Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Girl 6x13 Review: "Cece's Boys" (Growing Apart)

"Cece's Boys"
Original Airdate: January 17, 2017

Last week in my New Girl review, I talked about the concept of "adulting" — those things that we have to do because we've grown up, and no one adequately prepared us for. It's not their fault, though: I don't think any amount of preparation can explain quite what it feels like to transition from adolescence into adulthood. And one of the strangest components of growing up and becoming an adult is the ever-shifting circle of friends you create and also lose. I was actually just thinking about this the other day on my drive home from work. My birthday is this week, and when planning a get-together, I realized that I have a lot of friends and acquaintances, but few whom I genuinely stay connected with and consider to be close friends. I realized this when I went away to college — those people I promised I would stay friends forever with? Some I barely even speak to. And it's a really difficult thing to deal with when you realize that your friends are slipping away from you, of no fault of yours or theirs. Life just happens. We all change jobs, relationships, and living situations as we progress through different stages of life. It's natural for us to fall out of orbit with some of the people we genuinely care about.

But that doesn't mean it's easy to deal with when it happens. And Schmidt learns that, firsthand in "Cece's Boys." While the A-story of the episode (as its title would suggest) focuses on Cece and her burgeoning career as a model manager, the B-story is the emotional core, as it follows Winston, Nick, and Schmidt as they try to find time to spend together before Schmidt moves out of the loft for good.


I'll be honest in saying that this wasn't New Girl's strongest episode, and definitely was the weakest of the season so far (it didn't help that FOX hadn't put up the screener and I had to miss watching the episode live). The A-plot is pretty easy to condense in terms of significance and plot: Cece's models are getting poached by bigger agencies, and she needs to keep Donovan and add new clients if she wants to succeed. Jess volunteers to recruit, and Reagan tags along. They find success with one extremely dumb but attractive model, but Jess wants to bring along two average-looking guys too. This, predictably, leads to conflict between Jess and Reagan as well as some shenanigans. In the end, one of the average-looking guys was the perfect model for the ad Cece was aiming for anyway! Aaaaaaaaand, end of story.

The B-plot is a little sillier in terms of story (it starts with a spa day and ends with Winston, Nick, and Schmidt all getting waxes together to forge their friendship), but it has the emotional core that this episode desperately needed in order to remain an average episode of New Girl. Here's what happens: Winston offhandedly mentions the fact that Coach and May are hosting a foreign exchange student. Schmidt didn't realize this, nor did he realize that the couple moved to North Carolina. While Nick seems really unfazed by the fact that he and Coach don't talk anymore, Schmidt is terrified by the realization that their friendship has fallen to the wayside just like that. Nick assures him: "We're still friends. We just have nothing to do with each other."

It probably doesn't require much thought for you to recall a friendship like this in your own life. I'm friends with so many people who I talk to maybe once every few weeks — some even longer than that — and barely get the chance to see in person. It doesn't mean I've disowned them, and I'm sure they don't have ill will toward me either. But when you become an adult and stop living with your closest friends, you lose touch. You fall apart. You start saying things like, "We need to do this more often" whenever you hang out. I get it. And as much as it is part of adulthood, it sucks.

So it makes total sense that Schmidt is concerned with this. He's always been deeply and emotionally connected to the people in the loft. Even when he moved out, he only moved down the hall. They're his best friends because he sees them every single day. It's why my college suitemates were my best friends, and why my roommate after college knew everything about my life. When you see someone every day, you tend to become best friends. Schmidt incorrectly assumes, however, that the only thing keeping Nick and Winston and him close is their proximity toward one another. Maybe he's right — maybe they WILL fall apart once Schmidt and Cece finally move into their house. Maybe he'll become like Coach: the friend they slip into conversation every once in a while but never see or hang out with.

It's Schmidt's tendency toward extreme worry and even more extreme remedies to those worries that causes him to create a spa day for the men. The three discuss the fact that the closest friendships are often forged permanently because of harrowing circumstances. That's not the case anymore, so Schmidt opts for "shared experience" to be the cord that bonds them. And eventually, the experience does bond them (albeit because they share trauma).

Schmidt is always at his most human whenever the writers give him (and the rest of the characters) stories that are totally universal. This week's episode definitely was. It reminded us all that growing up isn't without its struggles, and that sometimes the worst part of adulthood friendships isn't a falling out — it's just a falling away. Because falling outs are expected and understandable. There is always a specific, root cause. But when life gets too busy for you to talk every week, you don't have inside jokes anymore because you don't share the same living space, or your schedules never allow you to see each other, a friendship can fizzle. It doesn't mean you love each other less. Nick and Winston and Schmidt still love Coach and consider him to be a friend. They just don't talk or see one another anymore.

Adulthood is rough sometimes, and it's often hard to put into words exactly how certain periods of adulthood can make you feel. I'm thankful, at least, that this week's New Girl put perfectly into words what it feels like to lose friends simply because you lose touch.

And now, bonus points:
  • Winston putting a fake cat's paw into the hand huddle was SO PERFECT.
  • "The taste is average. But the aftertaste is outstanding."
  • "Your lives are going to move on. And I'm always going to be that weirdo you lived with."
  • The montage of Reagan and Jess trying to recruit models was fantastic.
  • "No, I had my eyes closed. I was saying a non-denominational prayer."
What did you all think of this week's New Girl? Sound off in the comments below!


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