By Shannan Webster, VSC Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Brooklyn 99 is a comedy about police precinct 99 serving Brooklyn, New York. Two of the detectives serving the 99 are Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago. Jake is a goof-ball who is obsessed with 80s crime movies, Die Hard and pulling pranks. Amy Santiago is a try hard, craft loving know-it-all who gives her all to her job. The two don’t seem like an obvious match, even for TV standards, but one of the creators of Brooklyn 99, Michael Schur, is one of the experts of creating great romances that have authenticity and romance. The two getting together is a slow process build off of friendship and understanding of the other that leads to a strong foundation and a realistic couple. We think they are an excellent example of a healthy relationship and so we are highlighting 5 reasons Jake and Amy are one of the best, and healthiest, TV couples!
01. Their Relationship is Built on Trust
Amy and Jake worked together as Detectives for years before they began dating. As Detectives with the NYPD they have worked as partners investigating crimes and literally putting their lives on the line with the other as their protection. Before they felt any romantic attraction they respected the other and trusted them enough to have their back. This amount of trust continued as they started dating and building their lives together. When they are dating and Amy goes undercover in a maximum security prison, Jake is understandably very worried, but ultimately knows that Amy is great detective and he trusts her to do her job well. When Jake enters witness protection for over 6 months in Florida, Amy trusts that he will solve the case and stay safe.
02. They Accept Each Other For Who They Are
Amy is an OCD organized try hard, and Jake is a goof Die Hard fan who you would not guess go together, but because they accept each other for what some may see as flaws, they balance each other and take each other as they are. In the episode “The Cruise” this is exemplified. Jake is excited to go on the cruise and do nothing except lay by the pool and eat shrimp. Amy, on the other hand, has created an extensive itinerary of activities for the two of them, and has even laminated the list. In the end they end up doing a little bit of everything and enjoying it because they enjoy doing what the other loves.
03. They Support Each Other
While Brooklyn 99 is generally not very sentimental, there are definitely moments when you see how much Amy and Jake listen and support each other. One of the clearest examples is in our favorite episode, “He said, she said.” In this episode Jake and Amy are working together on a sexual assault case. In this episode Amy explains to an actively listening Jake the constant sexual harassment and discrimination that she experiences on a daily basis just from being a woman. Jake admits he never noticed, even as her husband, but he is sympathetic. As the two continue to work the case Jake notices that Amy is particularly passionate about this case, and that is when Amy tells Jake that she has been a victim of sexual assault in the past. He listens and offers her comfort. He doesn’t victim blame her or overwhelm her. At VSC we know how meaningful it can be for someone to offer their support and believe you when you disclose sexual assault.
04. Compromise–Equality in the Relationship
Another common trope in TV is for women to have all of the power in relationships or “wear the pants” where she comes across as overbearing and naggy. That is not the case for Amy and Jake. Jake recognizes that some of his habits are not the best for an adult in a relationship and is willing to grow to better himself and his relationship, but this is not framed as Amy nagging Jake. In the episode “The Mattress” Amy is having trouble sleeping because of Jake’s mattress. Jake agrees to buy a new one, but hesitates due to the price. Ultimately while working a case with Amy he realizes that she is right and he wants her to feel comfortable at his place and he compromises and buys the mattress.
Another example is in the episode “Casecation” when Jake and Amy are married and working a case and the topic of children comes up. The two had not discussed children before and so they decide to have the conversation. Being the nerd that she is, Amy decides to have a structured debate in the fashion of her high school debate team to weigh their two opinions. While the debate is a bit of a mess, this does lead to the two evaluating their priorities and ultimately choose each other and to leave it an open topic to discuss as their relationship continues.
05. They’re Their Own People
Many shows with romance and couples don’t explore the characters outside of their relationship. While Jake and Amy are both main characters in Brooklyn 99 and their romance in featured throughout the series, the focus is not on their relationship or even them as a unit. Throughout the series Jake’s aspirations and Amy’s career advancement are explored. The traits that make them who they are, like Jake’s pranks and Amy’s scrapbooking, don’t fade as they continue onto marriage and making a family.
All of these reasons aside there are times when the two argued, or they were at odds. And that is normal! Not everyone is going to get along all of the time, and both of these headstrong characters with a fierce competitive side are no exception. What is important is that their fights usually end in an apology and they even use “I” statements when discussing their feelings often.
We hope that you see some characteristics of your own relationship in the list. If you are in a relationship where you don’t feel safe or respected know that the Victim Service Center of Central Florida is here for you. We offer resources, advocacy, counseling and therapy to help victims of trauma or abuse. You can call us 24/7 on our crisis helpline (407) 500-HEAL.
If you’re experiencing domestic violence and need help you can also use the national domestic violence hotline which offers phone, and chat options. Call 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) https://www.thehotline.org/help/
To learn more about healthy or unhealthy relationships, visit https://www.loveisrespect.org/