I stand corrected, fellow New Girl fans. In last week's recap I mistakenly declared "Kids" as the first season's penultimate episode. Maybe it's because all that Cece and Schmidt baby drama felt like it was leading up to one big romantic cliffhanger but really it was just laying the ground work for something else. (For the record, the New Girl season finale is actually slated for May 8! Thanks, Internet!)
Love was in the air during last night's penultimate penultimate episode titled "Tomatoes": Winston and Shelby were flaunting theirs; Cece and Schmidt were, once again, denying theirs; Jess and Russell were losing theirs; and Nick, well, he was just losing it. Perhaps the roof wasn't the best place for the lost and troubled Nick to make a speech in front of all his coupled-up friends to announce his new life as a tomato farmer. Well, a tomato planter on the roof of an L.A. loft. But, you know, tomato, tomahto.
The venture, like most things in Nick's life, fell spectacularly apart. One would think that after the whole Julia cactus debacle, Nick would have stayed far away from any type of planting, but this is a man desperate to find something, anything to anchor him while he's drowning. Of course, those poor tomatoes were drowning, too. So it was only a matter of time that after another failed attempt at adulthood and being surrounded by couples that -- gardening metaphor! -- the seeds would be planted for another huge mistake. (I know, gardening metaphors are in no way cooler than an 80s movie freeze frames. Freeze frame!)
After last week's pregnancy scare and proposal misfire, Cece and Schmidt were back on track...to being a couple in total denial of their feelings for each other. Cece claimed she wanted to pump the brakes on their relationship after their near-plunge into adulthood, but that's not really what she wanted at all. Neither did Schmidt for that matter. So he did what any guy who has had an entire jay devoted to his douchery would do: He dated her bizarre, rail-thin Russian model roommate Nadia who refers to him as "The Jewish."
Surprisingly enough, nobody contributed to the Douche Jar, but boy, did they both pay. Cece realized she could be letting her chance at true love slip away and into the bony arms of someone who cannot properly identify Mickey Mouse and Schmidt, well...Schmidt broke his penis while having sex with Nadia. Let this be a lesson to men everywhere, if you date your quasi-girlfriend's hot roommate, your penis will break. The more you know.
The whole traumatic incident eventually brought Cece and Schmidt back together and the pair exchanged "I like you"s under the strangely forgiving glow of florescent hospital lights. It was cute and sweet and decidedly un-Schmidt, even with that yoga pants remark. While plenty of New Girl fans, myself included, are waiting for the inevitable Nick and Jess hookup (way more on that in a bit)
I have to wonder how much anyone wants Cece and Schmidt to work, though. The pair running around in secret made from some of the show's best lines and gags all season and, as Jess learned the hard way in "Control", a non-douchey Schmidt is a Schmidt divided. Being in "like" with Cece has turned Schmidt decidedly un-douchey guy (he didn't even pronounce anything insanely last night) and that was why we fell in love with him, in spite of his douchiness, in the first place. That's not to say Cece and Schmidt don't deserve to fall in love and evolve as characters, but let's just hope that love or like or whatever-I-don't-like-labels doesn't turn them into Winston and Shelby.
Next: Winston and Shelby are that couple.
Winston and Shelby have turned into "that couple." You know that couple. Maybe you are that couple. Fresh in the honeymoon phase filled with sex and sandwiches and finding any excuse to mention them in conversation ("Shelby loves birds!"). It's a little bit easier to be happy for the annoyingly over-the-moon Winston and Shelby though, as neither have quite the same impact on the show as Cece and Schmidt. It wasn't easy for Nick to be happy for his buddy though, as he felt abandoned by his partner in crime for a lady friend. Hey, look on the bright side, Nick, Winston actually had a useful storyline this week!
Meanwhile, Jess was considering her own happiness in her relationship with Russell. (The sexy and charming Dermot Mulroney.) Sure he is fancy, sure he has "a jaw that could cut glass", sure he's the man Nick is meant to grow old with, but something was missing. Jess and Russell's age and class difference has certainly played a part in why their relationship, no matter how cute it may be, has problems. While neither of those things proved to be deal breakers, Jess had a glass-shattering revelation about their coupling: There was no passion.
It's undeniable that she and Russell have chemistry and a good time together (anybody down for a game of True Americans is a keeper) but after running into his ex-wife Ouli (a returning Jeanne Tripplehorn) in the steam room at her gym, Jess made for an even more uncomfortable revelation than being hugged in the nude by your boyfriend's ex-wife. During a terribly awkward dinner with the three (perpetual peacemaker Jess' idea, of course) she watches as Ouli and Russell fall back into the same routines that people who have a deep passion, for better or worse, with one another. Russell and Ouli ping-pong between wanting to rip into each other and well, wanting to rip into each other, a connection she and Mr. Fancyman are noticeably lacking.
But Russell is done with irrational, complicated love. (He likens his relationship to Ouli as getting "closer and closer to a wood chipper", a sentiment all-too-familiar for anyone who's ever been in a couple like that.) He is an older and wiser and fancier man and understandably wants someone uncomplicated to settle down with. On paper, Jess should be that woman. But, as she explains to Russell in his Batmobile right before their bittersweet breakup, she wants "passion, even if it's harder and it hurts more."
While Russell is now out of the picture, that didn't mean there wasn't room in the loft for an unexpected guest. After a blissful Winston waxed poetic to Nick about giving his relationship with Shelby another chance, the little boy lost interpreted that as "call your ex-girlfriend Caroline, the woman who broke your heart and left you the bumbling mess you've become." Which, much to the shock and disappointment to a newly single Jess, is exactly what he did.
The two hashed it out in a screaming match in the hallway, complete with pinpoint accurate jabs ("You don't have the patience or courage to be alone") and low blows ("You know what I would love to hear from you? Silence!") and ridiculous petty remarks ("Stop making that face at me!") and angry butt shaking that only two people who have crazy, irrational, unstoppable passion have together. Season finale, you just got a whole lot more interesting.
Other highlights from "Tomatoes"
- Nick's meltdown being propelled by his crappy love life and the fact that the downstairs neighbors blocked their Wifi password.
- Nick immediately dropping a watering can into his tomato plant. Way to plant, Nick!
- Jess' awkward renditions of Cheap Trick's "Surrender."
- Nadia's American likes include: Despicable Me, Tosh 2.0, Connect 4, freedom of speech, David Fincher, "Yo' Momma" jokes, Wilmer Valderrama, and ice skating for fun."
- Nick telling Winston to "git" off his farm. (For a moment there it felt like Nick and Winston had turned into the Rick and Shane of New Girl and Winston was going to have to kill Nick on a farm even more boring than his.)
- Nickston Miller, the joint dating site account created by Nick and Winston with an impressive track record of zero dates.
- Nick referring to Jess' pajamas as "pajama outfits."
- "She was kicked out of Russia, Cece. Russia!" - Jess, to Cece
- "Beautiful women. You guys can say just about anything can't you?"- Schmidt, to Nadia
- "You look like one of the guys who crawls out of the grave in the 'Thriller' video" - Winston, to an even schlubbier Nick
- "Sandwiches and sex? I want that!"- Nick (Don't we all?)
- "That's me!"- Nadia, finding herself in a magazine
- "I think I finally understand The Tree of Life"- Schmidt, during his out-of-body penis-breaking experience
- "Put on your stupid flannel and keep not living up to your potential!"- Jess, to Nick mid-fight
- "You bought a ticket, take a ride"- Nick, to Jess (We're on board! Let's go, guys!)
What did you think of last night's New Girl? Is Caroline back for good or simply a temporary roadblock on the way to Nick and Jess? Will we get douchey Schmidt back? Better yet, do we want him back? Sound off in the comments section!
[Photo credit: Fox]
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