6:30pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'New Girl' Season Finale Decides the Future of Nick and Jess
What happens when you relieve the romantic tension in a TV series just two seasons into a successful run? New Girl navigates those tricky waters this fall after Tuesday's finale settled the months-long question of how far leads Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) would take their relationship. For those who've yet to watch, spoilers follow.
Kicking off the midseason with an unexpected kiss, the New Girl duo finally sealed the deal two weeks ago, dealing with the ramifications of their romp in the sack in the penultimate episode. And while doubt and several awkward misunderstandings nearly derailed their romantic trajectory, they ended the season driving off together after making a decision to be more than just roommates. It's a decision creator and ep Liz Meriwether came after much deliberation, though they had little interest in milking it with a cliffhanger.
STORY: 'New Girl' Creator Liz Meriwether Talks Flashbacks, Finales and Fornication
"It's really hard to figure out where to leave it, and what's going to complete the season and also leave things open going forward," Meriwether tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I think where we left it, we did what we wanted, but there were many, many, many discussions in the writers room and some very passionate arguments about where [to take] their relationship."
"Elaine's Big Day," which also saw Cece (Hannah Simone) dump Shivrang (Satya Bhabha) at the altar just before he ran off with Elaine (guest Taylor Swift), very nearly left the Nick and Jess story up in the air. Instead, barring any depressing flash forward, the series is posed to resume in the fall with the once will-they-won't-they couple in full-blown relationship.
Two characters that did not get together were Cece and Schmidt (Max Greenfield). Despite his trying to sabotage her nuptials, and her finally coming a year after he broke it off, Schmidt fled the scene when asked to choose between Cece other ex Elizabeth (Merritt Wever).
Winston (Lamorne Morris), who spent most of the episode ducking a badger in the wedding venue's vents, left things off at the bar while his roommates ran to and from romantic attachment. It's a far cry from the freshman ender, which ended with the foursome dancing to the same song in their respective bedrooms.
"It felt like we were in a completely different area at the end of this season," says Meriwether. "I think the finale of season one was a celebration that all of these people had become friends. They were family. And this season has been about these relationships -- and pranks for Winston. We knew we had to end this season on the relationships, which is good. You can see the show has grown and changed. The characters have more going on."
Viewers will have a few months to let the events of New Girl's game-change finale set in before the Fox comedy picks up with a decidedly different dynamic in the fall.