New Girl, Season 2, Episode 25: “Elaine’s Big Day”
Written by Brett Baer & Dave Finkel
Directed by Christian Magalhᾶes & Bob Snow
Airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on FOX
It’s been a big year already for TV comedy weddings, Parks and Recreation, Happy Endings, The Office, How I Met Your Mother (kind of), and even Community with its marriage/graduation mashup. And last night it was time for New Girl to take a stab at nuptials with the doomed-from-the-start ceremony between Cece and Shivrang.
What everyone really wants to see, however, is the conflict between Nick and Jess. Since Jess’ father Bob (Rob Reiner) arrived, things have been pretty tough for our quirky and adorable couple. With Cece’s wedding, and with it being the finale, Nick has one final chance to prove he can be a decent human being and not cause trouble (at least for a day). This idea is soon put to rest when Schmidt accidentally walks in on Cece and, after an “eye conversation”, decides to sabotage the wedding. To be fair he is completely right about her not wanting to get married, but the series of sabotages are really over the top and, not to mention, dangerous! (But danger is Schmidt’s theme, remember?) When Schmidt gives Winston the go-ahead to go “full-on crazy”, things go from bad to worse, starting with the air horn/horse prank and later the outrageously funnily timed interlude of Rednex’s “Cotton-Eyed Joe” as Cece walks down the aisle. I’ve got to admit, this takes the viewer completely by surprise and I couldn’t quite believe what I was watching. It wouldn’t be a New Girl episode without a hilarious flashback and this week’s one is outstanding. We see Nick fist-pumping to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and Jess sitting with him in the car. As he continues to freak out she says: “Why do you need me for this?”.
If anything good comes from these pranks, it is Schmidt explaining to Jess how Nick had tried to stay out of trouble to impress her. While this season hasn’t focused much on growing Nick’s character, the finale does an excellent job of redeeming some of his childlike qualities. The pranks and the whole sabotage feel a little ridiculous but the underlying conflict between Nick and Jess this week is very, very well done. Moving past the fact that Nick, Jess, and Winston end up in the air ducts in the first place (again I couldn’t help but think of The Simpsons here), the episode takes an interesting turn when it appears they have given up on their budding relationship. Nick admits he isn’t a healthy person, moments before simultaneously and successfully ruining Cece’s wedding. There are a couple of excellent cuts here, where Bob and Nick exchange looks. It would be stupid for Nick and Jess to give up now and also extremely frustrating for the audience but luckily they manage to resolve their issues in a heartwarming scene. Jess states she doesn’t “want to give up on this, even if [they] don’t know what it is”, they kiss, and Nick whisks her away, leaving the audience swooning. It is also a great touch having Winston be the one to push Nick in the right direction after referencing Nick’s father. In the last few episodes Winston has grown annoying and seems to be serving very little purpose, but this wins us back.
The actual collapse of the wedding is the most disappointing and weakest aspect of the finale. Revealing Taylor Swift as the guest star would have been a good surprise if we didn’t already know she was going to be in the finale. Not only is Taylor Swift extremely annoying anyway, but her cameo really dampens Cece’s own declaration and ruins it a little, because we have also been waiting a long time for this. It was great to see Cece finally come forward with her feelings for Schmidt and obviously this is a matter best left for the next season, but the cliffhanger is extremely poorly executed. When confronted by both his love interests demanding he choose one of them, he merely runs away, providing a weak and not in the slightest bit amusing cliffhanger.
Both finales of New Girl and The Mindy Project are all about making big decisions, with (one of) the will-they-won’t-they couples having other partners. The only difference is The Mindy Project perfected their season finale cliffhanger and New Girl didn’t.
Thanks for reading this season; both The Mindy Project and New Girl will return for the 2013-14 season!