Title Big News
Two-Sentence Summary Jess and Nick each try to make the other believe they’re doing okay the day after their breakup. However, their emotions get the best of them during a celebration of Winston’s acceptance into the police academy.
Favorite Line “Well, this just in: The dress code for Winston’s banquet tonight is…optional.” (Schmidt)
My Thoughts I can’t lie; I’m struggling with New Girl right now. I wanted to enjoy “Big News,” and there were definitely some parts of it that entertained me and charmed me. I loved Cece being a genuinely good friend to Jess when she needed her the most. I loved the entire concept of the “Honey Roast,” including Winston’s white tuxedo. I loved Coach having to greet everyone with a hug, a kiss, and a formal bow because he had to keep Nick and Jess’s secret. Heck, I even loved the realistically awkward morning-after-breakup moments between Nick and Jess.
I applaud the New Girl cast for always selling the hell out whatever they’re given, and this is especially true for Jake Johnson and Zooey Deschanel. But I’m not sure I can pretend to like what they’re being given right now, and it’s affecting my overall enjoyment of the show in a pretty major way.
I know this is television— it’s fiction—so technically everything is contrived; everything is a way for the writers to get from Point A to Point B. The problem with New Girl right now is—for a show that seems to pride itself on going with the flow and not having an overarching plan—everything feels contrived; it feels forced. This episode was supposed to remind us, especially in that very sweet final scene, that Nick and Jess have a very loving and supportive friendship. But it felt so strange to me to watch two people who are heartbroken over losing each other help each other through their own relationship’s demise. If being apart was really causing them that much pain, then why go through with it at all? The answer: Because the writers wanted some drama, but they don’t have a plan for how to work through that drama now that they’ve created it.
If their breakup was supposed to have come about because they both know they have a lot of growing up to do, I could understand it. Instead, we were once again reminded that they broke up because they supposedly have nothing in common, which continues to feel all kinds of wrong. If you’re going to have the main couple of your show break up but spend the entirety of the next episode lamenting that breakup, you better have a good reason for it to have happened. Otherwise, you’ll have an audience who’s just sitting there wondering why Nick and Jess are apart if they’re both equally miserable about it and had a flimsy reason to break up in the first place.
I’ve never been someone who believed a Nick/Jess plot dragged down an episode before this one, but that’s exactly what happened in “Big News.” Winston’s big moment was completely overshadowed by Nick/Jess angst, and I hope that is the only time this happens. I’m also getting a little tired of the fact that every episode seems to feature Nick and/or Jess getting drunk or being under the influence of something. I know that’s blasphemy for some fans (and yes, drunk Nick can be very funny)—and I’m no teetotaler—but it’s getting to be a little excessive; it’s starting to feel like a fallback plan. It’s losing its humor from being relied on too much in both the comedic elements and general plot of the show.
Overall, I really liked what was going on with the supporting cast in “Big News,” but, for the first time, I thought Nick and Jess brought them down. I didn’t feel the sympathy for them that the show wanted me to feel. I think part of that comes from not believing the in-show reasons for their breakup, and I think another part comes from knowing that this can only end in two ways:
1.) Nick and Jess stay broken up
2.) Nick and Jess get back together
Option 1 would make me miserable as a viewer. And Option 2 makes everything that happens before then feel like a waiting game until the inevitable reunion. I really wish the show would have taken the risk of showing this couple working through their issues together because solid, happy relationships don’t have to be boring. But do you know what is boring? Watching tired sitcom clichés play out on a television show that I thought was above them.