Critic's Notebook: 'New Girl' Season 6 Finale Should End the Series

This probably won't be the end of Nick and Jess and the 'New Girl' gang, but perhaps it should be.
Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Tuesday (April 4) night's sixth-season finale of New Girl was fine. 

It was an above average episode of a show that has been dogged by inconsistency for a long time and probably particularly this season, taking us to some mighty predictable places in ways that felt somewhat earned. That's probably all I ask from New Girl at this point.

The New Girl season finale also probably should be the series finale.

Per creator Liz Meriwether's interview with The Hollywood Reporter, it doesn't sound like it's going to be. 

Get ready for spoilers.

This isn't me calling on Fox to cancel a show that I know still has a legion/handful of devoted fans and therefore is more popular than most of Fox's struggling live-action comedies. It just happens that this is a fine and solid resting place for all of the show's characters.

Winston (Lamorne Morris) and Aly (Nasim Pedrad) are living together and Winston even called his father, the first step in re-establishing that relationship, even if Winston made it clear that his cat Ferguson has no desire for reconciliation. 

Cece (Hannah Simone) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) are expecting a child and Schmidt even used his first name, "Winston," for the second consecutive episode, proving that he's growing up and owning his new mature identity. 

And Nick (Jake Johnson) and Jess (Zooey Deschanel) kissed in an elevator, continuing the importance of elevators in their intimacy dating back to the second season. With Schmidt's help, Nick realized that he's loved Jess since he first laid eyes on her, after Jess realized last week that she was in love with their best friend. 

So now they're in love. Awww. OK. Time for everybody to move on.

Maybe it's just that I don't want to do Nick-n-Jess for a third time, because the show didn't do very well with them as a couple either of the first two times. Nick and Jess work better as a flirtation and a yearning than as a coupling, which isn't something that's disconnected from the way relationships sometimes work in the real world. I've just never thought the New Girl writers saw it as teasing the audience toward a doomed relationship. The viewers who ship Nick and Jess don't ship their trainwreck. They legitimately want those crazy kids to be happy together forever, just like fans of The Pepperwood Chronicles want Pepperwood and Jessica Knight to be happy together forever. So either this is a third tease of viewers that will be followed by a third inevitable breakup and a mob of 13 sad people marching on the Fox Lot with pitchforks, or else Nick and Jess are now together forever and the writers have figured out a way for them not to be boring as a couple, which I'm skeptical of. Dynamic-wise, Nick and Jess have never been good comedy together, and if the writers have just surrendered to that, I'm happy to let them be happy off my TV screen. That's why so many romantic comedies end with a kiss. 

[UPDATE/CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: It's more than possible that this is only the second time Nick and Jess have been fully coupled on New Girl. The number of times the show has teased or hinted in their direction, both before and after their one extended coupling, is countless. So this might really only be Nick-n-Jess II, or it might be Nick-n-Jess XXII. The producers have either really tried the couple once, or they've tried in the direction of the couple several dozen times. Your interpretation may vary.]

Otherwise, the writers are just going to stumble along with Nick and Jess as a conventional sitcom couple. So maybe we'll get a proposal for a seventh season midseason finale and then a wedding as a series finale, which would make it seem like Nick and Jess' nuptials were the "solution" to the entire series, which is dumb. Making Nick and Jess into one of those TV pairs who celebrate milestones every sweeps period is such a sad fate for a series that once at least implied it wanted to be something better than that.

Plus, Cece and Schmidt are already that couple for New Girl. I liked the confused lines of communication in which Jess and then Aly and Winston and Schmidt all learned about Cece's pregnancy before Cece did. Then Schmidt telling Cece in a living room full of flowers was as decent a way of doing that kind of thing as one could hope for, because Greenfield and Simone both played it very sweetly. But now they're locked into sitcom relationship scheduling. That baby's gonna be born either at midseason or in the seventh-season finale, so we're going to be inevitably stuck with a finale that's pregnant Cece preparing for Jess' wedding and going into labor seconds before Rob Reiner walks down the aisle with Jess. So Nick and Jess say their vows in Cece's hospital room after Cece has a baby and the doctor points at Cece's infant and says, "So who's that girl?" and Cece smiles at her friends and says, "It's Jess!" and credits roll. 

New Girl doesn't want to be that show, does it? 

I have no interest in The Happy Jess & Nick Show. I'm not opposed to a Cece & Schmidt and Baby Makes Three series, because Schmidt-as-father ought to be comedically fruitful. I just don't want to wait a year to get there. 

Time jumps have become a cliche in and of themselves, but if a seventh-season premiere began with Cece in labor and Nick and Jess having already broken up again and not being willing to be in the delivery room at the same time, I might accept that — except then the seventh season would be all about Nick and Jess getting back together and who needs that?

Really, the only one of the three main New Girl storylines that I'd be happy to keep following directly from here is Winston and Aly. I would watch a spinoff sitcom about a pair of Los Angeles cops living together and in love, especially since Lamorne Morris has been an absolute warrior on New Girl, shaping a jumble of contradictions into a character, and Nasim Pedrad is eternally underrated. Throw in the unexpected arrival of Winston's cop dad (comic character actor TBD, but think Laurence Fishburne on Black-ish) and reliable hijinks with Ferguson the Cat and that's a good show. How about Wesley Snipes as Winston's dad? Remember when Wesley Snipes was funny? He could be funny again and it would be unexpected! I like the idea that Winston's dad is this badass police legend and he could ask for reassignment to be in the same precinct as his son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law and then you'd get a workplace element. Maybe Schmidt and Cece can periodically make appearances to update us on Schmidt's befuddlement with parenting. Nobody really needs to mention Nick and Jess, and we'll just assume that they've overcome their incompatibility to be blissfully content.

All I'm saying is: This is a fine place to end New Girl, all callbacks to the pilot and to previous finales and whatnot. Why spoil it?

TV does not work according to my timetable. Expect a renewal by the time you've finished reading this story.

comments powered by Disqus