficult and dispiriting it can be trying to conceive. Jake, not feeling the romance in Amy’s sexy calendar invites, suggest they try to be more spontaneous in their efforts. Amy miraculously doesn’t go on a lengthy tirade about fertility windows and basal temperatures, but gamely agrees to try “the Jake way.”
When that predictably doesn’t work, Amy doubles down on the rigidly scheduled lovemaking. What follows is a heartbreaking montage of Amy and Jake, frustrated and tired and completely joyless, getting one negative test after another over the course of six months. And while the constant disappointments are excruciating to watch (is there anything sadder than a completely demoralized Amy Santiago?) this sequence does a great job of featuring the unmitigated tedium that comes with trying to conceive. Ask anyone to who has spent a year or more trying, and they will tell you how boring sex can get.
While Amy and Jake are feeling the monotony of trying to get pregnant, Holt (Andre Braugher) is chafing under the tedium of walking the same beat every day. This surly, petulant Holt doesn’t have quite the same clout that Captain Holt did, and I keep waiting for him to have A Big Moment. As it stands now he feels more of an accessory to the squad than a central figure. I have to imagine this is intentional on the part of Dan Goor and Michael Schur, but in the meantime Captain Holt is deeply missed. He’s a mentor and father figure to both Amy and Jake, and it’s difficult to believe that neither would have unburdened themselves to him.
This surly, petulant Holt doesn’t have quite the same clout that Captain Holt did, and I keep waiting for him to have A Big Moment.
When Hitchcock finally manages to reconnect with the woman of his dreams (whose tooth he has been carrying around for six months) and announces that they’re having a baby, Amy finds that there is a limit to how far she is willing to go to be a parent. Not only has Hitchcock managed to plant his diabolical seed (thankfully he discovers he is not the baby’s father), but Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) and Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) have been hiding rapidly-reproducing guinea pigs in the CPR baby room where Amy and Jake trying to have some privacy. This proves to be the final straw for Amy, who is sick of seeing pregnancy all around her without being able to achieve it herself.
Melissa Fumero is the heavy hitter in this episode, you can feel every ounce of Amy’s exhaustion and heartache as she tells Jake she’s done trying. Jake is there for her, happy just to be with her no matter what else. With so much going on with Hitchcock, Holt and Terry (Terry Crews), Rosa and Boyle and their 600 guinea pigs, it’s a quiet moment that grounds the antics of the rest of the squad. The couple shares a kiss, content just to be and be with each other, and it’s a moment of brief and thrilling hope, that now will be that time when magic happens, only to flash forward to Amy holding yet another negative pregnancy test.
While Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always made it clear that Jake and Amy are a meant-to-be, no drama couple, it feels very real to see them as two people each struggling with their own frustrations and disappointments, and how it affects their marriage. We can only hope they come through this unscathed.
- “You can’t compare yourself to guinea pigs, babe, you taught me that.” Can Jake Peralta get a husband of the year award already?
- The fact that Scully and Hitchcock aren’t a couple continues to baffle, especially as Scully keeps buying gay cakes for Hitchcock’s divorce parties. (It’s okay to like all the flavors, Scully!)
- It’s just good leadership on Terry’s part bringing Camus into the dialogue in an effort to appease Holt, too bad anything after Baudelaire is “basically a magazine.”
- Leave it to Hitchcock to take a play on Cinderella and make it gross.