'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Needs to Keep Jake and Santiago Apart
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has easily become TV's best freshman comedy but if it wants to hold that title, and maybe become next year's best sophomore comedy, it needs to do one very important thing: stay the same. Coming off two surprising Golden Globes wins, a post-Super Bowl episode and solid ratings, the series has plenty of great characters and storylines, but its most important element is the relationship between detectives Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago—or lack thereof.
Played with great chemistry by Andy Samberg and Melissa Fumero, the two partners are part of the ensemble cast that also includes Andre Braugher, Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio, Stephanie Beatriz and Chelsea Peretti. But Peralta and Santiago tend to stand out from the rest of the precinct, and not just because they're forced to work cases together.
Since Brooklyn Nine-Nine's pilot, there's been something more to the relationship between the goofy, immature Peralta and high-strung, overachieving Santiago. Their constant competition usually ends up bringing them closer together and based on their traded insults, they seem to know each other very well. In recent episodes, especially "The Bet" and this week's "Operation: Broken Feather," there have been clear signs that they have some feelings for each other.
But those feelings should not be acted upon any under circumstance—at least not for a few seasons. Look at Brooklyn Nine-Nine's fellow Fox comedies. Nick and Jess got together during the second season of New Girl and while the show is still good, it also has Schmidt and the sudden return of Coach to lean on. New Girl has also needed to instigate quite a few barriers in Nick and Jess's relationship to keep things interesting, and it would hardly be surprising to see them become a Ross and Rachel-esque on-again, off-again couple by next season.
Then there's The Mindy Project. Its Jan. 21 episode "The Desert" left Mindy and Danny in the middle of a passionate kiss in the back of an airplane. We won't know where the show takes that advancement until it returns on April 1, but it's safe to say their relationship will never be the same.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine should not follow in this trend of friends becoming something more. It's way too early in the show's run and no matter how the writers' approach such a change, they can then only do so much. If Peralta and Santiago were to kiss and that's it, their relationship as partners and friends would be completely different. If they actually attempted a relationship so soon, it could ruin the whole show.
Since it's a workplace comedy, pairing off any of the main characters would affect the entire cast's dynamic and inevitably become boring. It's not that I don't trust the writers, after all, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was created by Dan Goor and Michael Schur, one of the men behind The Office, a workplace comedy responsible for one of the best will-they-won't-they relationships in the post-Friends era.
But even Jim and Pam eventually hit a dead end. In its last few seasons, once they had gotten married and had a baby, The Office struggled to find interesting storylines for the couple—who didn't even kiss until the end of season two. So imagine what kind of trouble Brooklyn Nine-Nine could face if they push the Peralta/Santiago relationship in the first season.
If Peralta and Santiago are meant to be, fans can wait and let the relationship slowly develop. It takes more than one season to turn a couple into an OTP and if anyone undertstands that it should be Shur and Goor—who is responsible for Parks & Rec's Leslie and Ben himself.
Right now, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is doing fine with Peralta and Santiago as friends and partners who get a little flirty sometimes. Why mess with a good thing? They might be the next Jim and Pam and if that is the case, we have a lot of waiting ahead of us—and a lot of great TV.