If season one of New Girl was the Year of Schmidt, season two’s been the Year of Nick, a trend that seems to continue for the first half of ‘Tinfinity’, named after the celebration of Nick and Schmidt’s 10th anniversary as room mates. But as the party begins, it begins to shift its focus to Schmidt, bringing a character that had been floating a bit back to the ground in a beautiful conclusion. Despite two sub-plots that don’t really function that well, they catalyze moving scenes between the two “equals”, some of the best material so far this season.
Sitting on the fringes of the Nick/Schmidt material are some important – but largely lifeless – secondary plots. I was hoping Jess chasing Jax around would lead to something more between her and Nick – for the most part, Nick doesn’t really seem to care, and never interacts with the football player. An odd choice, yes, but necessary to relegate Jess and Nick to the background for the episode, distracting Jess to avoid dealing with the fallout of the last two episodes – material surely to return at the season’s conclusion.
It also serves another important purpose: it lets the second half of the episode dedicated to Schmidt, swallowing a massive reality pill as CeCe got engaged right in front of him (to him and Nick’s anniversary toast sequence, no less). A couple scenes before, Nick asked Schmidt why he thought he was so much better than him. Schmidt didn’t have to say it, but we all know: he’s the guy with the income, the career, and the plan for his life… or at least he thought. Turns out his dreams to win CeCe back were just that -as he’s trying to leave the party, he tells Nick “It’s just disappointing when things don’t work out they way they want.”
Many origin stories on comedies tend to be silly – but the foundation Nick and Schmidt’s friendship is built on is meaningful. They were two losers who bonded over their loser-ness, spending nights in their college dorm room becoming best friends and making jokes about not having sex. Although a lot can change in ten years (and has, as Schmidt points out), there IS a reason they continue to have silly celebrations and coordinate weird parties to share it with everyone: it’s important to both of them, not only a reminder of who they once were, but how important that friendship is to the people they’ve become.
That moment outside the party – and the scene in the hot air balloon that follows – grounds an otherwise silly episode of Winston running around making faces, CeCe getting engaged for no apparent reason, and the emotional, divorced, ‘intense’ athlete that declares his love for Jess the day they meet. But what it culminates in is some of the strongest ‘bro’ related material New Girl‘s done, which makes it a lot easier to forgive.
– Jess when Jax is confessing his love: “I was framed.”
– In a typical display of his masculinity, Schmidt is furiously emailing his florist the morning of the party.
– Nick: “Garbage – is what the nursing home said about my mattress.”