New Girl ‘Tomatoes’: I Want That

Peace, Russell. We knew your romance with Jess was ill-fated from the beginning, but I didn’t see it going out with such a whimper. The rest of New Girl‘s story lines didn’t end in such disappointing fashion, however: both Nick and Schmidt got a lot of writer’s love last night, bringing back SchmidtCe (as I will now refer to them) and Caroline, Nick’s ex-girlfriend back into the fold as the engines start to pick up towards the season finale.

We all know where things are heading: Caroline’s return was announced awhile ago, as was the basic outline of the plot of the ‘See Ya’, the season finale – though I’m not here to ruin any surprises. I’m not really sure it was needed for Nick to go all emotional gardener after failing with women, although it plays to the extremist natures of his personality. He’s doing this of course, because everyone else in the group has someone to put their arms around in front of him, and he feels lonely. Predictably, it leads him back into the arms of his ex, which didn’t end well the first time, and is bound to end terribly once again.

It’s kind of sad to see Nick’s character regressing, but New Girl still has other things on its mind for the future, and a Nick & Jess pairing is obviously still in the mix. Why else would so much time be spent on such a heated argument? This avenue is clearly going to be left often, whether it’s going to be explored in the last three episodes or not.

Moving backwards a little bit, I found the fundamental issue in Russell and Jess’s relationship a bit cliched. Them ‘not having a spark’ is a cheap and idealistic way to end a relationship, and I’m not big fans of female characters who define all their relationships on a Richter scale of passion. It feels less what practical 21st century woman would feel like, and more like someone on One Life To Live circa 1978. In all, the episode doesn’t do much with Russell and Jess at all – simply ends it after a few predictably tense scenes with the ex-wife. That makes two disappointing endings to relationships this season (Lizzy Caplan’s character being the first) due to the fact of having prominent guest stars for only a couple episodes.

The other, more important development, is what finally appears to be the beginning of something meaningful between Schmidt and CeCe. Their relationship dynamic since her introduction early in the season has been nothing short of impressive, and the guarded approach CeCe took to her feelings felt natural for a girl used to being banged and dumped by Eurotrash DJ’s countless times. Kudos to her not running away with tears in her eyes when she heard about him fooling around with Nadya, though his broken penis made it much easier to forgive.

‘Tomatoes’ was about characters reaching for what they’re really looking for in a relationship, all of them with mixed results. Schmidt’s long pursuit of CeCe brings some positive light, and the return of Caroline will probably only be a short-term solution for Nick before it gets sour. Winston of course, learned earlier this season there’s such thing as a second chance, a possibility we might see Jess exploring in a few weeks, herself (spoiler alert!)Save for the awkward, cliched Jess/Russell scene and some obvious set-ups for the end of season story arcs, a very solid episode.

Grade: B

Other thoughts/observations:

– Winston gets the short stick story wise yet again, but the show kept him in the loop by unleashing some Winston speeches in his scenes with Nick. Need to see more of Coach and Jess together, though: their bell ensemble feels like it was so long ago.

– Best line of the night? Either Schmidt’s “Cool….. io” or Jess’s “It’s just ripe with plant metaphors.”

– I didn’t talk about CeCe continuing to grow into a strong 5th member of the ensemble. What an improvement over the character we were introduced to way back in September.

– When did Nick’s muscles get so big? I need to go build myself a garden…

What did you think of ‘Tomatoes’? Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below!

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