New Girl Review: “Cece Crashes” (Episode 1.5)
Who’s that girl? Who’s that girl? For once it’s not Jess, as finally in “Cece Crashes” we get more of Jess’ best friend, Cece. It’s been five episodes, and besides the fact that she’s a model that Schmidt likes to hit on, there’s little about this character that is known. But within the cold open, we already get more information about Cece than in the first four episodes combined.
In “Cece Crashes”, Cece has just broken up with her DJ boyfriend and crashes at Jess’ for a bit. This of course causes Schmidt and Winston to compete over her. While there, Cece is the first person to finally suggest the fact that maybe Nick likes Jess as more than a friend, which of course sends Jess into full-on awkward mode.
The episode pairs off into Schmidt/Cece and Jess/Nick stories, once again leaving Winston to basically comment on what’s going on with other people’s storylines. “Cece Crashes” seemed like its main goal was to add character to someone who is hardly a character at all. While there is more learned about Cece, it’s not much. We learn she doesn’t like being alone, that she knows how to control men and make them do what she wants, and .that’s about it.
With the focus on Cece, it makes one thing very clear: Cece is more of a way of moving plot forward in each episode rather than being an actual character with any depth. She’s New Girl‘s MacGuffin, an item or person whose sole purpose to move the plot forward. She’s the sled in Citizen Kane, the suitcase in Pulp Fiction, Shia LaBeouf in Transformers: she’s completely irrelevant and supplies just enough momentum to keep viewers interested in where things will go next.
The focus of the episode should be Jess’ awkwardness with Nick, something we saw in last week’s episode “Naked” also. The episode finally pays attention to the “will-they-won’t-they” that has been set up since the pilot, ultimately paying off by saying they’ll be friends for now. We all know how this will end up, though.
The real comedic payoffs this episode are Schmidt’s attempts to get Cece. Schmidt reverts back to full-on douchebag mode. It may seem counterproductive to the character of Schmidt, but I can’t resist how hilarious he gets when trying to impress women, especially when they let him go on for a bit too long. For example, he states that he would like to get caught in Cece’s cleavage 127 Hours-style, and when he figures out that Cece’s parents are from India, he lists off things he loves from India, including all guys named Patel and snakes in baskets. Plus he also introduces some of the first actual conflict in the show, as Schmidt is afraid of the cat that lives on the roof, a catbird, as he is a cat raised by birds.
“Cece Crashes” probably has the distinction of being one of the funnier episodes of New Girl, however story mostly suffers for it, partially because it focuses on the show’s weakest “character” to propel the plot, as well as relies on basic sitcom tropes of friends becoming something more to fill up its half hour. New Girl has enough wit and promising characters to not have to go down the road that countless other sitcoms have, and if it goes down the road less traveled, New Girlwill be far better for it.