“It’s just us here, you don’t have to pretend like you care,” Peralta tells Amy when she frets about the wedding of Charles’s dad and Gina’s mom, and that’s a revealing confession: This episode’s much-anticipated parental nuptials are less a crucial plotline and more a background framework on which to hang a lot of jokes. Despite being half of the happy couple, Sandra Bernhard’s Darlene in particular is hardly shown at all, though she’s at least looking seriously good at 59 — way to rock that gold dress. But any episode that gives Chelsea Peretti the spotlight is a good episode in my book, and the writers don’t waste the opportunity, front-loading it with so many great Gina zingers that I could probably write a recap consisting solely of them. (My favorite: Hitchcock offering to replace the broken smoke machine by crouching by the altar and vaping; Gina: “You are a stone-cold atrocity.”) (Okay, my second favorite: “Give me the ring.” “You sound like Gollum.” “That means nothing to me, I don’t see those movies. I’m too pretty.”)
Indeed, the sense of character was really on-point in this episode, which was otherwise a compilation of hoary wedding-related plotlines from Sitcomland past. (One half of the couple has cold feet and has to be talked down? Check. Trouble writing a speech? Check. Missing ring? Cheeeeeeck.) I think every single character managed to get a legitimate belly laugh from me at one point or another in the proceedings, from Charles attempting to “steal” the air kisses being sent between Gina and Darlene to Lynn (the always-awesome Stephen Root, who really shone this episode) attempting to run to the altar without his pants on. Even the little bits, like Hitchcock rocking out to Scully’s operatic rendition of “Don’t You Forget About Me,” killed.
“Boyle-Linetti Wedding” is a jumping-off point for the show to explore how each member of the squad does love, and for longtime fans invested in these characters, the results are often surprisingly moving. Rosa telling Marcus that she loves him (in another blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance by Nick Cannon, complete with a plug for fellow Fox show Bones) is “aww”-inspiring, topped only by the sweet reminders that Holt and Kevin Cozner’s mutual nerdiness makes them absolutely perfect for each other. (They both thought Holt’s quip at their hasty wedding about the “o-fficiant” needing to be more “e-fficient” was hysterical, and they know about Kim and Kanye only because they were a topic on Jeopardy!) And, of course, we all know how much Terry loves his wife: so much, in fact, that he can’t get through a single Luther Vandross quote without sobbing.
But of all the couples percolating through this romance-centric episode, the ones we’re obviously supposed to throw the most support to are Jake and Amy, who are finally beginning to approach the season finale with some still-very-tentative steps towards romance. I’m already (repeatedly) on record about my frustration with this pairing, but while their interactions remained stubbornly chemistry-free, I do appreciate that the show is at least making some gestures in that direction, especially considering that Amy’s confession of love was a whopping eight episodes and an entire Eva Longoria guest-arc ago (at the end of “The Road Trip”). It seems like we’re embarking on a story line that will have them together in season three, and the attempt here to show what that relationship might look like is surprisingly gentle and sweet — if anything, they seem too close as buddies to date, what with the goofy James Bond nicknames (“Maxi Pads?” “I didn’t want to make it too sexual”), supportive perp-snagging, and cheerleading for a second chance with Peralta’s erstwhile bar-mitzvah dumper. We already know that this relationship is a classic opposites-attract pairing, but it’ll be interesting to see how B99 rises to the challenge of trying to make Jake and Amy believable as a couple without constantly going to that, “she’s anal, he’s messy!” Oscar-and-Felix well. In the meantime, I’m just trying not to pre-mourn the breakup that I’m sure is inevitably coming for Rosa.
• I laughed out loud so many times during this episode, but never quite as hard as when Holt read his prepared poem about marriage. “It’s a haiku. And a fact. Works on two levels.”
• Pretty impressive that the show managed to splurge on the rights to “Got to Give It Up” for the sole excuse of trying to get Charles to attempt a switch to “Kokomo.”
• I really like how they used identical framing to show Peralta’s reactions to Jenny Guildenhorn dancing to Air Supply with another man at age 13 and in the present. “Fung!”
• Gina kept a smoke machine in her apartment growing up because she likes to “enter the kitchen in the morning with vivacity.” Only Chelsea Peretti could make me laugh just with her pronunciation of the word vivacity.
• Amy: “I told him not to be cute about it.” Jake: “I’m cute about EVERYTHING.”
• In yet another Fox shout-out, Peralta still has the Jason Priestley cologne he wore in middle school. “It’s just called Brandon, and it’s overpowering.”
• Amy still has her cummerbund from high-school jazz band. “I played French horn … I still do.” Jake: “WHAAAAAAAAAAT.”
• Charles’s dad on his fourth and fifth marriages: “Back-to-back catfish situations. Same kid both times, actually.” Throw in that butt-bumping secret handshake, and Gina may have been right to call the Boyles “the worst family in history.”