New Girl Review: "Secrets" (Episode 1.19)
On New Girl, the only truly sustained “relationship” has been between Schmidt and Cece, a barely-friends-with-benefits understanding that has been hidden from everyone. But since last week’s episode involved Winston finding out about this pair, we knew it wouldn’t take long for the entire apartment to find out and quickly be surprised and disgusted by the duo. In fact everyone in the group finds out about the unholy alliance before the first commercial, thanks to Nick’s fear of secrets. In the appropriately titled “Secrets,” the group starts to learn the secrets within each other that they kind of wish would have remained withheld.
Besides the secret of Cece-Schmidt that causes a rift between Cece and Jess, Nick is also trying to keep two of his own relationships secret. Since Nick has started to embrace his inner 21-year-old, he has started seeing two different girls younger than him. Nick’s too nice to keep up this charade, so he needs someone with more experience. Oh glory be! Who could that be but resident douchebag Schmidt? The man has refined the ways of sneaking around through years of experience and trial and error. With Schmidt as the woman, Nick goes to Schmidt’s classroom in what Winston claims is “one of the weirder things we’ve done.”
By the middle of “Secrets,” everyone knows way too much about each other. Jess now knows that all the guys have, um, self-completed, thinking about her, Winston knows that Schmidt thinks that he is going to go “full Poppins” and become a life-long nanny, Nick’s two girls find out about each other and we the audience know now that Cece has done some unusual sexual things with puppeteer Kevin Clash, because his hand has been inside Elmo.
In the end, the group has come to terms with everyone’s secrets, even admitting that maybe Schmidt and Cece together might be kind of adorable. Meanwhile Nick has pulled off his first test as a douchebag, convincing two different girls that he had good reasons for being with both of them. While everything does come together, we do start to see the group unravel just a bit, something that seems like it will be a gradual degradation until the season finale in a few weeks.
“Secrets” continues New Girl’s procession of great comedic directors taking on an episode, this time with David Wain, director of movies like Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models and such TV shows as Stella and Children’s Hospital. If anyone can pull off making douchey antics lovable, it’s Wain. I mean the guy has even made Michael Ian Black an endearing, lovable character.
“Secrets” also furthers the idea of Nick trying to find out who he is, an idea that has dominated his time on the show since “Injured” and will continue throughout the rest of the season. Instead of trying to act his age, he is now regressing to his college days where everything started to go wrong. I’m also glad the show is allowing Winston to get in some great lines. With Winston being the only one not in the middle of a conflict this episode, he is redeemed with a great monologue from his alter ego/Nick’s man-lover Theodore K. Mullins. Even when Winston isn’t directly involved with the main plots, he’s at least getting some great comedic moments in.
New Girl once again goes for the twist on popular sitcom tropes while not going too cliché with it. How many times has the “roommates with secrets” idea come up in a sitcom? Too many times to count. But New Girl doesn’t try to pay homage to or even directly ignore this fact, but rather does its own version. Just because it’s not an original idea doesn’t mean it has to be bad, a scenario New Girl has proved over and over throughout this first season.