It’s finally back! I apologize for the delay, friends, but everyone’s favorite celebration of the best of the week in television has returned here at NGN—and with a slightly new look. Instead of titling it with the days the post will be covering, I’m now leading with a hint at what the choice will be. And as you’ll see as you keep reading, I decided the scrap the little weekly rundown of TV shows to just get to the best of the best. I hope you enjoy—and that you share your favorite moments with us each week in the comments! This has always been one of my favorite features to write and read your responses to here at NGN, so no matter how busy the rest of my life gets, I’m excited to get back to sharing this special part of my Sundays with all of you!
There’s nothing like a great television proposal.
From Ben and Leslie to Emma and Killian, I’ve written about some beautiful proposals over the years here at NGN, so when another one happened this week on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, there was no way I could keep myself from writing about it.
There was so much to love about “HalloVeen” even before its genuinely surprising ending (everyone joking about Jake in prison, the Tramps, Andre Braugher’s perfect delivery of “This bitch?!,” Jake getting a lot of enjoyment out of Amy being mean to him, Terry eating all those GPS trackers, etc.), but let’s cut to the chase: Jake and Amy got engaged, and it was perfect.
“HalloVeen” is one of those episodes that gets even better upon rewatch because Andy Samberg plays Jake’s desperation to have his plan work so brilliantly. Upon first watch, it seems he’s just really getting into the competitive spirit of the heist, but after knowing that he planned everything to lead up to proposing to Amy, small moments like Jake saying planning this year’s heist got him through his time in prison become even better.
As the episode built to the climax, I genuinely thought I was just watching another fun Halloween Heist chapter, so when Amy read the inscription on the belt and the camera panned to show us Jake on one knee, I felt her shock as my own, which was exactly the point. These heists have reached the point where a fake proposal isn’t totally out of the question, but one look at Samberg’s face proved that this was no diversion for Jake: Amy agreeing to marry him was the only win he cared about this year.
Samberg’s sincerity made what was a wonderfully written proposal even better. I’ve sang the praises of his vulnerability before, but it needs to be said again: His ability to show Jake’s emotions in such an honest way took what was a fun and funny show and made it something special, and he continues to make every heartfelt beat resonate. The tears in his eyes throughout the proposal, but especially when he’s reassuring her that he’s being serious about proposing to her made me cry harder than anything else on TV so far this season.
Samberg’s sincerity was matched beautifully by Melissa Fumero, who practically radiated with joy as Amy realized what was happening. I love great reactors because I find so many of the most human and lovely moments on television come from one actor responding to their scene partner, and Fumero was the picture of love and happiness in that moment. It made me happy just to see her so happy.
There are a lot of wonderfully acted proposal scenes on television, but this one was so special because it was truly one-of-a-kind. From starting it with dueling “Title of Your Sex Tape” jokes to both of them professing their love for each other’s butt (Jake’s “gross” makes me laugh every time), the humor in this moment was found in deeply specific references to their history as a couple, and the heart in this moment was found there, too. The way Samberg took that gorgeously expressive pause before telling Amy she’s the best detective he knows destroyed me in the best possible way because all of this started because they made a bet about who the best detective was. (“The Bet” will always be one of my favorite Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes, so that was a home run reference for me.)
This was truly a perfect television proposal—surprising, sweet, silly, and wonderfully specific to the characters and their journey together. And it was followed up by a moment we hardly ever get to see—and I’m not talking about Jake’s panicked, feminist, hilarious phone call to Amy’s dad. Allowing us to see the moment Jake decided he wanted to propose to Amy made an already romantic episode even more swoon-worthy. Once again, Samberg’s sincere face did all the work as Jake needed nothing more than Amy being particularly Amy-ish one day (finding a typo in a crossword puzzle, which made me feel closer to her than I ever have before) to know that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. The idea of him wanting to marry her because of something that makes her uniquely Amy is such a beautiful way to look at love, and it was reflected throughout the proposal, which was so uniquely tailored to their quirks. There was a nice kind of normalcy to the moment that made it feel attainable, which is sometimes all you want in a TV love story.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?
I’m so glad these are back! I have to agree, this proposal was far and away the best thing on TV this past week. I’ll always love a couple where the emphasis is on the little moments that make up their life together and they nailed that. From Jake looking at Amy while she complains about the typo in the crossword puzzle, to the mention each other’s butts, to the little “bless you” Jake tells Amy on the monitor before realizing she’s stolen Cheddar, we get a picture of what their normal lives with each other are like and we feel their happiness. Their proposal was so them and it was perfect.
Other runners up this week were You’re the Worst for once again breaking my heart (is anyone surprised by this?). It wasn’t a very good episode, everyone was a little too terrible for my personal preference, but the ending still managed to get me. Gretchen is self-destructive. If there is an option that is wrong for her, she’ll probably take it. So naturally, when she may have actually found a shot for a real relationship with someone who doesn’t propose then leave her stranded on a mountain, what does she do but call Jimmy. He’s been trying to get back together with her all season (although he still doesn’t quite recognize just how badly he screwed up) and he’s elated at the phone call. And they fall back into their natural dynamic so easily. For better or worse, they’ll always kind of instinctively understand the other person and their specific varieties of terribleness. I do want them back together if they can both sort themselves out a bit but that was never the reason behind the call so it just made my heart hurt to see Gretchen run from something.
Chicago Fire is right there behind B99 this week for their ability to write a strong, happy couple. Matt recently got promoted to Captain and the ceremony to make it official was this week. While out shopping for a present for him, Gabby got trapped in an underground garage that had partially collapsed with a group of other people and was incredibly amazing and kept them safe and as calm as possible. She nearly missed the ceremony all together until they realized where she was and helped dig her out but when we finally got to ceremony, she gave him the pin of the first fire captain from their firehouse and gave a speech about how great he was going to be and how many lives he would and has already saved and he immediately turns it around and tells her that she deserves all the praise for what she did today. They love each other so much and always so proud of everything the other is and they do such a good job of letting that shine through. I will take all of the supportive couples and am happy to have them around.
Next up was the always brilliant Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The musical numbers this week were especially strong. I’ve Got My Head In the Clouds was very clever and also very fitting for where the character is at mentally at the moment. Plus, any chance to see Vincent Rodriguez III dance is a good thing. The other highlight was Strip Away My Conscience which should’t have been as attractive as it was but Rebecca Bloom and Scott Michael Foster have phenomenal chemistry. The B plot of the episode was also delightful in its quest for orgasm equality in relationships.
Jane the Virgin also continues to be the best with Xo’s conversation with Darci about family. The Villanueva family has grown so much because people keep having babies with people who aren’t their significant others and they may not always like each other, but their linked because of the kids and for them, civility is worth it.
Finally, my other favorite moment that I watched this week wasn’t from a currently airing show but I have feelings and I know you’ll never mind me talking about awesome ladies. Vikings is never going to be my favorite show but Lagertha is incredible and has rapidly become one of my favorite characters in recent history. As the wife of the recently crowned Earl, she is in charge of settling disputes while Ragnar is away and she used that power to stand up for another women who had a baby of unknown paternity. The lady’s husband wanted her killed or punished in some way but Lagertha basically turned the situation into one in which the lady and baby were blessed by the gods and were therefore not to be harmed. It’s not an easy culture for women to be in (really, what is) and it’s not the first time she’s stood up for a women with less power than she has. Later on, she also extends kindness to the widowed wife of the previous Earl and offers her a place in her home and protection. She’s so compassionate to the situation Siggy has found herself in and I love her all the more for it. Finally, in the end of the episode, she has a miscarriage and when Siggy walks in to find her, she immediately runs to her and holds her. The entire theme of her portion of the episode were women supporting other women and I was very excited by the whole thing. If that were the whole show, it would be significantly better for me.
Lagertha is awesome. I need someone to re-edit the series to only be from her point of view so I can actually watch the show, because I just cant get through the rest of it. I cant stand Ragnar and his character just got so annoying to me that I had to give up on the show.
Yay for perfect TV proposals!! These two are a great pair and I we all knew this had to happen sooner or later. Even more so than that proposal, my favorite part of the episode was that little clip we got of Jake deciding when he wanted to marry Amy. Majorly swoon worthy.
I am actually really interested to see what happens now that they are engaged. Marriage isnt just about loving each other (as much as I wish it could be), its a financial commitment as well, and we all know Jake isnt the most responsible person on the planet, especially compared to Amy. These are real issues that cause a lot of conflict in real life marriages, and if there was ever a show that I thought could use that and turn it into a thoughtful and emotional plot line without losing its sense of humor, I think this show could, and I really hope they do.
I am going to echo Heather’s praise of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This weeks episode was a highlight of the whole series for me. There were so many genuine laugh out loud moments – Josh thinking the Holy Ghost looks like a guy dressed in a sheet that lunches with Casper killed me (bonus points for the “you father, son, and holy ghosted your entire life!” line from white Josh. And I dont think there is a more problematic romantic pair on television than Rebecca and Nathaniel right now, but that is not stopping me from loving seeing them make a complete mess of things together. Ive watched ‘Strip Away My Conscience’ at least 15 times and I still laugh at the “stop hitting yourself!” dad joke in the middle and when the background dancer takes off her shoes and chucks them at his head. I am shocked with what this show gets away with, but I am so glad that it does, and that its women that are pushing these boundaries.
Josh’s Holy Ghost ! yes !
And poor whats-his-name and his orgasm cluelessness… That storyline kept coming up in my mind this week when I was watching Mad Men (Am I the only one who wonders if any of the women in that show get any pleasure from their male chauvinist pig husbands/lovers?)
It hadn’t occurred to me to re-watch B99, as much as I enjoyed it. But when I do I’m sure it will be even more enjoyable than it already was (for all the reasons you said). I’m so glad we have this show and such great relationships on TV. I love how well B99 calls back to previous jokes too. And Terry and his GPS yogurts…
I really enjoyed Crazy Ex Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin this week too (but then again I always do). I feel like I had a lot of delightful TV moments this week.
I love that you’re watching Crazy Ex Girlfriend now! It made me happy to see you reblog things from the show.