New Girl and How to Handle a ‘Will They/Won’t They’

1 May

A ‘will they/won’t they’ relationship is tricky for any TV show to navigate but New Girl is showing how it can be done and last night’s episode hit another important milestone for Nick and Jess. In “Virgins” the group revealed embarrassing (and not so embarrassing) tales of how they lost their virginity and this led to another first time. With just two episodes the tension and stakes have increased as Nick and Jess will have to navigate what this means for their relationship.

Nick and JessThe second half of this season has taken this coupling to a new level that started with a super hot kiss and led to non-declarations of feelings, a shouty make-out session, a first date that was three terrible first dates and lots of lingering looks. Finally Nick listened to his father (shout out to Dennis Farina making a return from the grave in the flashbacks) and what he told him the night Walt had gifted Winston and Nick prostitutes; “I just want to make sure that you don’t miss out on the things in life that are happening when you’re not thinking, because believe you me, those are the best things in life.” Sound advice from Walt Miller and Nick hasn’t always followed this course of thinking, he was after all the guy who was afraid to run into the ocean in season 1 (“Injured” is still one of my favorite episodes). In fact a lot of this season has been about these characters doing things that they previously wouldn’t attempt and this evolution is one compelling aspect of New Girl.

So, ‘will they/won’t they’ couples can be a hard line to walk; you get them together too early and it might mess up the tension, you get them together too late and it feels stale. The way the Nick and Jess relationship has developed from the beginning of the show and particularly this season has felt organic. Last year there was flirtation and chemistry that made it clear that something would happen eventually, but both characters have had a series of serious and casual love interests, and this hasn’t felt out of place either. When the focus shifted this season after The Kiss (capitals definitely required) this was also part of the natural progression. Cece pointed out in the last episode that it was all getting a tad farcical and 7th grade and if it had continued in this manner then the audience might get just as frustrated. Thankfully the next step has been taken and after an episode discussing having sex for the first time, Nick and Jess did with each other.


This moment was part of a longer sequence involving everyone else; Schmidt and Elizabeth, Cece and Shivrang, Winston and Daisy. Schmidt has recently got back in touch with his first college girlfriend Elizabeth and the flashback showing their first time was one of the funniest bits of physical comedy that New Girl has produced with Nick and Schmidt rolling around on the floor after too much lube was used (see above). I’d really like to see Merritt Wever’s Elizabeth stick around as she brings out a different side of Schmidt and because she’s so, so good. This will also add something extra to the other ‘will they/won’t they’ of New Girl with Cece and Schmidt turning it into a love quadrangle of sorts. Cece and Shivrang discuss having sex before their wedding (which is in two days) and Cece says they shouldn’t, they both look away awkwardly and this doesn’t bode well for this union. Winston’s performance anxiety troubles with Daisy are soothed when he sees Titanic on the TV, the movie that he’d been watching with Nick just before he (unknowingly) lost his virginity to a hooker.

Back to Nick and Jess and the moment over the closing credits was played extremely well by Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson with 30 seconds of post sex reactions including wide eyes, huge smiles, laughter and the best use of “Ruh-roh.” Rather than opt for the standard romcom cliché of “What next?” it just ended on a Scooby-Doo reference and “Oh boy” (I always read this as a shout out to Quantum Leap). It’s both awkward and comfortable and I hope they play the rest of the season like this.

So what next (I am a romcom cliché)? New Girl creator Liz Meriwether spoke to E!Online and said “Going forward, we were just interested in what does the sex mean to both of them and how does it deepen and complicate the issues that they have between them. I think that’s what the end of the season is about.” A line has been crossed and because they live together it’s going to change the dynamic in the loft. Everything is pretty much out in the open prior to this and Schmidt and Winston have previously thought a Nick/Jess romantic relationship wouldn’t work. Schmidt’s going to be preoccupied with Cece’s wedding as he tries to come up with a scheme to ruin the big day (with Winston’s help) and so this might give them some space to figure stuff out. Or not as Jess’ dad (guest star Rob Reiner) will make a surprise visit.

New Girl has a 25-episode run this year and I’m glad they got an extra episode to play with. This has been one of the consistently funny sitcoms this season and they manage to balance emotional arcs around set pieces that include a giant jar of lube; an impressive achievement from Liz Meriwether and the whole creative New Girl team.

5 Responses to “New Girl and How to Handle a ‘Will They/Won’t They’”

  1. psipsinasays May 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    To all this: yes.


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