'Brooklyn Nine-Nine': Jake Peralta's 'toit' character development is a wholesome, exemplary journey to witness
I have said it once, and I'll say it again in case it wasn't entirely clear the first time: Detective Jake Peralta invented character development and must be protected at all costs. Now, some might question this passionate advocating for a fictional character from TV, but then again, Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) from NBC's hit comedy 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' isn't just any other fictional character we see from mainstream Hollywood.
True, he is a white, straight, male lead of a comedy based in Brooklyn, New York, but what he also happens to be is a part of one of the most diverse and progressive shows of all times which has given their characters this incredible ability and scope to climb the ladder of development, character-wise, and it's nothing short of remarkable how he did that.
For starters, Jake - despite being the archetypical male cop trying to be like other aggressive, macho, emotionally stunted male cops we've seen on screen - is ready to accept changes and evolve accordingly. Creator Dan Goor, along with the writers, and co-producer Samberg himself have done an exceptional job in writing the character and his advancements towards feminism and just being overall socially 'woke.'
This reflects in terms of his relationships with his coworkers of the black, or LGBTQ community, his best friend Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), and most importantly - the blossoming of his romance with newly appointed Sargeant Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) and how the two ended up having the most wholesome relationship ever.
He starts off as a regular white boy who tries to be as philandering as his goofball charm allows him to - taking his dates to vending machines as 'dinner plans.' But five years down the line, and we have seen him develop into a modern-day maverick cop, who not only feels disgusted by a suspect's perverted thoughts about another woman, but also understands how he can't force his feelings upon a woman, and that neither is she obligated to reciprocate his love.
This is an achievement level unlocked as Jake's love for Amy runs deeper than her quintessential Latina charms; he realizes she is the one in the middle of her fretting over a typo in a crossword puzzle and he roots for her through her panic attacks and smoking even at times when she doesn't believe in herself.
In all of that, Jake emerges a modern-day feminist icon on television, but he approaches his relationships with other fellow coworkers, with the same respect and charm. Jake is the one who stands by Rosa Diaz's (Stephanie Beatriz) side as she comes out as bisexual to her parents, and never once does he feel like patronizing the person that is Gina Linetti (Chelsea Peretti) no matter how narcissistic she gets.
It is his dynamic and wholehearted acceptance of Rosa's sexuality that manages to sweep viewers off their feet because it is reminiscent of the show's pilot, where he had initially chafed the newly appointed precinct captain, Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher), just for being a gay man.
Here's the charm though; from that aforementioned pilot scene, it becomes clear that Jake is up for learning, educating himself socially, and for acceptance too. Jake is superficially an abhorrer of authority, and captain Holt is probably the most authoritative figure ever. True, Holt warms up to the precinct and is a brilliant example of an impartial, rational leader, but eventually, despite all of his need for risky-cop-fun, Jake also warms up to the man and ends up calling him 'dad' later on.
Do note that having been abandoned by his deadbeat father in his childhood, most of Jake's instincts stem from deep-rooted daddy issues, but being able to emotionally substitute his awful biological father with a personality like Holt's is development right there.
One would think being in the depths of a New York-based fictional precinct, Jake would be biased about racial diversity, but despite his initial chafing of Holt for being an openly gay, black man in the force, none of his other jabs directed at his superior come off as offensive. This might be the charm of the writers in charge for writing Jake so brilliantly, but at the same time, Jake is not one-dimensional in his future dealings of Holt or authority.
As a fan on Twitter beautifully pointed out, in one of the episodes, "Rosa was pinned down at the site of an active shooting. Her compatriots were helplessly waiting for phone and radio updates. They've been ordered to stay put. But Jake decides he's going to defy orders, check out body armor and weapons, and crash the scene, action-hero style. He's doing that toxic masculinity thing of acting rashly instead of doing the work of having your feelings. Because he's scared for his friend, but that's hard. Holt finds out what he's up to, and confronts him. He tells him he's needed at the precinct. His friends are all freaking out in their various ways (the men, specifically), and he wants Jake there to help them. And Jake.... says no. He peels away. He's gone to do something stupid."
Now, this might seem like backtracking of all the developments discussed before because this is his moment. He's trying to relive his 'Die Hard' fantasy with an absolute disregard for Holt or his commands. Yet, just when you think our man has faltered, he pulls the biggest plot twist and comes back without interfering at the hostage situation, with pizza in his arms and heartfelt emotions to talk about the day with Terry Richards (Terry Crews) and Boyle, his other coworkers.
Some might point out that Jake's attitude towards Boyle comes off as patronizing considering he's so eager to make fun of his best friend, but following the show reveals just how invested in this friendship Jake himself is. True, Boyle treats Jake like a god, but what is not always clear is that Boyle himself isn't just Jake's sidekick; he is the very crux bearing Jake towards becoming a more compassionate and understanding person towards his friend's superficial drawbacks.
And this brings us to our most important aspect of discussing Jake Peralta's character development - the emotional maturity. Jake talking about feelings and emotions is something a lot of people wouldn't find surprising if they look at the show's recent past or current developments. But for those unaware, this is exactly the kind of man whose only response to heartfelt emotional discourse was 'noice', 'toit' and 'smort.'
In that, Jake was unable to even comprehend emotions without blabbering out something totally irrelevant and ridiculous, thus messing things up for his own self. But from that, the man grew to be an exceptional fiance, a comforting confidant, and also a source of solace for people crumbling in adverse situations. And we could not be more proud!