NEW GIRL Fall Finale Debriefing: They got off the plane! (Then got back on.)

Courtesy Fox

Nothing truly tests your mettle like traveling at Christmas time. Especially if it’s traveling after a winter storm completely decimates flight schedules. The gang are all heading out of town for their holidays, but no one gets where they’re going in the way they expect. (Meanwhile, Nels has a little too much déjà vu, but that’s a whole other story.)

After an illicit makeout session in a supply closet, Ryan (Julian Morris) convinces Jess (Zooey Deschanel) to come to England with him for Christmas. She’s worried that they’re skipping “about seven relationship steps” by spending the holiday together at his family’s home, but the appeal of London is too strong, and Jess accepts. (I don’t blame her. I’d be all over it!) She’s probably right that it’s a terrible idea to jump into meeting the parents (overseas!) over Christmas, because nothing brings out the worst in family togetherness like being confined in the same space in the name of duty and tradition, but she and Ryan are also still in the lust phase of their relationship, where everything seems like a great idea.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

She’s not the only one wrestling with her plans. Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) convinces himself that he’s totally fine with skipping out on his family plans in Detroit for a little me-time in Hawaii, which is obviously the opposite of what he really feels. Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece (Hannah Simone) are on the same flight heading to Long Island and New York, respectively. Nick (Jake M. Johnson) and Winston (Lamorne Morris) are going home to Chicago, where they plan to chase tail in their favorite bar. (Winston’s a 6 in Los Angeles, but a 10 in Chicago, so that should help him.) They’re all in varying stages of acceptance of their holiday realities, but a winter storm blows everything up, leaving them stranded at LAX and giving them too much time to think about what is happening.

It also gives them too much time to get into trouble. Jess declares herself chief travel planner and tries to get everyone’s flights rescheduled efficiently — until she butts heads with airline agent Billy Eichner and meets her match. (Ah, the standby list — with great power comes great responsibility.) Schmidt attempts to con his way into the airline lounge in spectacularly bad fashion, while Cece logically just buys them guest passes, much to Schmidt’s bewilderment. (I have to say, this “Sky America” lounge at New Girl’s version of LAX is a hell of a lot nicer than my airline’s lounge at the real LAX, but that’s another ball of wax.) They eventually storm out (or are asked out, depending on your perspective) after a smarmy frequent flyer (guest star Barry Bostwick!) attempts to buy a night with Cece. However, all is not lost: in a sweet moment at the food court, Cece and Schmidt admit that they enjoy themselves with each other: “I like being your friend” is a loaded statement with these two (and, as we’ll see later, with Nick and Jess, too).

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Meanwhile, Winston and Nick get bored, and then wreak havoc amongst the weary travelers and airline staff in their terminal. (The experienced flyer and professional in me winced at their hijinks. It also laughed hysterically, because airports are just that crazy during “irregular operations.” I would love to have Nick and Winston come mess around, because at least it’d be a distraction.) I don’t even know if there was a point to their circus act, and I don’t care, because they were delightful. Winston pretending to breastfeed an imaginary baby? Of course he would. Nick pretending he works there and taking over the gate agent’s terminal to bump everyone off a flight? Why not!

On the other end of the spectrum, Coach keeps fighting people off for charging stations in the airport, so that he can call his niece in Detroit and not feel guilty for missing Christmas with her. (Did they get that right out of a Samsung ad?) I admit I cackled at him walking to a station only to find people basically running their offices out of the electrical ports — including someone with a (piano) keyboard. (I’ve definitely seen some crazy things happen in the name of electronic recharging.)

Jess, not surprisingly, overthinks what this trip to England means and wonders if she’s moving too fast. Then as Ryan texts her pictures of his house and family, she second-guesses whether she’s good enough for him, because it seems like he comes right out of Downton Abbey. (Did anyone else think Ryan was just messing with her and she simply didn’t get the humor? Either that, or the people doing the Photoshop behind the scenes on New Girl really need to step up their game.) After an encounter with a creepy Santa lookalike in the bar, then a heart-to-heart with agent Eichner, Jess decides she can’t go. She’s scared Ryan’s family won’t like her enough as it is, but when Creepy Santa steals the gifts she’d brought with her for them, it’s the final straw.

Since she can’t make Christmas happen for herself, she enlists her new friend to at least spread Christmas cheer to her friends, getting them all seats on their flights to their destinations — and upgraded seats at that! Cece and Schmidt are getting ready to head to New York, and Coach gives in and decides to go home to Detroit to see his family. (Our Chicago-bound duo cracked me up the most, since they were the least likely to have ever flown in such style: “Nick. This is First Class. Act like you’ve been somewhere before.” It isn’t often Winston is the voice of reason.)

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

New Girl is always at its best when the gang bands together to support one of their own, and tonight was a testament to that. Jess and Nick speak on the phone as his flight is getting ready to take off, and when he doesn’t buy her story, she confesses she’s staying in L.A. Nick can read Jess almost better than anyone, and knows she’s not giving herself a fair shot at being happy. (I love this side of Nick.) Just as she’s about to get into a cab to head back to the loft, she’s confronted with all five of her friends waiting for her at the curb, determined to get her on that flight. (Everyone got off the plane! Please tell me I’m not the only one who had Friends flashbacks?) She resists, but they convince her they can make it happen — although really, if her flight was already boarding, there’s no way she’d make it through security in time, but this is the Christmas magic of Hollywood, people. (We should all be so lucky.)

After a hilarious mad dash through the airport, she makes her flight, but not before stalling to thank and hug her friends. (Aw.) Everyone makes their flights, though maybe not as they anticipated, but that’s life, isn’t it? We’re left to believe they’re all going to be all right. That is, until Jess gets to London only to find out Ryan flew back to L.A. to be with her. (“It’s okay! I’ll be right back! I’ll see you in about seventeen hours!” If only it were so easy!) Ah, yet another wrinkle in holiday traveling, but what good romantic comedy doesn’t throw in a little misunderstanding to make the season bright?

Bottle episodes like these often let the show’s cast shine, and I’m so glad we got to close out 2014 with our favorite loftmates showing how much they care for one another, because that’s the heart of the show. This fall finale might not have fireworks, but it has the warm fuzzies, and that’s enough for me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find some Christmas cheer of my own. To quote Jess, “I’d like the strongest drink you have, and also a wine spritzer on the side in case I don’t like it.”

Other odds and ends:

  • Deschanel’s band, She & Him, sang the cover of “God Only Knows” that played when everyone boarded their planes. Ah, a little self-promotion never hurt anyone. Their latest album just came out! (Did you notice her face on the cover of Cece’s magazine, too? I thought that was fun.)
  • Speaking of product placement: Holy Obvious Ford Fusion Marketing, Batman! Who knew Coach was so environmentally conscious?
  • Did we know Coach’s name was Arnie?
  • I loved Jess squashing her rational side and deciding to pretend her fellow bar patron was Santa: “I want this to be real!” Poor Jess.
  • Winston thinking he’s a horse expert? Gold. “Polio” horses bred to help Polio victims rehabilitate? Seems legit. (“I don’t think anything I just said was correct.” Oh Winston.)
  • I got some sadistic joy over Smarmy Flyer losing his mind over getting bumped off his flight. It’s the Frequent Flyer version of “Don’t you know who I am?!” Boy, if I had a nickel…
  • We’re obviously heading towards a Schmidt and Cece reunion, based on the last few episodes and their googly eyes at each other here. Yet, they’ve seemed to really mellow around each other this season, so if it happens, I’m all for it.
  • If any of you have flown during the holiday season, were you nodding along at the mayhem in the airport? I think I got chills. (All this episode was missing was the disheveled clothing and men with three-day-old scruff because they’ve been stuck inside the terminal that long.)
Nels
Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

3 Responses to NEW GIRL Fall Finale Debriefing: They got off the plane! (Then got back on.)

  1. Cassidy says:

    I love Billy Eichner (especially in his “Billy in the Street” show) so seeing him not having to scream was really great. I liked the character a lot.

    Something else I liked? This episode. I really enjoyed it and it had a lot of fun moments. Bottle episodes let the cast shine, and this one was no exception — they seem to be the ones I’m enjoying most this season, too. Anyhow, I might have not had any cancelled flights, but the delayed ones are chaos. I am still mad about the winter storm in early January last year… And I know it’s even *worse* closer to Christmas.

    (I’m also in for Schmidt/Cece again for the reasons you mention.)

    • Nels Nels says:

      I’ve only seen Billy Eichner on Parks & Rec. He seems to be playing the same type of character here? I’m guessing that’s his thing?

      Have I ever told you about the time I spent half my Christmas vacation at busy airport because of weather-related chaos? Good times.

      • Cassidy says:

        He kind of has the same character for all of those. He has good lungs and the writers use them, haha.

        Oh lord, it does sound like fun. Weather-related delays/cancellations are not great at all.

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