'We thought people wouldn't see it coming,' says Dan Goor
Spoiler alert: This story contains plot details from Tuesday’s episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, titled “HalloVeen.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Halloween heist episodes are always chock full of surprises, but this one packed a true treat hidden inside a trick: Jake proposed to Amy. With a championship cummerbund. Er, belt.
After a lengthy flirtation/rivalry that included an arrest tally bet, a few drunk texts involving Jake shirtless eating Chinese chicken salad, a little nut tossing (title of someone’s sex tape), and two not-so-harmless kisses to maintain their cover, Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) finally answered the will-they-or-won’t-they question for real and became an official couple in season 3. Slowly but surely, they took their relationship to new levels, ones involving clean mattresses and the words “I love you,” and even “I love you so much.” And now, after serving eight weeks in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Jake was raring to compete against everyone — including his fired-up future fiancee — to win the cummerbund, er, belt, and assume the “Amazing Human/Genius” title.
The game proved to be twisty good fun, featuring a betrayal of Jake by Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) with the help of fake Charles (who is now selling vitamins in a pyramid scheme), an attempted Cheddar the dog deception that Holt (Andre Braugher) busted, and a chilling distraction involving The Handmaid’s Tale (a show that Amy calls “relevant as hell!”). And just when Amy thought she had outwitted Jake, she proudly secured the belt just before midnight, only to have Jake instruct her to read the inscription: “Amy Santiago, will you marry me?” Before she knew it, Jake was on one knee, extending a ring, uttering romantic lines like, “You’re the best person I know, and the best detective. Also for reals, I love your butt.”
Yes, on All Hallows’ Eve, the real winner of the belt was … love. (And absolutely no one else, as Holt made perfectly clear at the bar as the squad toasted the happy couple afterward.) How did Halloween turn into such a romantic day? Will wedding bells chime later this season? Will Terry be okay with all those GPS trackers inside of him? Here’s a proposal: Let’s down some Nutraboom and travel to a moonless Jupiter to check in with Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-creator Dan Goor about that engaging twist in “HalloVeen.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Jake finally popped the question! How did you decide to have him do it mid-heist? Did the Halloween episode feel like the most unexpected place to hide it, and did it also provide a foundation of fun?
DAN GOOR: We decided to put the proposal in the heist for a number of reasons: We thought people wouldn’t see it coming, we knew the episode would be big and fun, and since Amy loves the heists so much, it seemed like the perfect way for Jake to propose to her.
The moment of the proposal — when he assures her that this isn’t a joke — feels very … real and un-sitcommy. Was any of that scene improvised? And were there different iterations of it?
We did a lot of different takes of the scene, and some of the lines were improvised on the day. But … I think it felt un-sitcommy because Andy and Melissa just acted the hell out of the scene.
What were the arguments in the writers’ room for and against having these two get engaged at this point in the series?
Amazingly for a room full of people who love to disagree, everyone was on board with them getting engaged. Our feeling was that the process of getting married would give us a bunch of good stories.
What new challenges are posed by having Jake and Amy engaged, and what new opportunities does it bring?
Our philosophy on Jake and Amy has always been to play their relationship as realistically as possible. We try to never push it forward or backward just to generate stories. Because of that, we felt like the characters were ready to be engaged. This is a long-winded way of saying I don’t think there will be challenges as a result of them actually doing it. Hopefully, there will be many opportunities for fun stories about the wedding, bachelor parties, etc.
Last week’s episode showed Jake trying to come back to his detective duties a little too soon, as he was still dealing with the aftermath of his incarceration. Clearly these two have a solid relationship and are meant to be, but is Jake in a better place to make this huge life leap now?
That’s a great question. I think Jake is definitely in a better place to make a huge life decision. Also, we wanted to make clear in the dialogue that Jake had made the decision before going to jail. In other words, we don’t think — and we don’t want viewers to think — that Jake is proposing as a result of the trauma he suffered. Going to jail was not causal; it just caused a delay in Jake’s plans.
We flash back to Amy’s first day of work, eight years ago, and everyone has notable hair. Is that something you might want to explore in the future — setting an episode on a detective’s first day?
We always love doing flashbacks. I certainly wouldn’t rule out an episode which focuses on their early days at the 99.
We’re worried about Terry (Terry Crews) having six GPS trackers in his G.I. tract. Will there be fallout from that, or has all that yogurt provided him with some sort of super-resistant system?
Do NOT try this at home! Keep in mind that Terry Jeffords is composed of 103 percent muscle fiber, which allows him to withstand anything.
Did you come up with the idea first for Holt saying, “That bitch? Please!” and then figure out how to somehow make that work in the episode?
I wish it worked like that.
Will there be a wedding this season, or is that something you don’t want to commit to just yet? And if so, will it come at an unexpected time, say, not in the finale?
The plan is to have the wedding this year, but it’s too early to say when.
Given that you’ve already done the bachelor/bachelorette episode with Pimento (Jason Mantzoukas) and Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz), how do you feel about revisiting that with Jake and Amy? How do you make it feel unique?
Trust me, this is a question I’ve been asking myself a lot. Bachelor/bachelorette parties always seem like they will be incredibly easy episodes to break, but they’re surprisingly difficult. We were very happy with the way the Pimento-Diaz bachelor(ette) parties turned out, so we have a high bar to clear.
In the lead-up to the wedding, will we be spending more time with their families? We’ve met Jake’s parents, and we met Amy’s dad, but we haven’t met other members of her family …
I don’t want to give anything away, but that seems like a reasonable assumption.
How do Jake’s and Amy’s views on the perfect wedding differ? Might any part of it be Die Hard-themed and/or Will Shortz-themed?
Stay tuned and find out!!!