Season finale review: ‘New Girl’ – ‘See Ya’

A review of the “New Girl” season finale coming up just as soon as I have a subscription to Cricket and a lot of PDFs…

I interviewed “New Girl” creator Liz Meriwether to talk about the events of the finale and about the season as a whole. At one point, while discussing Schmidt, she admitted that his transformation into a laid-back hippie drummer in “Control” happened much too quickly, and should have been the subject of a story arc rather than squeezed into an episode.

“See Ya” unfortunately suffers from a similar problem, as it tries to race through an awful lot of plot – Nick moving out of the apartment, and then back in, a search for a new roommate that leads them to Thomas Lennon, a fake Schmidt/Cece breakup and then a real one – in the course of 20 or so minutes, while also leaving time for the gang to just hang out in the desert and listen to Nick’s favorite ’90s alternative songs. I admire ambition, but this is a case where nearly every story suffers from not enough time to do it right.

I feel like there’s an entire episode – or, at least, a prominent B-story – in the search for a new roommate, and in seeing how the new guy fits into the loft. Instead, all we ever met was Lennon’s creepy Neil, and while the scene was a nice mirror of Jess’ own interview back in the pilot (down to a retreat to the bathroom to debate it), it was rushed, and Lennon never got much to do. (Meriwether said Lennon had some good runs that wound up on the cutting room floor.) Nick returns after giving up on the Caroline thing and simply takes his room back without comment, leaving Neil to sit meekly on the couch while Nick, Jess and Schmidt each solo dance to AC/DC.

Similarly, Schmidt deciding that Cece could never be happy with a guy like him seemed to come out of nowhere. I’m not opposed to the idea of them splitting up for a while, even though their relationship was one of the key elements to the show’s second-half surge, and Meriwether offered a not-unconvincing rationale for it when we talked. But the way it played out on screen felt like Meriwether and the other writers had the inevitable silly freakout about how happy couples aren’t funny and hit the eject button the second that Schmidt and Cece started getting along. This needed at least a few episodes to ramp up to it, though I did like that Cece completely saw through his attempt to “White Fang” her. (Also, Schmidt consistently pronouncing “wolf” as “woof” as amusing.)

There were a lot of good individual jokes (Winston liking Neil because “He looks like he’d let me give him a haircut,” the “How Bizarre” sequence again proving the axiom that funny dancing is funny, Jess turning into both a road runner and a coyote), and I do enjoy watching these five people hang out. I just think it was 20 pounds of plot for a 7 pound bag.

And that’s hopefully not the kind of thing Meriwether and company try to do much of next season. They’ve figured out the strengths of their show and their ensemble (even Winston is pretty close to being there), and as good as the back half of this season was, I’d like to think there’s room for even more improvement when everyone returns from hiatus rested, relaxed, and with 24 episodes’ worth of research to lean on.

What did everybody else think?