Hopefully most of you are upset as I am that the bridesmaid dress for the Boyle-Linetti wedding was not inspired by Roseanne from the television show Roseanne. For a show that can be pretty good with pay-offs (look no further than the casting choices for Gina and Boyle’s parents), this is such a missed opportunity.
Watching “Boyle-Linetti Wedding,” there’s the lingering feeling that an event episode like this should be treated as such—as an event. (Even though to most of the people involved in it within the show, it’s not.) Either in the form of a “super-sized” episode or two episodes making it an hour-long; “Boyle-Linetti Wedding” could easily dedicate twice as much time to individual plots to make them stronger. Because, sadly, when it comes to the plots in this episode that aren’t directly related to the wedding of the century (or at least, the wedding of the day), the episode is lacking in the plot department. As is often the case, this doesn’t mean the episode veers into the realm of unfunny for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but it’s still disappointing to see.
First, there’s the Amy/Jake plot. The bare bones comes from Amy having a “nemesis” in counterfeiter Gregor Minsk and Jake trying to date The One That Got Away (in his eyes and his eyes only), Jenny Gildenhorn (the girl who dumped him on at his bar mitzvah). From the tag, Chekhov’s Wedding Ring rears its ugly head when Gina first mentions Jake being on ring duty, and as expected, Jake both loses and ring and gets it stuck on his finger (two sitcommy plots for the price of one). As for Amy and her pursuit of Minsk, it really has less to do with the plot than the constant reminders that Jake and Amy had (or have, wink wink) feelings for each other.
The Amy/Jake plot suffers (for lack of a less harsh word) from being a string of predictable beats, topped off with a lot of telling and not showing with regards to any pining (either past, present, or residual). Will-they/won’t-they arcs can range anywhere from fun to insufferable, but right now, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is someone in between. Whenever Amy and Jake are mentioned in a more-than-platonic capacity, especially in this season, it feels like Brooklyn Nine-Nine is only doing will-they/won’t-they out of a perceived obligation—whether it’s to the network, the viewers, or just the very concept of what a television show should be. Earlier this season, Rosa told Jake to stop flirting with Amy, even though he was goofing around with her the same way he always had (and still does). Then all of a sudden in this episode, Boyle is afraid to talk about Jake and other women in front of Amy, and Amy and Jake are making jokey marriage proposals that are sure to get people excited. It reeks of the dreaded p-word—pandering—which is unfortunate, because an organic set-up of this potential relationship could be really good.
If the show wants to do an Amy/Jake relationship, then instead of just mentioning feelings or awkwardness every few episodes that’s never seen in between, it should—and I believe this is the technical term—“shit or get off the pot.”
Then again, Rosa and Marcus technically have gotten more focus on their relationship, but it’s a mess for different reasons. Based on this episode, Rosa is in love with Marcus, and while that should be a big step for the Rosa character, there has been neither enough Marcus nor visible reasons for the audience to even like or care about him and his relationship with Rosa. This is a character who apparently DVRs episodes of Bones and worries about Bones spoilers. Network synergy or not, the brief glimpses of Marcus have done nothing to show why Rosa even likes him, and if the point is to show an emotional growth for Rosa, then “show” is the key word.
When the episode actually focuses on the wedding itself, it’s impossible for it to miss. Rosa accidentally causing Lynn Boyle to have nerves is such a Rosa thing to do, only here, it makes perfect sense that she isn’t taking glee in such a thing. And Boyle’s giddiness over the wedding makes his increasing weirdness this season somehow delightfully sweet, even when he’s talking about things like “brother-sister sex stuff” and “ham hands” in the context of a wedding toast. It’s amazing to realize that while characters like Jake, Amy, and Rosa find themselves in a strange relationship abyss this episode and season, the Gina/Boyle sexy time explosion led to their characters somehow becoming better (not just as supporting characters but as characters who can sustain plots on their own) and providing even more laughs.
In fact, an episode like this is a great showcase for the Gina character (who is without a doubt the MVP of this episode), again reminding the audience why she even still has her job (even when she’s prioritizing a wedding that Jake himself points out no one actually cares about over a briefing); she has a take charge attitude, as proven by her classification as an I9C3G6 psychological profile, and this episode gives her a chance to drop her cool facade for something other than just herself and still manage to fix the ever-arising problems. She is a natural born leader, and she shows it here in spades here.
Plus, her zingers are just absolutely on point in this episode:
Gina: “Good. These tasks are top priority around here, people. I don’t care how many criminals go free, alright? Dismissed.”
Amy: “Uh, I’m not done with my briefing yet.”
Gina: “I SAID DISMISSED.”
Gina (to Terry): “My mom likes champagne, baked ziti, the Bahamas. Charles’ dad probably lives under a bridge and uses a puddle as a mirror. I don’t know, you figure it out.”
Hitchcock: “I could stand by the altar and vape.”
Gina: “You’re a stone cold atrocity.”
Jake: “Hey, you sound like Gollum.”
Gina: “That means nothing to me, I don’t see those movies, I’m too pretty.”
Gina (to the Boyles): “You’re the worst family in history.”
Unsurprisingly, Stephen Root is also in top form as a pre-wedding jittery Lynn Boyle, and for that, he is the guest MVP of the episode. There’s just something about the man explaining that, out of his five weddings, two of them were “a back-to-back catfish situation” (with the same person both times); it’s hilarious and sad at the same time. This is also a great episode to show where all of Charles Boyle’s ticks come from—from his dad’s shock that the Linettis aren’t a soup-loving people (no one is, according to Gina), to their shared suggestibility, to their belief that “Don’t You Forget About Me” is the “best rock and roll song ever written” (“after ‘Kokomo’”). Lynn is clearly a man who goes (to bring it back, just this once) Full Boyle in situations, but in this instance, the head first, fools rush in approach to life is actually seen as a positive. It’s oddly optimistic, but then again, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a pretty optimistic show.
The episode also inserts some Holt/Kevin sweetness; their scene after the wedding might just be the sweetest moment of the show, right down to Holt explaining who Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are. It looks like there’s a wedding to “care about” on the horizon, and I for one am excited. Holt’s attempts to show emotional depth in this episode are commendable, as the joke this time around isn’t that he simply doesn’t see the need to go above his baseline. He’s putting as much effort as he possibly can into making sure he doesn’t ruin the wedding with his officiating (courtesy of www.internetministry4cheap.com), comparing love to oatmeal, first in a ridiculous manner and then in a surprisingly touching one. And what works best about it all is that it doesn’t take Holt out of character (even if it’s a humorous version of out of character). Brooklyn Nine-Nine has fully-formed characters, so the best thing it does is when it adapts those characters to the task at hand without changing who their true behavior or personalities.
In my review of “The Wednesday Incident,” I said that this episode would “most definitely feature laughs, tears, and revelations.” The first one is a no-brainer, the second one depends on how sensitive of a person you are, especially during Holt’s wedding speech, but the third one is sadly dedicated to Rosa’s love declaration and humorously inclusive of Lynn Linetti’s (nee Boyle) five marriages. Still, the Boyle-Linetti clan is just too funny not to care about their shenanigans in this episode, and that instantly propels an otherwise iffy again. As I mentioned before, this episode would benefit from being longer for those weaker storylines, but the parts of the episode that work, they really, really work.
- This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: Just Gina entering with with a smoke machine and vivacity. Or The Adventures Of Jake Bond & Maxi Pad.
- As tired as you all probably are of my wrestling references, I do need to point out that I’m pretty sure Mario from Terry’s officiating flashback is California-based independent professional wrestler Shaun Ricker.
- Gina: “Rosa, how are the flowers?”
Rosa: “I don’t know… Yellow.”
- Gina: “It needs to be emotional and poetic. Can you do it?”
Holt: “Well, my friend’s captain used to call me Emily Dickinson.”
Holt (to Terry, as soon as she leaves): “Of course, he meant it as an insult about my sexuality, but don’t worry. I am good. At. Emotion.”
- Darlene: “Thank you again for making this the third best day of my life.”
Darlene: “First was having you. Second was sleeping with a roadie for the Steve Miller Band.”
Gina: “I love you, mom”
Darlene: “I love you.”
They then blow a bunch of kisses, which Boyle believes he should catch.
- Holt: “‘Marriage is a contract between two adults of different families.’ It’s a haiku.* And a fact. It works on two levels.”
- *Eh, is it? Definitely one you have to stretch, and it’s not a good one.
- Boyle (to Gina): “We did this! Our sex made this happen!”