New Girl Review: A Sweatback With A Secret
Only New Girl could take a situation like the revelation of Schmidt and CeCe’s secret and turn it into a rollicking (that’s right, rollicking) comedy of extremes that had everyone playing off each other like a witty sitcom game of pinball, while still giving each character a chance to shine.
"Secrets" went for the over-the-top absurd style of New Girl that you guys know I love. Winston’s dream about Jess with raccoon hands, CeCe’s roommates and Nick’s list of far-fetched elaborate excuses all had me cracking up. Yet despite the whirlwind of one-liners and great banter, the episode didn’t lose sight of the plot.
It struck a perfect balance between immediate gratification - by stringing laughs throughout - and a larger sense of forward momentum by advancing the plot with the revelations that Nick has the capacity to be a player, and, more importantly, that CeCe actually likes Schmidt.
Watching everyone fall like dominoes as the secret spread was great. Once Winston had revealed it to the weakest link, ol’ Nick "Sweatback" Miller, it was over. Everyone’s reaction to the knowledge was absolutely true to type, and my favorites were Nick, completely disgusted, and Schmidt, cocky and gloating. Of course, the only one whose response really mattered was Jess, and she was not happy.
New Girl could have easily let Jess’ fight with CeCe be entirely about Schmidt, but happily it took the opportunity to deepen Jess and CeCe’s relationship. Jess definitely can’t be the easiest person to be friends with, and her overreaction to CeCe and Schmidt’s fling is clear proof of that. Her judgmental streak led CeCe to stop confiding in her, and Jess is, not surprisingly, unaware of this.
But sometimes you don’t have to tell your good friends something, they just know. Although she can be oblivious, Jess knew CeCe well enough to decipher her true feelings for Schmidt even before CeCe had admitted them to herself. This underlined how close Jess and CeCe really are and, by giving them their own little secret to share, diffused their fight.
While Jess and CeCe were battling it out, Nick and Schmidt bonded over their newly-discovered common ground of serial relationships. I’m loving the way the writers are playing the guys off each other, pairing them up differently each week with one becoming the awkward, albeit important, third wheel. Aided by Schmidt’s lessons on how to be a douchebag, Nick continued to hone his comedic sweet spot of immaturity as he explored the world of college co-eds.
However, the real star of "Secrets" was without question Winston. Last week, I mentioned that I felt Winston was slowly coming into his own just as Schmidt and Nick had done before him, and this week solidified that. His jokes felt like his, rather than something borrowed from Schmidt, and the energy Lamorne Morris brought to his performance was distinctive. In particular, the emphasis he put on his line when he stopped all the arguing in the loft was fantastic. I wish I had gotten his whole Theodore K. Mullins speech for the New Girl quotes page, but I was honestly laughing too hard to type.
I’m enjoying watching New Girl find its rhythm and all the characters hit their stride. Episodes like "Secrets" where New Girl really shows the strength and uniqueness of its voice are why I watch it, and now I can’t wait for next week!
- CeCe’s model roommates are hilarious. More of them, please!
- I thought it was a nice touch that Jess knows Nick well enough to know that his back gets sweaty when he has a secret and it reminded me how far the gang has come since the days when they hardly knew each other.
- Fat Schmidt makes another appearance! There were also bonus appearances of retro Nick and Winston with soul patches and curly hair and retro Jess and CeCe. Apparently CeCe had a blond bob at one point.