Pop quiz, hot shot: There's a sensible Day sister. But which one is it? Is it law-abiding schoolteacher Jess? Or Abby, who, as implied by one of tonight's New Girl quotes, is a felon who can't legally vote? Who do you pick?
What do you do??
If you're anything like me, you answered that question wrong - because, in a move that confused everyone (including Abby herself), Abby Day revealed herself to be the more together Day lady in New Girl Season 3 Episode 18.
Reasoning with Jess about her troubled reasons for wanting to shack up with Nick, and moving back to Oregon in order to get her act together, Abby was a regular competent problem solver, a classic older sister, and someone you'd never guess was recently starting jail fights for fun.
It was a good, if predictable, note for Abby to go out on.
The culmination of a three-episode arc that included New Girl Season 3 Episode 16 and New Girl Season 3 Episode 17, this half-hour brought few shocks - I mean, who actually thought Abby was sticking around Loft City to become a permanent bad influence on Schmidt? - but many satisfactions, and a few insights into the weird but well-oiled machine that is the Nick-Jess romance (and perhaps romance itself).
In Nick and Jess, New Girl presents perhaps the most reasonable, low-drama love match depicted on prime-time TV.
Ross and Rachel they're not, and the low stakes of this episode - does it really matter that much if you move your stuff into a room across the hallway from your old room, really? - brought that all the more delightfully home.
Nick and Jess aren't fun to watch because you're a distraction from our hum-drum love lives; they're fun to watch because they ARE our hum-drum love lives, and they help us realize how interesting our little dramas really are.
Is real love about breezing through certain relationship milestones in a timely and dramatic manner? Or is it about being comfortable with each other?
Nick and Jess come down firmly on the latter, a side thoroughly unfashionable for a network sitcom universe where the How I Met Your Mother crew seemed to be proposing to some new stranger every 45 minutes or so for a few years there.
And I love How I Met Your Mother! But New Girl is about the thrills and pleasures of being kind of regular, of finding happiness and excitement in the tiny, day-to-day triumphs of regular love and work and friendship. Even when New Girl detaches from reality a bit (c'mon, Abby totally would have gotten arrested for sitting on that car in New Girl Season 3 Episode 17), it's only in service of proving that the lives we have right under our nose:
The friends we love, the talents and strength we already have, are better and more exciting than any sitcom wackiness we could possibly brew up, if only we'd pay attention to them.
As it rounds the corner towards the season finale, I have to wonder - is New Girl Season 3 the greatest-ever small screen celebration of how funny and compelling our regular lives already are? Perhaps I'll leave that one for Abby Day to decide. But I know I can think of few shows that make me feel more comfortable about my own life than Jess and Co.
Is the secret to lasting love never changing in front of a partner? Is is never daring to wear a male nightgown in front of your girlfriend? Or admitting your need to sing "The Trolley Song" to your boyfriend? And if, so:
Will Nick and Jess make it in a single room?