I’m sad to say last night’s New Girl season finale was disappointing on multiple levels, not only because Taylor Swift’s cameo felt anticlimactic, but because everything seemed so rushed and forced. I wish I didn’t feel that way, because New Girl had some great moments this season, and the episodes leading up to the finale, including the one in which Nick and Jess finally consummated their roomfriendship, were satisfying and funny.
As we’ve been teased about for what seems like years, the finale was all about Cece’s wedding to Shivrang. Schmidt claims he and Cece had an “eye conversation” in which she told him she didn’t want to get married, so he and Winston set out to sabotage (“sabo”) the nuptials. This storyline was problematic for me. While these characters can be really entertaining and charming in their shenanigans, every once in a while they veer too far into immature territory. These people are like 30 years old. They should not be releasing a badger onto a wedding through an air duct. Even though Jess has it all wrong when she accuses Nick of taking part in the scheme in the first place, it is “childish,” and for me it just wasn’t entertaining. I enjoyed the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” references, though. That song really is fist-pumpingly catchy.
This was probably intentional, but it was very frustrating that Cece finally realizes she wants to be with Schmidt just when I’m starting to really like his reunion with Elizabeth. Still, even though it was irritating, this was the only conflict in the episode I could really get behind, mostly because I feel so bad for Elizabeth.
And we should probably talk about what led up to Schmidt’s challenging choice. Cece’s sudden decision that she can’t marry Shivrang felt so rushed and too neat. Plus, there was no conflict surrounding it, because Shivrang immediately runs off with his ex-girlfriend Elaine. Which brings me to that big Taylor Swift cameo. It was a melodramatic scene, and Taylor Swift was melodramatic in it, so it’s hard to really judge her acting ability under normal circumstances, but she wasn’t even the problem. The problem was that it was pointless, because the cameo seemed built for a surprise appearance. It’s not a surprise when you announce she’s going to be on the show weeks in advance and basically market the episode as “The One With Taylor Swift.” If her participation had remained a secret, it could have been a funny moment, but as is it just felt anticlimactic. If her character had played a bigger part in stopping the wedding, it would have made sense to advertise her guest spot. Having her pop up for thirty seconds to tie up loose ends felt like a last-minute insertion to boost ratings.
Finally, we have to talk about Nick and Jess. They go from calling things off to uncalling things in the span of a few minutes. And then they drive off together as a happy couple. It was just too neat and pretty. I like them together, but there were some interesting challenges to their relationship that could have been explored further.
I think the disappointment from this episode runs so deep for me because the show has done a good job making the characters more believable and human this season, instead of just relying on crazy antics. Jess is less of a weirdo and Nick has shown his softer side. Winston is still struggling to find his footing in the series, but it’s gotten better. This finale was a reversion back to wild shenanigans with little to no substance. Maybe the whole episode was just overhyped, but it just didn’t feel right to me. Here’s hoping next season gets back to the good stuff.