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]
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