Last night was a big episode for New Girl
, when Schmidt and Cece's secret finally blew open and the repercussions for the group were both hilarious and significant. One reason why the episode was so strong was the strong use of the ensemble - everyone had a funny, revealing part to play in the central story that somehow involved all five characters.
Many have complained that Winston is one of the weaker characters on the show, struggling to find a place in the story after replacing Damon Wayans, Jr. in the pilot (who had to leave after Happy Endings
was renewed). But gradually his character has found its footing and this week his presence alongside Schmidt and Nick as one of the guys finally seemed valid. When Schmidt and Nick were lying in bed, reenacting a morning-after scenario, Winston agreeing, "this is one of the weirder things we've done" was the perfect line - he is officially an equal member of the male trio and a roommate of the loft.
- The revelation that Winston had a racy dream about Jess in which she had raccoon hands
- When Winston demonstrated his authority by getting everyone to stop their simultaneous bickering and realize their faults, so that he could enjoy his Sunday cereal.
- The end tag of Winston pestering Cece with questions as to why she is with Schmidt, including "blink twice if he's holding you against your will," "are you working for the government" and "do you have a mole fetish?"
Nick and Schmidt
While Schmidt is usually the douche (though we haven't seen the douche jar in a while) and Nick the "clingy, serial monogamist with terrible metabolism," this week the tables turned with Nick going through a string of one-night encounters with twenty-somethings, but finding himself unable to lie in order to quickly end them. As the expert womanizer, Schmidt shows him his ways ("keep it S.S.V.: short, simple, vague"), while also delighting in the fact that he can now boast about being with Cece to everyone ("Schmidtty really did it this time; I'm having Indian every night"). Overall it was fun seeing two of the funniest characters swap roles.
- "Jew in the couch": Schmidt hiding within the couch to avoid being outed by Jess was comedic gold. Cece's model friend devastated after eating a cookie totally distracted me from his presence underneath the cushions.
- Nick's initial reaction upon learning about Schmidt and Cece -- he looked like he had just swallowed something horrifyingly putrid and his body was forced to shut down.
- The fact that Nick is known as "Sweatback" because even the thought of lying turns his back into a Slip 'N Slide.
- Schmidt's pronunciation of "amateur."
- Nick's "See Cece Run" t-shirt he made for their 10K run, and that being a key moment in Jess and Cece's reconciliation.
It seems Cece has officially become one of the loft gang, instead of a fifth wheel, now that she and Schmidt have formed an ongoing fling (likely to become more), which is good news because her no-nonsense relatability adds a nice counterpoint to Jess' eccentricities. Also, up until this point, it seemed like Cece truly only valued Schmidt for his lovemaking abilities, but her character finally showed some vulnerability, especially in that final scene with Schmidt banning her from the kitchen after her shoddy basil-chopping.
- Her matter-of-fact delivery of comparing her relationship with Schmidt to poison oak.
- Her calling Jess on being judgmental and therefore having to keep secrets from her ("I went to see My Girl with Jessica P before seeing it with you" and owning a motorcycle).
- When Cece realizes she has been in denial and that she perhaps truly does have feelings for Schmidt.
Usually the upbeat silly one, this week Jess got to show a more serious side. Although she doesn't believe in secrets between friends, her idealistic view is clearly being challenged when she learns the three guys have all fantasized about her (forcing her to wear all her winter clothes until she can "deal with it") and that Cece keeps things from her because she is can be critical. It's refreshing seeing Jess in a role that isn't all whimsy, being forced to grow up. She's also able to pull off the more dramatic moments without bringing down the comical mood of the episode.
- Jess' obvious difficulty running the 10K and needing to be carried across the finish line while they're breaking it down.
- Jess realizing that even though she was the last to learn the big secret, and that knowing everyone's secrets inevitably comes with unwanted knowledge, she still ends up learning one last important secret, solidifying her friendship with Cece once again.
All in all, it was a solid episode that balanced the dramatic and humorous qualities well, while giving each character a new place to go. What did you all think? Did you enjoy "Secrets" as much as I did?
(Image courtesy of FOX)