porcelainandporcupines

Fun with fictional characters: Amy Santiago versus Amy Farrah Fowler

Posted on: May 21, 2015

Our consideration of Amy’s place in popular culture continues as we compare a high achieving, buttoned up, by the book cop, with a high achieving, buttoned up neuroscientist who would undoubtedly be by the book if that were expected in her field. Only one Amy can reign supreme; will it be Brooklyn 99’s Amy Santiago, or The Big Bang Theory’s Amy Farrah Fowler?

Who has the better name?
Each woman spells her name correctly, so we have to look to their full names to make a verdict. Amy Farrah Fowler is often referred to by all 3 of her names. Not because she is being reprimanded by an angry parent, but because it’s an aspect of her formal, uptight nature; it is both proper and polite, not to mention accurate, upon making an acquaintance to inform them of your full name; that will help them differentiate you from any other Amy’s they might happen to know. Other, less precise characters, refer to her simply as Amy.

Amy Santiago has a job where camaraderie between partners is strengthened by calling each by their last name. No matter how she might introduce herself, when she goes by only one name, it’s Santiago.

Winner: Amy Farrah Fowler

Who has the better job?
Well, it’s a difficult time to argue in favor of a cop, even one on tv. To its credit, Brooklyn 99 has addressed the inequality and discrimination in police departments from its premier, when we learn that the new captain had not previously been given his own command despite an overwhelming competence and capability, because he is both black and gay. It’s unusual, and maybe even bold, for oppression to be the foundation of a comedy, but the show handles it deftly, making it clear that, while there is still quite a long way to go, the many good and decent people on the squad will ultimately prevail. But, you know, funny.

Neuroscientist, on the other hand, is not a career currently causing a lot of controversy. It does, though, take years of study. And, while there are any number of research careers that could show off a character’s smarts, Mayim Bialik, who portrays Amy Farrah Fowler, is herself a neuroscientist, and it is her real-life achievement that molded the path of her characters. That is pretty impressive.

Verdict: Both careers, at their core, have a goal of improving people’s lives, either through solving crimes or improving our understanding of our own physiology. But, while there may come a day when little kids play Neuroscientist and Blood-borne Pathogen instead of Cops and Robbers, that day is not today.

Winner: Amy Santiago

Who has the better fashion sense?
As an intellectual, Amy Farrah Fowler does not have much interest in fashion. Amy Farrah Fowler Her clothing tends to be comfortable, practical, and probably inherited from an elderly relative. She favors long sleeves, sweater vests, and skirts, topping it all off with sensible shoes. It’s neither fashionable nor flattering, but it does look comfortable.

As a cop, Amy Santiago’s style could best described as efficient: crisp button down shirts, fitted pantsuits. No-nonsense apparel that conceals her firearm but does not restrict her movement when chasing down a perp. Which is why, even though we’ve never seen them, I assume her shoes are practical. Amy Santiago

Verdict
Neither Amy is particularly aware of fashion, nor, apart from that time Santiago wore the same outfit as Boyle, is either particularly bothered by it. With style removed from consideration, we have to look to comfort for our decision, and I would frankly rather wear a sweater and skirt than a pantsuit any day. Plus, only one Amy has a tiara, and the guts to wear it in public.

Winner:Amy Farrah Fowler

Who has the better boyfriend?
While acknowledging that neither of these women is nor should be defined by her romantic relationships, let’s take a look at the Amyses’ romantic prospects.

In Sheldon Cooper, Amy Farrah Fowler has arguably one of the worst boyfriends on tv. On the plus side, he is scrupulous of keeping to the terms of their formal relationship agreement. And he did buy her that tiara. However, on the negative, he is immature, selfish, and not really interested in any sort of physical contact with anyone, much less an icky girl. His relationship with Amy did begin as one of intellectual compatibility, and then added a romantic element only because he was jealous of the attention she was getting from other men. Though their relationship has hit a number of milestones – including going to prom (despite being grown-ups), holding hands (again, as grown-ups), and an exchange of ‘I-love-you’s’ – Sheldon, oddly enough, falls into the role of television bad boy, in that he’s able to swoop in and deliver on the big moments, even as he leaves Amy hanging on the day-to-day. He’s like the worst possible combination of Jordan Catalano and Brian Krakow.

(Note to self, potential future blog topic: Brian Krakow; kind of terrible?)

While Sheldon is definitively kind of terrible, the romantic prospects of Amy Santiago are not much better. For 2 seasons she’s been half of a “will-they/won’t-they” couple with Jake Perralta who is basically a child’s idea of what an adult is, rather than an actual adult. As an example, he tosses all his mail into his bathtub unopened, rather than pay his bills, recycle, or bathe. He also had to have it pointed out that his competitiveness with Amy was based on his crush on her, and his honest confession of his feelings immediately preceded going undercover for several months, where he wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences, either positive or negative. On the plus side, he is a very capable detective.

Verdict: If we were choosing between order and chaos, Sheldon would be the clear winner: he’s unlikely to forget a birthday or anniversary, and, unlike Jake, has already set out the long road of becoming an appropriate boyfriend for Amy. But, all things considered, Jake’s road is shorter.

Winner: Amy Santiago

Who is more accomplished within her field?
Years of study have paid off for Amy Farrah Fowler, as she seems very well established as a neuroscientist: she’s had numerous studies published, she’s well-enough-liked by her peers to be invited to weddings, she’s been a guest researcher at other laboratories, and she always has a new study under way, even if the seriousness of her research is often undercut by the monkeyshines of, well, monkeys. Oh, monkeys.

Amy Santiago, too, is no slouch. She’s a dedicated detective of an elite squad known as. . . nope, hold on: wrong show.

She is a dedicated detective, though, with a high clearance rate on her cases. She has clear aspirations to be captain herself someday, and she does not allow the high esteem she has for her (very reluctant) mentor Captain Holt prevent her from addressing errors in his work.

Verdict: Santiago has already been recognized as having the better job (way up there at the top; have you forgotten already?), but is she better at it? Although both are amazingly competent women, Amy Farrah Fowler is further along in her career than Santiago, and so, in this case, although it’s very, very close, the victory must be hers.

Winner: Amy Farrah Fowler

Final Verdict
It’s tempting to say that we, the Amyses in the audience, are the winners of this contest, for having two such powerful representatives of the qualities that define us: both women are intelligent, capable, efficient, and uptight in the best possible way. They strive for goals they have the capacity and willingness to achieve. They’re reliable and forthright, and put up with minimal nonsense. Truly, it’s a wonderful time to admire a woman named Amy on television.

But, in any contest, there can be only one winner. Of the two, Santiago is the more competitive, while Amy Farrah Fowler is often just happy to finally be a part of a group. Which, honestly, are both good Amy qualities. But this is a competition, and so the one with the wider competitive streak wins.

Winner: Amy Santiago

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