I never thought this day would come so soon, but before the first season has even wrapped, the seemingly impossible has happened. Fellow New Girl fans, I fear The Douchebag Jar may have to already be retired. I know, I'm not happy about it either. But after Schmidt's touching display of anti-douchery, he may be exempt from putting money in the jar for good. (Yes, even in spite of that "Russian nesting doll situation" comment.)
But herein lies the Great Schmidt Douchebag Dilemma. While there is no question he is a douchebag (just listen back to that "sexy" phone call he made to Nick one more time), at his core, he's not a bad guy. Same goes for Nick actually, but more on Ol' Poo Eyes in a bit. So what differentiates the douchebags from the bad guys? Well, how they handle a pregnancy scare, for one.
After receiving what he thought were more mixed signals from Cece, Schmidt would come to find out that it wasn't indifference about Italy on Ice (because honestly, who could be indifferent about that?) that was making her distant during last night's New Girl episode called "Kids," but the fact that she was a few days late. Yes, Cece feared she might be carrying Baby Schmidt. Just picture it. Or don't. Whatever will keep your breakfast down this morning.
Schmidty was elated about their little "caramel miracle." He made a sincere and heartfelt promise to Cece that he'd be there for her no matter what; he picked out names like Mordecai and Abraham, complete with Hebrew pronunciation; he imagined what their beautiful hybrid would look like. ("An Indian/Jewish baby — who wouldn't want that? Think about the bone structure.") Then, in record time, he hired someone to sky write "Marry Me" for Cece, even though their baby scare turned out to be nothing more than that.
I'll pause for the obligatory sound of the record screeching to a halt.
Okay, moving on.
NEXT: Let's officially sound the alarm for Max Greenfield's Emmy nomination.
Despite the fact that these two are continuing to dance around their feelings for one another and refuse to put a label on their relationship, Schmidt (let's officially sound the alarm for that Max Greenfield Emmy nomination now) wanted to put aside all that and make Cece his bride. While the show hasn't shied away from emotional gut punches (recall, if you will, the season-best "Injured"), moments like this are typically reserved for struggling sitcoms (looking at you, How I Met Your Mother) grasping to keep our attention — which New Girl most certainly isn't — or a season finale, which isn't until next week. Still, it's unlikely this bombshell will shift the dynamic of the show. Cliché as it sounds, New Girl is the rare comedy with a big heart that actually works on both levels. It's not too schmaltzy (that one's for you, Schmitdy) and doesn't force every piece of dialogue to be a joke.
But let's backtrack for a minute. If Schmidt's botched engagement isn't the first season finale cliffhanger, that leaves the door open for one more thing: Winston! No, just kidding. Winston had some forgettable Get Him To The Greek-like storyline about escorting his terrible boss around town that ultimately went nowhere. Bring back Fun, Interesting Winston, New Girl writers! He's awesome at singing sad songs and getting unwanted guests out of the loft. And please, for the love of all that is good, get him out of this job. (Oh, and please get rid of the flashbacks. The break-dancing baby bit was one of the few times the show has actually made me wince.)
Rather, it looks like there might just be a sliver of hope for anyone holding out for something to finally happen with Nick and Jess before the first season wraps up. Sure, Jess is still trying to make a great impression on Mr. Russell Fancyman (wouldn't that be great if that was his real name?) by offering to babysit his daughter/her student Sara.
Despite her very best efforts, Jess failed at her attempts to talk to Sara about sex and the history of pasta or make a good first impression on Russell's ex-wife (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn.) It's not that the lovely, funny, and kindhearted Jess isn't worthy of Russell's love because of these mishaps. Quite the contrary, actually. It's that she's still working through her 30s and isn't ready for kids of her own, and she still makes a fool of herself on a near daily basis by doing things like talking loudly to blind people. Russell isn't in that place anymore, but Jess most certainly is. And so is Nick for that matter.
NEXT: She doesn't even know what Netscape is!
It seems almost mean to want to root for Jess to wind up with Nick. No matter how childish or lost Jess may seem at moments, Nick has her (and everyone else on the show) beat, tenfold. We shouldn't be hoping that the evolving Jess winds up with a fixer-upper who has gone on a soul-crushing sexual tear with every college co-ed in the greater Los Angeles area because he's a dude and because he can.
But there's a reason why poor Sara got a crush on Nick right away. It's the same reason Jess has one, too. Like Schmidt, deep down Nick is a good guy. A douchebag might inadvertently date an 18-year-old and think of her as worldly because she knows who Banksy is, but a bad guy would never say something like "I haven't loved somebody the way you love me in a very long time and I miss that feeling. That feeling you have is good, it's just misplaced. It's better than being numb your whole life you end up doing such weird things," and really mean it.
While Jess shouldn't have to save Nick from himself, there's something truly great at the core of these two. They are, as so many sitcom pals tend to find out by their second season, simply meant to be together. It's rare in this life to find someone else to laugh about tennis ball boob gags with, but when you do, you'd better not let them get away. If there were ever a time for Nick to man up and finally do something great for his life, winning Jess from Russell would be it.
But, before we skip ahead to the finale, here's the best moments and lines from last night's New Girl episode "Kids":
- Italy on Ice. Everything about it, really. From Schmidt's promise that "Drea de Matteo is scheduled to appear, but they're not liable if she doesn't" to Nick's wide-eyed enthusiasm about the spectacle. ("I never knew Italy was more than pizza!")
- Jess' mime of erasing, when explaining why teachers need bras, too. (In fact, let's sound the alarm for a Zooey Deschanel nom as well.)
- Nick's weight loss regime is to simply "eat less donuts."
- Jess is the Betty White of the group, Schmidt is the Rue McClanahan. (I assume this makes Nick the Bea Arthur and Winston the Estelle Getty.)
- Winston's boss purchasing seven copies of Speed on VHS at a yard sale for "a fraction of the retail price."
- "Everything you say sounds really creepy when you're not wearing pants." — Jess
-"Pop-a-corrrrrno?"- Schmidt's Italian pronunciation of "popcorn"
- "Not Nick's room! It's not well ventilated in there." — Jess' warning to a lovelorn Sara.
- "She doesn't even know what Netscape is!" — Schmidt's horror regarding Nick's young girlfriend.
- "I might as well call you Bridge to Terabithia because you make children cry!" — Jess, with her best zing at Nick. (Runner-up: "Why don't you get on her insurance?")
What did you think of the first season penultimate episode? Were you stunned by Schmidt's ultimately failed gesture? Will this be the beginning of the end for Schmidt and Cece to make for the beginning of Jess and Nick? Sound off in the comments!
[Photo credit: Fox]
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
New Girl Recap: True, Young Americans
New Girl, Glee, Raising Hope Renewed
Zooey Deschanel, the Single Girl: 'I Don't Have Time to Date'
Yeah, that's right. In Ed Helms' new movie, Cedar Rapids, he bares his rear end for the ladies and Conan liked it. And in case you were wondering, no there was no butt-double involved. That's 100 percent Helms tushie and that's not all. He also clarifies how a little guy named "Peppy" factored into those scenes featuring "artist's naughty bits."
Carmelo Anthony explains how he likes his omelets, why he doesn't like clams and why he's finally made the decision....TO WEAR A SNUGGIE. Psych! You thought it would be that easy? You know they're going to drag this team decision out like they did with LeBron James' and this time there are THREE teams on the table. So yeah, it's kind of a big deal.
Sara Rue is going to play beer pong at her wedding...that is as long as Craig Ferguson stops staring at her impossibly shiny, orange legs.
The tragic opera tells the story of a disfigured musical genius (Gerald Butler) who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera waging a reign of terror over its occupants [cue the organ music]. Think The Elephant Man meets The Hunchback of Notre Dame--except this particular "monster" has some serious sex appeal. I mean honestly his only "disfigurement" is some scarring on one side of his face which he covers with a rather classy mask. No big whoop. But I digress. When he falls desperately in love with the lovely ingénue Christine (Emmy Rossum) who has lived in the opera house for most of her life the Phantom devotes himself to molding the young soprano into a star exerting a strange sense of control over her as he nurtures her extraordinary talents. But when Christine falls for the dashing Raoul (Patrick Wilson) all hell breaks loose as the Phantom's growing jealousies threatens to tear everyone apart [OK now it's really time to cue the organ music].
Fans will no doubt be happy their favorite musical has finally made it to the big screen but the musical's original stars Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman have been replaced in the movie version by hot young actors. This is a very wise decision considering the film's rather longwinded nature. In other words even though the Phantom performers keep singing and singing and then sing some more at least they are appealing to watch (and they did do all their own singing). Butler (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) is particularly effective as the Phantom all brooding mysterious and far more intriguing a suitor than pretty boy Raoul played blandly by Wilson (HBO's Angels in America). With her alabaster skin and long luscious locks Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow) also does a nice job as Christine. But she is unfortunately limited to only a few range of emotions--either all doe-eyed and somber over her Phantom doe-eyed and gushy over Raoul or just plain doe-eyed. As for the supporting players Minnie Driver nearly steals the show as the Italian soprano diva La Carlotta. As the only breath of fresh air in the musty opera house you definitely crave more of her.
It's taken about 15 years to bring Webber's smash hit to the big screen. Apparently after winning every known theater award for Phantom the legendary producer-composer approached director Joel Schumacher in 1988 to do the movie after being impressed by Schumacher's work on The Lost Boys. Hmmm The Lost Boys to Phantom of the Opera--I'm still trying to tie that one together. Anyway Webber had to postpone production for personal reasons and then Schumacher was busy doing such films as Tigerland and Phone Booth. Finally the time was ripe to make Phantom coming on the heels of the musical movie boom started by Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Schumacher certainly incorporates all the right elements from the young and talented cast to the opulent sets and magnificent costumes. The problem is the material: Phantom really isn't all that compelling of a story. Sure the stage production was and still is a theatrical event especially as the Phantom moves on catwalks all over the theater and the impressive chandelier comes crashing down on the stage. But for the film adaptation there needs to be something more than just grand posturing set pieces and operatic music. Maybe a little more dialogue? A sex scene? Anything?