Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Girl 6x12 Review: "The Cubicle" (Cece's Boys!)

"The Cubicle"
Original Airdate: January 10, 2017

There's a hashtag that us millennials use a lot — #adulting. Personally, I enjoy using that particular hashtag whenever I've done something notable and important in my journey through adulthood, like pay a bill for health insurance that was far too high or research buying a car. It's a fun way of reminding myself that growing up isn't always glamorous. When we're kids, we dress up in our parents' clothes and shoes and wish we could be older and go to work like they do. But when we get to be an adult, we often just wish for those carefree days of childhood back again. And it's with bemoaning that we often use #adulting and do all of those annoying, adult tasks.

Sometimes I forget that the characters in New Girl are older than I am. I'm approaching 28, so I'm not exactly a young, fresh-out-of-college young woman anymore. But the loft gang are each around 30 years old, or older, and sometimes they still struggle with the whole concept of #adulting. Instead of discouraging me, it actually gives me hope. Baby steps have always been the way of Cece, Jess, Schmidt, Nick, and Winston, and "The Cubicle" is no exception. We get some great little insights into primary characters' adult journeys — including the very overdue, but much-needed discussion between Nick and Jess about their relationship — and see progress across the board. This episode was a fun reminder that you're never too old to learn how to properly adult, and even the simplest things can help you grow as a person.


Robby returns in this episode! You remember him, right? Jess' (supposed) boyfriend. I only say "supposed," because it's been a while since we saw him last and even when we do see him, his relationship with Jess is never at the forefront of the storyline. Until this week! When Robby gets his medical bill from the hospital — you know, that time Jess dropped a barbell on his face — Jess insists on paying for it. After trying to rebuff her, Robby concedes and hands her the bill. It's for $400. With the extensive amount of damage she did to him, Jess (and Reagan) think the number is really low and that the reason Robby isn't giving her the full bill is because she can't afford it. Well, that's part of the truth. The bill is actually $200,000.

But that's not entirely the reason that Robby won't let Jess pay for it (he's rich, after all, and can afford it himself). No, it's because Robby doesn't think Jess did anything wrong. Flabbergasted, Jess reminds him that she LITERALLY dropped a barbell on his face and that's the reason he was injured. The inability for Robby to see any sort of flaw in Jess is really interesting, because Jess fought with all of her other boyfriends. Whether over knitting or a box, over the status of their relationship, or otherwise, Jess is no stranger to conflict and she's also not a stranger to her own flaws. She's pretty self-aware, and recognizes that she has some growth to do — even though she's done a lot since the series began.

Because Robby can't see that, it makes him more of a fan and less of her boyfriend. So the two fight and Jess sends him away so she can stew in her anger a little bit more. And that leads us to...


I think this is the first time that Nick and Jess have openly discussed their relationship and its demise. Of course, they do it while drunk on gin but so is the New Girl way — some of the best and most honest moments happen when these characters are uninhibited. Nick's got his own dilemma in this episode: Reagan has yet to read The Pepperwood Chronicles, and doesn't seem very interested in starting. When Nick checks in on her and her progress, he finds her asleep on the novel. Obviously, he's disappointed because Reagan's opinion means a lot to him. So he does what he usually does whenever avoiding a conflict — drinks.

Jess and Nick sit together in the haphazardly-constructed cubicle that the gang made for Cece's new modeling business and they discuss their own issues with their respective partners. Jess asks Nick what's wrong with her and though it seems like a trap, he answers. He tells her that whenever things start going really good in a relationship, Jess tends to look for ways to sabotage her happiness because she's scared. Jess then daringly asks if that's what happened with them — she sabotaged a good thing because she was scared. Nick honestly doesn't know the answer to that. But then Jess shines some insight on Nick, telling him that it's good he's grown and is so vulnerable with Reagan that he cares what she thinks and wants her to like his novel. Nick then daringly asks whether or not his inability to be vulnerable was what ended their relationship.

Both characters confess that they don't know why they fell apart, but that it's probably because they wanted different things. I tend to believe that it's not because Jess was self-destructive or that Nick refused to be vulnerable (we see in "The Captain" that Nick took that step of vulnerability with Jess and Jess only), but that Jess was unwilling to compromise and Nick was unwilling, or unable, to grow up. Looking back on season three, I'll always be disappointed that Nick and Jess fell apart but I'll also always understand the reason why. As Jess points out, they were "kids" back then — Jess was too consumed with her idea of what a perfect relationship and future looked like, and Nick was too stuck in his phase of silly behavior that he couldn't be what Jess needed. And that's natural: people fall apart sometimes for reasons that are good and will cause them to grow.

But now, three years later, Jess and Nick are much different people. Jess has put herself out there and continues to try — even if it means she might get hurt. She's learned how to compromise better and change has become a part of her everyday life. Nick, meanwhile, has grown so much it's pretty astounding. He owns the bar and manages it. He made a long-distance relationship work. He gives advice to his friends. And he finished his zombie novel. He took a chance on life and love, and it's paid off in his development as a person. No longer is he the person who is terrified of responsibility. While he might not always embrace it, he's learned to accept it.

And I still fully believe that Nick and Jess will find their way back to one another in the end (don't let me down, Liz) because of this. Their time apart is the only thing that will make them a long-lasting couple. If they had gotten together and stayed together in season three, they would have been miserable and dysfunctional as a couple. But now, as Jess continues to learn how to be open and as Nick continues to learn how to be responsible, we see a much more healthy relationship forming.

At the end of their conversation, Nick and Jess wonder whether or not they can stay in their cubicle and continue to drink gin. After some silence and long-ish looks at one another, Nick is the one to say that they can't. He stands, offers his hand to Jess, and the two go to face the things that await them — and scare them. Nick and Jess are each other's support system, and I think sometimes New Girl forgets that. While I don't have many complaints about the show, one of them is that over the years, we've gotten less and less of these kind of Nick/Jess scenes. However, "The Cubicle" was a perfect return to the relationship I love and adored from the beginning of this series. I can only hope we'll see these two lean on and encourage one another more the rest of the season.


Cece is such a great character because out of everyone in the group, she's had the least direction in her career over the years. She's gone from being a model to a bartender, and now is an agent for models. Donovan — the model she discovered, and her first client — gets a gig at Winston's police station in "The Cubicle," and Cece is thrilled. Her excitement is dampened, however, when Donovan informs her that he's decided to change careers from model to police officer... on the night that Schmidt booked the model a gig at his company.

Understandably, Cece panics because it was scary enough starting something of her own. But now? Now she's model-less and is on the verge of failure. Schmidt encourages her and offers to help but what I really love is that Cece insists on being the one to fix everything. It's her name in the company, and her responsibility. So even though it's daunting and she has no idea what she's doing, she leaves a really encouraging voicemail for Donovan and he shows up at the gig. I love that Cece was the one to fix her issue, and while she had Schmidt for support, didn't exclusively rely on him to fix everything. She's becoming more secure in who she is and what she wants, and stood on her own this week.

All of the characters, really, learned how to face their fears and their relationships this week. Nick and Reagan grew as a couple when they were honest with one another, and so did Jess and Robby. Cece, too, learned how to stand on her own and Schmidt learned how to be the support system she needed. Our New Girl characters are growing up, folks! And I, for one, am grateful.

And now, bonus points:
  • "I turned your knee into a bag of marbles."
  • "Ain't no room, fam!" "Straighten your arm, fam!"
  • I kind of love the fact that Reagan is seamlessly blending into the loft dynamic. The opening scene with her and Robby present just felt so right.
  • Cece's Boys: Where the Men are Boys, and the Boys are Cece's.
  • "I almost rounded up all of my ballet flats and sold them on FlightyFlightyBoomBoom.com, the premiere website for used flats."
  • "An almost-lawyer and a sort-of-doctor... Lucky me!"
  • We got the return of Kim, Schmidt's awful boss, in this episode and my favorite thing was that she remembered Winston and Cece from all of their previous encounters.
  • WINSTON IS THE C.O.W. (the "cop of the week")
  • "I mess things up all the time! Nick, do I mess things up?" "You know it, baby. Bye!"
  • Robby wrote fanfiction for Nick's book and that might be my favorite thing he's ever done.
  • "To getting older and wiser." "And hopefully, a little bit better." <33333333
  • "Nick, you're like... a drunk Maya Angelou." "Not the first time I heard that."
  • One of the photos on Schmidt's work computer screensaver is from "Injured," a.k.a. my favorite New Girl episode of all time.
  • I love that Schmidt designed a private office for Cece in their home. It was so beautiful and so thoughtful for him to do that, and to let her have her own space to grow her business.
  • The final scene in this episode was HILARIOUS. Also I need to hear the whole "Cece's Boys" theme song ASAP.
What did you all think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below!


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