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?