The will-they-or-won’t-they scenario has been a popular one on the TV landscape for decades now. Cheers, Friends, Castle and Bones have all used it. And, that’s not even half a list of the many shows that have employed the technique to add tension to their shows. Now that one of TV’s most popular comedies, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has answered that question in the affirmative, how do the producers plan to avoid the dreaded Moonlighting Curse of television relationships? The Hollywood Reporter did and interview with the show’s Executive Producer, Dan Goor, and he says they have a pretty simple solution.
The Jake-Amy relationship was never the central tension of our show. It's just an element of it. Hopefully there are many other angles still to play and hopefully we're able to bring comedy to that relationship.
As a viewer I think he makes a good point. The main tension of the show has always been the relationship between the precincts' wacky cops and the new captain that’s been assigned to them who has very little tolerance for goofing around and general humor of any kind. And, Jake and Amy feel special as a television couple because it was always clear to everyone, even to themselves privately, that they were into each other. The idea just made them nervous because they work together and seem so different. Goor believes that the pacing of the showmance is key for any of these relationships.
It's not like every episode is going to be a Jake and Amy episode, whereas every episode of a show like Moonlighting where that was central relationship, every episode was about their relationship on some level. We do Jake-Amy stories generally every four or five episodes or more. Hopefully that won't be an issue.
Everyone who watches a show with even a hint of sexual tension between the characters (and knows even the slightest bit about the will-they-won’t-they tactic) will worry about what happens when those two characters officially become a thing onscreen. And the basic formula is always that two wildly different people, often who hate or don’t understand each other at the beginning, become increasingly drawn to each other as circumstances force them to deal with one another.
Now, I’m not saying the idea, even though it’s possibly overused now, isn’t fun to watch on many shows. But for me, and probably many TV lovers, it is a sign that things on our favorite shows can go south pretty quickly. When Ross and Rachel finally hit their romantic stride on Friends, I was a little scared. I enjoyed the show, like many people, and, as a former watcher of the above mentioned Moonlighting, was worried as hell that all the wind would get blown out of the sails for that show. And, there is nothing quite like adoring a show and then slowly seeing it go down like a sinking ship, week after week, and season after season.
I’m praying to the TV gods that Goor and his team are right. That they have a perfect mixture of Jake and Amy stories combined with non-central couple stories. I also have high hopes that they will settle on a “will” or “won’t” before we get so far into the run of the series that no one cares anymore. As much as it’s no fun to watch your top show deflate, it can be just as challenging for the couple you’re rooting for to get together and break up a million times. Let’s hope that’s not an option for our favorite new cop couple, either.