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
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.