After an episode like “Mars Landing,” the New Girl writing team needed to show that there was a point to breaking Nick and Jess up, that it wouldn’t shift the dynamic of the series in an uncontrollably negative way. Well, the best way that the New Girl writers could assuage any fears that I possessed was producing an episode as funny, enjoyable, and touching as “Big News.”
“Big News” works for several reasons but the main one is that it’s an episode that focuses on the entire New Girl group. Nick, Jess, Schmidt, Coach, Cece, and Winston all get their chance to shine and converge on the screen together by the end of “Big News,” as the gang unites at the loft to celebrate Winston’s acceptance into the police academy with a “honey roast,” an invention of Winston’s that is essentially a roast except you say “cute and nice things” about the person. The group setting ensures that New Girl provides allows each character to have a hilarious moment, whether it’s Coach watching Winston yawn, Jess dressing up like Ferguson by wearing a cat costume, or Nick MC-ing the entire thing, wearing sunglasses because he can’t keeps his eyes straight since he’s so high from Schmidt’s anti-anxiety medication.
However, the best parts of “Big News” aren’t the numerous funny moments that had me gasping for air because I was laughing so hard. No, as always, the thing that New Girl just as well as the comedy (if not better sometimes) is the heartfelt human moments, and “Big News” offers many great ones.
Specifically, the end of the episode is a true highlight in two ways. First, Winston discovers the truth about Jess and Nick (who have been hiding their breakup from him so that they do not ruin his special day) and immediately tells them that they are more important than anything involving him, saying that “I’m here for whatever you need.” It’s a great moment where New Girl shows that Winston, the series’ most bizarre character who is rarely treated as more than a punchline, is probably the best, most caring person in the entire group, despite the fact the he gets none of this thought and consideration in return. The tenderness and sweetness of his promise to help his friends never feels too sappy because of the backdrop of all the crazy weirdness that surrounds him, from his white suit to his “prominent chair”; it also works together to create the best scene possible.
While the Winston scene is fantastic, it’s the two Nick and Jess moments at the end of the episode that really elevate “Big News” into the upper echelon of New Girl episodes. The two of them are only honest with each other about how much their breakup is tearing them apart because Nick is on so many of Schmidt’s painkillers and because Jess has drank copious amounts of wine, and their inebriated states, Nick’s twitching eye and Jess’s slurred speech, undercut the seriousness of their conversation. Here are two people who do not want to hurt one another anymore but still love each too much to truly let go, and New Girl allows both the comedy and honesty of the scene to illustrate this.
Even more spectacular than the pair’s confession to one another is the scene shared between Nick and Jess at the end tag of the episode. Jess, dealing with the full ramifications of their breakup, resets to her default Dirty Dancing-watching mode from the pilot, but this time, instead of cracking jokes about her, Nick calls her up to see how she is doing. The two of them discuss how they’re not really sure how to handle their relationship now, how it’s weird and it’s scary, and in a moment that’s better than any of the dialogue uttered before it, Nick tosses out a box of tissues to Jess when he finds out that she’s used all of her other ones up. There’s a real, genuine, and heartfelt compassion in that simple action from Nick, and it shows that while he and Jess are not dating right now, the core of their relationship (their best friendship), still remains.
And if I read way too much into Nick and Jess’s drunken duet of “Hungry Eyes,” as the two of them sing together from separate rooms, I predict that while they may not be together right now, Nick and Jess will be soon. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from New Girl over these past three seasons, it’s that Jessica Day wants someone to sing along with her.
– The opening scene of this episode is pure Nick Miller perfection as he reads the notes he has written on his hands to remind himself that he and Jess are broken up. The last one he reads aloud to himself: “Writing left handed is HARB.”
– Tran returns! He and Nick discuss his break up with Jess, but Nick feels bad because he had to make Tran leave his dance class early. “Oh…the recital was today?”
– Also, the idea of Nick and Tran being war buddies and forming alliances together during an old war is definitely a novel that I would buy and read.
– My favorite small moment from this episode of New Girl: Schmidt’s reaction to Coach’s new, made-up greeting. Schmidt didn’t just go with it; he was downright gleeful while do it and it made laugh so hard.
– Nick Miller calls birds “winged mice” and turtles “shell beavers” and that doesn’t surprise me at all.
– The Winston yawning gag of Coach watching yawn and Jess watching Coach watching Winston yawn was fantastic and probably the best use of a cutaway ever from New Girl.
– “My uncle was on Cops a bunch of times. He didn’t get any residuals though. He’s poor.”
– “Did you take the pills?” “I feel as if I’m of cotton.”
What did everyone else think of last night’s episode of New Girl?
[Photo via Jennifer Clasen/FOX]