Parting is such bittersweet sorrow. At least, it is when it comes to the Season One finale of New Girl. Taking the almost anti-season finale approach, the breakout Fox comedy didn't leave us hanging with a gut-wrenching cliffhanger (not with their obvious cliffhanger couple, anyway.) Instead, "See Ya" did what New Girl has been doing so well during its freshman season: Making us feel equal parts exhilarated and hopeful and frustrated and a little bit sad for our gang. It's going to be hard to go without them this summer, but they left us on such a wonderful note (to the key of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long") it'll be worth the wait.
Of course, if I was having a hard time with the idea of parting with New Girl for the next few months, it's nothing compared to the hard time Jess was having with the idea of parting with Nick. While none of his friends were terribly pleased that Nick was taking this gigantic backslide into domestic disarray, the guys dealt with a little bit better than Jess. While Winston and Schmidt fantasized about what they'd do with all the money they'd save not living with The Plaid Leech (Winston would open a mall called Winston's Corners and Schmidt would literally throw money at a plumber) Jess made her contempt for the situation known. She reminded Nick that Caroline turned him into an "turtle-faced, borderline alcoholic" and she tried, in vain, to scare off their replacement roommate Neil (the always funny Thomas Lennon) with threats of feminist rants. But it all fell on deaf ears, Nick was taking the backslide because it was the easy way out.
With Jess (and creepy landlord Remy!) wanting no part of his departure, Winston and Schmidt did the bro-therly thing and helped Nick on moving day. Only Nick had a major freak-out en route to his new life and made a 140-mile detour to the desert. "What have I done?!" Nick cried as he fell to his knees. (See above.) It's a question Nick isn't unfamiliar with asking himself, but this time, it seemed, he wanted to actually find an answer. So he did what any logical person would do: He threw the keys to his moving van into the endless desert abyss.
With the impending darkness looming (and not just Nick's infinite sadness, but poor Winston is very much afraid of the dark) Jess reluctantly came to the rescue with Schmidt's love Cece by her side. But since Jess is no ordinary girl, this is no ordinary rescue mission. Instead, she "loses" the keys to her car, leaving everyone stranded in the desert to stall for more time with Nick. Now I thought I was jealous of anyone who got to attend Coachella, but the only music party in the California desert I ever want to go to is one where I'm surrounded by my closest friends at the back of an open moving truck while a mix tape featuring Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast at Tiffanys," OMD's "How Bizarre," and Crash Test Dummies' "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" plays. God, the '90s were awesome.
It looked like a blissful oasis if there ever was one, but there was a lot of heavy stuff hanging over their vast desert landscape. Nick was still reluctantly fighting his friends (sometimes physically, in a deliriously funny slap fight) on his decision and tried to resist their nostalgic pleas like "I'm gonna miss this you guys, all of us together making fun of Nick." But, he wasn't the only one. The seemingly happy Schmidt (who was finally recovered from his whole broken penis debacle) and Cece came to a crossroads when a jealous Schmidt looked through Cece's phone to discover a flirty text from a male model colleague he watched her straddle a rocket with half-nude, during a photo shoot. JAR!
Racked with insecurities and desperate to give Cece the happy life she "wants," Schmidt did the only kind thing he could think to do: He White Fang-ed her. What's White Fang-ing someone, you ask? (It's not sexual, if you were worried like Jess was.) Based off Jack London's classic novel/the only book on Schmidty's Kindle, to White Fang someone is to let someone go, no matter how much it may hurt you, because it's what's best for them. You must set your wolf – nay, woof – free into the wilderness. Only Cece is no woof, she's a "good egg" who probably knows Schmidt better than he knows himself. She knew exactly what he was doing and tried to stop him from pelting metaphorical rocks at her. But when Schmidt lobbed a stinging insult at her ("How am I supposed to trust you, Cece? You slept with me! I mean, that doesn't say much about your taste in men") it proved to be too much for Cece. This could very well be it for these two. Woof.
Which left us pondering the fate of the other New Girl couple: Winston and Shelby. Just kidding! Shelby is nowhere to be found and Winston's main purpose in last night's episode was to be scared of the dark. (That said, Lamorne Morris did a damn good job of it with his childlike screams of fear and voicing his concerns that his "thighs and fat ass" will get him killed first by snakes. Still, please New Girl writers, give this guy something next season.)
No, the couple in question is, of course, Nick and Jess. The two friends continued to do their delicate dance around their feelings for one another because they know, deep down, this is it. When they get together, there is no turning back. (Something the New Girl writers are acutely aware of, too.) That's why Nick is going back to Caroline and why Jess isn't being supportive of it. But the pair had to come face-to-face with something scary when they searched for Nick's keys in the dark: An actual wolf. The moment was a blissful mix of physical comedy (Zooey Deschanel's impression of the Road Runner to scare off the animal with "meep meep"s was one of the funniest things from this entire season) and dramatic self-realization. Jess and Nick realized they needed each other in their lives and they needed to let each other go. But not because they don't need each other, but because they need to do this dance a little bit longer. (By the way, if the line "You know why I'm going to be okay? Because I met you" didn't totally gut you, I'm going to have to White Fang you.)
When the sun came up, much to the delight of Winston, and the keys were "found," much to the delight of everyone, they drove out of the desert and back to their new reality. The entire gang, Jess included, dropped Nick off at his new digs. Winston embraced him in guy-approved arm punch farewell, while Schmidt went for a full-on smooch. ("Unacceptable!" Nick told him.) And Jess, well she shared a sad-eyed farewell with her friend. The two couldn't even bring themselves to hug. And perhaps it was that moment that lingered on Nick when he came into his new apartment with Caroline waiting to start this whole thing over from the start, as if nothing had ever happened before. Or perhaps Nick had a Homer Simpson-like desert epiphany with the wolf and realized he deserved something more, but whatever it was it finally gave Nick the clarity he's been so desperately seeking. He drove himself right back to the loft and surprised everyone with his own re-entry music (the aforementioned AC/DC classic), to which they all did a happy dance. Well, except for Neil. Sorry Neil.
Sure, the "cliffhanger" may have been Schmidt and Cece (I sincerely hope those two crazy kids work it out) but upon his return Nick flashed Jess a smile that said more than words ever could about these two and their future. Not to mention forever solidifying Jake Johnson as a bona fide TV crush. New Girl fans couldn't help but do their own happy dance, too.
Here now, the other best lines and moments from "See Ya":
- Nick's exterminator solution: A creepy doll rigged to hold a hammer over a mouse hole.
- Jess' feelings on Nick's exterminator: "He's not fooling anyone. Just because he's a snappy dresser, you think the mice don't see the hammer? Mice come from all over the building to laugh."
- "I took my fair share of rubber bands, so I don't want to hear about it. In my room, there's a guinea pig that I said I would bury... so please deal with it"- Nick, explaining the corpse in his room upon moving out.
- Neil's "I Like To Move In, Move In" ditty. (Anyone else hopes he at least moves into a different apartment in the building?)
- Jess' way of telling the guys she's in the bathroom is to ring a bell.
- "Fresh-pressed linens" is Schmidt's idea of dirty talk.
- "I loved the way he smelled" - Remy, about Nick.
- Schmidt watching Cece's sexy soldier photo shoot: "What is this? Am I supposed to want to buy a missile? Just pounding the drum of war! Did no one listen to Eisenhower?"
- "I'm worried about Schmidt, he's a Jew in the desert"- Winston, delivering his funniest line of the season.
- "There's friggin' fire ants everywhere!" - Schmidt, a Jew in the desert.
- Schmidt "stress eating" meat.
- Schmidt pronouncing "wolf" as "woof."
- "Doesn't he have somewhere to be?" Nick, about the woof.
- Nick and Jess' behavior around the wolf, including Jess' howl to scare him off and Nick putting up his arms up as though he was being mugged by the animal. ("No disrespect!")
- "Look how pronounced Nick's couch hole got. All this time, we thought he was just sitting here, drinking beer and complaining. He was making something"- Jess, looking at Nick's butt groove.
What did you think of the Season One finale of New Girl? Did you want Nick and Jess to kiss or are you glad the show held off? Will Schmidt and Cece work it out? Sound off in the comments section!
[Photo credit: Fox]