Sorry for the unannounced hiatus from these posts. I was all set to start writing when I suffered a bout of narcolepsy…or just couldn’t stay awake any longer after too many days of staying up too late to write.
Sometimes emotional moments catch you off guard. They’re the ones that leave you shaking your head as the tears form in your eyes, wondering how a show or an actor can manage to surprise you after you thought you’d seen it all from the world of television.
The ending of this season’s finale of New Girl caught me off guard, and that seems fitting for a show whose best moments have come when I didn’t expect them. After the way the finale had built to Nick and Jess deciding to call off their budding relationship, I expected the finale to end with tension and angst in order to create suspense going into this coming season. Much to my pleasant surprise, however, the season ended on an incredibly happy and hopeful note, with smiles, laughter, and one hell of a kiss.
While so much of New Girl works on an emotional level because of the complexity of Jake Johnson’s performance, this scene works because of Zooey Deschanel. I love her vulnerability at the start of this scene because it feels so genuine. Her eyes are red, her nose is red, and her voice sounds like she’s been crying ever since she walked away from Nick earlier in the episode. Those little details may not seem like much, but added together they make her emotional investment in this man and this potential relationship so subtly powerful. At this point in the season, we knew how much Nick loved Jess, so it was such a gorgeous moment to finally see how much Jess loved Nick when her voice broke as she asked him to “un-call it.”
The beginning of this scene may be emotional because it’s such a realistic depiction of the vulnerability that comes with loving someone, but the end of this scene gets the tears flowing for me because it’s such a realistic depiction of the happiness that comes from loving someone. The sound of Nick’s confident steps towards Jess is such a perfect touch—it makes my heart race in anticipation. And then he kisses her in that way only Nick Miller can kiss her, and the sheer happiness she feels with him causes her to laugh in one of the sweetest, most honest moments of love I’ve seen on television in a long time.
That’s what love is; it’s happiness. It’s someone who makes you smile, someone who makes you laugh. This is one of those scenes where understanding the characters and their journeys makes a scene even more emotionally resonant. Jess Day loves to be happy—she likes happy things like singing and dancing and polka dots. And Nick Miller has trouble finding and holding on to happiness—he’s grumpy and cynical and thinks people are the worst. So it’s a beautiful, surprisingly emotional thing to see these two people find each other and make each other this happy.
Love doesn’t always have to be dramatic and angst-ridden. It should be something that brings you joy. The same can be said for TV shows. New Girl brings me joy, and I’m so happy it chose to end such a great season on such a joyful note.