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New Girl Season 2 Finale: Making a Choice

15 May

“Where did we come from? Where do we go?”

Life’s big question as perfectly as asked by the song “Cotton-Eye Joe” (and yes I’m having some serious high school dance flashbacks) and one that ended season 2 of New Girl on a high as it rounded out a fantastic year. The strength of the finale and the show is not just about the Nick and Jess pairing, but the group as a whole and this episode highlights why New Girl is so much fun to watch. It’s chaotic and messy but as Jess told a class of kids last week the “messy parts are the best parts.”

NG_ep225_sc1_0074Since “Cooler” there has been a lot of tiptoeing around how Nick and Jess really feel about each other; they are friends and there is a strong sexual attraction. Beyond that they have had problems verbalizing their feelings and after Bob’s disapproving speech last week this put the emphasis on Nick’s lack of self-worth. This is emphasized in the finale when Jess first mentions that her father has referred to Nick as a child. Jess claims that she doesn’t believe this, but then uses this word when she mistakenly thinks that Nick is part of the wedding “sabo” scheme. To prove Jess right Nick joins the terrible badger in the air duct plan, cue the best high pitched screaming you’ve ever heard coming from Nick as Bucky the Badger escapes. Also the badger is not rabid, he’s “just kind of a dick.”

Since an air duct is as good as place as any to have a heart to heart this is the location of one of several Nick and Jess relationship discussions. With each conversation as the episode progresses Nick pushes Jess further and further away; here he gets her to admit that there is a small part of her that thinks that what has occurred between them is a mistake. Jess admits that yes there is and this triggers Nick’s self destruct button, even if it is natural for someone to have doubts about a big change in a personal relationship like this one. This talk is abruptly cut short thanks to the air ducts giving way and they crash directly into the wedding ceremony. A shake of the head from Bob in Nick’s direction is the final straw and Nick thinks they should call it.

NG_ep225-sc5_09C4218Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson produce some of their strongest work in these emotional scenes, first as Jess tries to stop the tears from flowing as she agrees to call it. Both look devastated and don’t want to go through with it, but Nick and Jess have a habit of not saying the thing that they really want to say. We have seen this repeatedly this season, particularly in the incident with Russell and writing down what they mean to each other and then refusing to say. That was the last time they decided to call it and those middle school dance rules didn’t last for long.

The final scene is a romantic comedy at its best and once again both Deschanel and Johnson nail the emotion of the scene; it’s teary (“Before you say no, don’t say no”), super hot ( another all caps KISS) and funny. The laugh that breaks up the kiss is the opposite of the yelling make out session from “Quick Hardening Caulk” and mirrors the post-coital reaction at the end of “Virgins.” As I’ve mentioned previously the friends first aspect is really important with Nick and Jess; it’s refreshing to see an onscreen couple sharing moments like this as love doesn’t have to be tortured and deep all the time, sometimes it can be funny too.

A choice is made then, but not one that is clearly defined and I am happy with this decision by the New Girl writers. Nick and Jess don’t know where they are driving off to, but they are doing it together. One aspect that was surprising is how not bothered Winston and Schmidt are by this romantic development. I guess we have had their attempt at sabotage that ended badly, but showed Winston and Schmidt they have their own bond. Schmidt is disgruntled at Nick, but only because Nick is changing aspects about himself and not helping with the “sabo” plan (and yes Jess’ pink purse goes well with Nick’s suit). Winston is the person that pushes Nick into not taking the running away option, while he is slightly delirious from blood loss and Winston gets the best line of the episode – “Hey bartender! Can you call an ambulance? I’m about to bleed out. Thanks man!”

From this episode it would appear that in terms of the group the loft dynamic might not change all that much. Obviously the sleeping arrangements will be different and how Nick and Jess interact, but as a group they seem pretty solid. One point that has been repeated this season is that Winston is weird at pranks as he goes in way too hard or way too soft. There has also been a strong Winston/Schmidt bond of late and this showed in their teaming up together. Schmidt also had the opportunity to flash his most devious smile and there are some nice moments between Schmidt and Jess (“Was I?”), yes he does deserve to have his precious hair messed up bad.

NG_ep225-sc2_09C4865Schmidt claims that he is trying to ruin the wedding as a friend and it turns out that he did read the look on Cece’s face correctly. The problem of course is that Schmidt is with Elizabeth and they’ve got a good thing going. In a refreshing change from blaming “the other woman” Cece and Elizabeth are fine with each other and look to Schmidt to make a decision. When they don’t go for his listening to a Coldplay bootleg suggestion he goes for the Nick Miller running away option. Before we met Elizabeth I would have said Cece all the way, but Merritt Wever is such a good addition to the cast and what she brings out in Schmidt. It’s a hard choice and I can see why they went with no choice, plus it’s a season finale so you need to have some unresolved conundrums.

The wedding doesn’t go ahead and Shivrang isn’t heartbroken all thanks to guest star Taylor Swift. Swift plays Elaine, Shivrang’s true love and her appearance wasn’t the distraction I thought it could be. There’s also a pretty funny joke about their height difference and how she’s been writing in her journal and painting pictures of Shivrang on her easel.

Overall this was a really satisfying conclusion to this season and showcased all of New Girl’s strengths from how they have handled the “will they/won’t they” to the top notch physical comedy moments (Vulture has an excellent compilation from this season), all while focusing on the overall group dynamic. This finale could have felt overstuffed, but thanks to the pacing and balance between all the different storylines it topped off a fantastic year for New Girl.

 

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One Response to “New Girl Season 2 Finale: Making a Choice”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Out of the Box: Look of the Week | TV Ate My Wardrobe - May 17, 2013

    […] and New Girl tends to have a very bright color palette; Jess’ blue sari (which you can see here) fits in with this motif and allowed her to stand out against the orange backdrop. Bonus points go […]

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