New Girl: A surprise birthday


The central story line in this week’s “Birthday” episode was the surprise party Nick set up for Jess, but subplots involving the supporting characters are fantastic. Tack on a satisfying ending, inside of a movie theater, and “New Girl” was as good as it has been in a while.

Pitting Winston and Coach against each other, and then having them end as buddies seems like such an obvious thing to do now that creator Elizabeth Meriwether opened up their stories this week and entered them into a bake off. Thank goodness. I spent last week’s recap discussing Damon Wayans Jr.’s Coach character and earlier this season I talked about how Winston doesn’t get enough play. This week, that changed.

“I’m going to make a cake so moist that women are going to be like, ‘Ew, moist, I hate that word,’ and I’ll be like, ‘Just taste the cake,’ and they’ll be like, “Oh that’s so moist!” Coach’s dialogue, plus the fact that he went over the top on party decorations, made me laugh out loud this week. I feel like he’s finally coming into his own.

Winston and Coach combine for the best scene of the episode, when Jess comes home sobbing from Griffith Park and the bakers need to tag team to clean out the kitchen and living room of all the decorations and balloons, while she lays crying on the couch. It’s such a challenge and it’s so funny.

Meriwether also writes Schmidt and Cece back into a story together, saving them both from complete irrelevancy this season. Schmidt keeps and eye on Cece to make sure she doesn’t burn down the bar. I love that she thinks Absinthe is in an Old Fashioned.

The ending was cute. It’s just what the doctor ordered for Jess, who’s used to spending her birthday at the movies, by herself, to avoid disappointment. This episode was about bringing everyone back together — even Jess’ parents, Bearclaw, Sadie, etc., all in the dedicated birthday video. Most importantly, it brings out the best in Winston and Coach, and gives Schmidt and Cece new life.


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