TV Time: New Girl 2.24

Title Winston’s Birthday

Two-Sentence Summary The morning after Nick and Jess’s first night together (and the day before Cece’s wedding) is interrupted by the arrival of Jess’s father, who believes Nick to be unworthy of his little girl because he sees too much of himself in the younger man. Meanwhile, Cece deals with an unfortunate henna accident, Schmidt deals with the beginning (or restarting) of a relationship with Elizabeth, and Winston deals with the fact that his friends may have forgotten his birthday.

Favorite Line “You know how much I love to explore space and time!” (Winston)

Episode M.V.P. While I loved both Schmidt and Winston in this episode, I thought it belonged to Jess, Nick, and Bob. Their dynamic and the way it built from comedy to heartbreak felt incredibly natural, just like so much of this season has felt. Jess had a lot to do both physically and emotionally in this episode, and I thought Zooey Deschanel did some of her best work of the season in this half-hour. Nothing she did or said felt forced—from her easy laughter with Nick before the chaos rained down around them to her palpable panic at having to do too many things for too many people while still trying to make her own future a priority, too. While I loved everything Deschanel did in this episode, three moments in particular stood out. The first was her immediate defense of Nick when Bob told her Nick wasn’t good enough for her. I loved that she didn’t even wait a moment before telling her dad that that there’s nothing wrong with Nick. Jess’s feelings about Nick were also a huge part of her monologue to her students about life being messy, which I thought Deschanel delivered with an incredible vulnerability and emotional honesty. You could feel her come to her decision in that moment; yes, things with Nick are messy (she went so far as to call him a mess during their kissing in “Quick Hardening Caulk”), but the messy things are the best things in life—because they’re real. The final Jess moment that really got to me was her reaction to Nick’s breakfast on the roof. For so long, we’ve really watched this relationship through Nick’s eyes; we’ve seen it written all over his face how much he loves her. But this time, we got to see plainly just how much Jess loves him, too. The soft way she looked at him throughout that rooftop scene was perfect. Being in love looks great on Nick, and now we know it looks gorgeous on Jess as well.

Nick and Bob both worked so well in this episode because of Jake Johnson and Rob Reiner’s ability to so effortlessly show the way both of these imperfect men love a woman who they both feel is out of their league. Yes, they were both hysterical in their early scenes in the episode. (Any scene involving Nick screaming like a little girl will make me cry with laughter.) But what really made this episode for me was their sincerity. When Bob told Jess he’s not good enough for his little girl, my heart broke because you could feel the pain of this man who’s spent 30 years trying to be the best man he could be for his daughter but never feeling good enough. And that reflected back on Nick perfectly because you could see how much that hurt Nick—not just being rejected by a father-figure but the confirmation of what he always believed to be true, that he’s not good enough for Jess. Johnson played that moment perfectly; you could see Nick crumble under the weight of those words. I really hope Reiner comes back at least once or twice a season because he fits in with the cast (especially Johnson) like he’s a regular.

Favorite Moment I cry a lot when I watch TV. A LOT. But New Girl had yet to make me actually cry…until the end of this episode. When Jess got Nick’s text, I could feel my heart start beating faster in anticipation because I’d honestly thought they were just going to leave the relationship in a kind of limbo after the confrontation with Bob. But once Jess reached the roof and we saw Nick setting up the same breakfast he made her in the morning (but this time with the flower!), I started to tear up. There was just something so simple and beautiful about that gesture; it just furthered my belief that Nick is the most realistically romantic man on television right now. He may be a mess in every other area of his life, but that action showed that he loves Jess with a clarity and a simple honesty that is anything but messy. After what her father said to them, they both could have taken a step back. But he made her breakfast on the roof, she showed up, and they were both looking at each other like any doubts that could ever exist about them had no place on that rooftop.

Of course, however, this is New Girl, so the moment had to be interrupted, and it had to be by Schmidt (and later Winston). But that interruption proved to be emotional and beautiful in its own right. The last moments of the episode—with Winston, Schmidt, Elizabeth, Nick, and Jess together on the roof—were moments filled with the kind of silly, sentimental, honest, and hopeful energy that has made me love this show since Season One’s “Injured.” This is a show first and foremost about friendships, and I love that the writers and cast never seem to forget that.

A New Girl GIF* For My New Girl Feelings

winston i can't do this

Yes, New Girl is a comedy, but it’s a comedy that stands apart from the rest because it’s one of the most emotionally honest shows on television. That emotion was what made this episode so special. It made me laugh, it made my heart skip a beat (I can’t end this review without mentioning the fact that Nick kissed Jess’s shoulder!), and it made me cry. The best part about it was the fact that, despite putting me through the emotional wringer, this episode never felt emotionally manipulative. It all came from a very genuine place for each character, and that makes me even more excited for next week’s big wedding finale (even though I’m not sure my heart will be able to handle it)!


*I have no talent for GIF-making. Thankfully, I am highly skilled at searching Tumblr for the best GIFs. I take no credit for this beauty. 

8 thoughts on “TV Time: New Girl 2.24

  1. You all just so perfectly encapsulated what made this episode so beautiful and what makes NICK so beautiful as a character in how he loves. I, too, was happy to see Jess’ reaction and her feelings regarding Nick throughout the episode. We see, as the audience, the extent to which Nick loves her but — though I’ve never doubted that she cares deeply for him — it is nice to see some canon confirmation of her feelings.

    (Also, A+ use of the Winston GIF, as that is usually my immediate reaction to this show after an episode ends.)

    I cry quite a bit (at television, movies, life in general, particularly adorable animals), and I actually didn’t cry on my first airing of the episode. But when I went back to re-watch it and listened to the lyrics of the song that played over the end scene? Well, I just started crying. Because how do you keep it together when the lyrics are: “What do you say? / Is this the time? / For one more try / And a happy life?/ What do you say? / Is this unwise? / To think my fears / will not reprise / Can’t get away / It’s a rising tide / Like an hourglass / Running out of time / So what do you say / What will you decide? / It’s a win or lose / on a rolling die.”

    … I kind of just lost it after that point.

    Brava on the write-up because if I could point to the entire article and say “THIS,” I would.

    • Thanks for the very nice comment! That Winston gif has now become my go-to for almost any New Girl moment. And those lyrics are just too beautiful and too perfect. I love the musical choices on this show, and that was one of the best.

  2. I loved this episode! Everything you had to say about Jess and NIck was perfect.

    I’m really interested in Schmidt and Elizabeth’s storyline and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Even if they don’t get back together, I really want her to stick around as Schmidt’s friend.

  3. My favorite moment was right at the beginning of the episode as Nick woke up and reacted to Jess being in his bed. Their quiet, happy, tender moments after waking up together were the most wonderful thing – on a par with the ending of Virgins in showing how they are together – comfortable, still laughing, and looking totally in love… the touch, the shoulder kiss, the pulse checking, the way he stroked her shoulder as they looked so tenderly at each other… If there was any doubt that this was more than sex, more than a one night stand (how anyone could think it would be a one time thing is beyond me) this scene made it so clear that this meant something, a lot, to both of them equally.
    I love that Nick can be so romantic, and that it isn’t out of character, that it’s just another part of his complexity. His interactions with Jess felt very easy. It was nice to see them in their few scenes together without the tension that’s been dominating the last few episodes.
    All of his scenes with Bob were great. I wished someone had pointed out to Bob that no one was talking about getting married – Nick and Jess have lots of time to figure out their mess – their relationship is only just starting. And yes, I think it might be the start of something really amazing (thank you for that Jess!).
    The scene on the roof was delightful. What Bob said obviously got to him, but Nick followed through anyway and made the big romantic gesture and was ready to talk to Jess (- and then Schmidt – argggh! oh well.) I was thinking that it must have taken a lot for Nick to put himself out there and get ready to talk about their relationship, but as I write this I wonder – it didn’t seem like it did. It seemed easy. He looked quite relaxed as he told Jess that this was the breakfast he had wanted to give her that morning. Maybe everything will be easier now. He has shown that he can express his love for other girlfriends once he knows that it is safe. Hopefully he saw the love in Jess’s eyes and knows he is safe with her.
    I’m looking forward to Nick and Jess together as a couple being with their friends – and the show moving back to the focus on friendship. My comments here are all Nick and Jess, all the time, but the thing I have always loved about the show is the way it shows these various friendships. I want Nick and Jess to be together and also best friends and I want shenanigans and crazy fun with the loft mates in Season 3. I’m looking forward to the crazy wild hilarious wedding next week.

    • I love this comment. 😀 You’re completely right when you say that Nick being romantic somehow still manages to feel right for this character who eats chocolate off of candy wrappers found on the ground and gets mad at doors. Nick is someone who feels things intensely, even if he’s not always good at expressing what he feels. But when he feels safe to express his feelings without being judged or taken advantage of—which is the kind of safety we know he feels with Jess—Nick is romantic in such an honest, real way. It’s not about big gestures with him; it’s about small moments of intimacy and openness, and that’s my favorite kind of romance.

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