If last night’s New Girl made you concerned about your ovaries or the ovaries of a loved one, take heart. The statistic about women losing 90 percent of their eggs by age 30 comes from a study published in 2010 by Edinburgh University and the University of St. Andrew. Now, these are both reputable institutions, even if the latter once made Kate Middleton dress up like an adult baby. But what the study found is that women start out with an average of 300,000 eggs. By the time we’re Cece and Jess’s age, we’ve got some 30,000 left. That’s why plenty of women get pregnant in their 30s — because 30,000 is still a shit-ton of eggs.
In any case, last night’s episode didn’t come off like a lecture on why women should have kids early. And it definitely didn’t seem like sort of cosmic retribution aimed at Cece for not wanting to have Schmidt’s baby last season, thank goodness. Mostly, it felt like a show with an audience of both men and women, trying to balance a plot about fertility with one about getting drunk at the zoo.
The setup: Sadie the lesbian gynecologist has returned, this time with a semi-irritating girlfriend and a future baby onboard. Her pregnancy inspires Jess and Cece to get their egg counts tested. (Ladies who would like to scare the crap out of themselves for just $25 can buy a similar test on Amazon.) Jess panics about getting the result. She’s not ready for kids: “Tonight, I used a bread roll to wipe butter off my face, and then I ate the bread roll. So I essentially used my face as a butter knife.” Also, whatever eggs are left inside her uterus were probably inexorably warped from watching their brothers and sisters die.
But of course it’s Cece, the one who says she doesn’t want children, who turns out to have a distressingly short reproductive life span left. Which precipitates a crisis: Should she be trying to have kids with Robbie? Is she going to get back together with Schmidt, now that he’s realized he’s in love with her? Is this season going to end with Schmidt and Cece raising an adorable baby, and if so, will that baby wear little tiny driving moccasins?
So far, all of this — especially the scene where Sadie starts to deliver Cece’s test results, and stops to kick Jess out of the room — seems like a pretty good argument for not socializing with your ob-gyn, But there’s also an upside to hanging out with someone who has a medical degree in ladyparts, at least if you’re a guy who’s having a hard time satisfying his boss in bed. I loved how Schmidt was totally unfazed when Sadie told him she could only give him sex advice if he came to her as a patient. A $40 co-pay is a small price for a consultation with a va-genius. Especially if there are stirrups involved.
Schmidt, see, is in a “real life sex pickle.” (That also happens to be the name of the world’s worst funk band.) He knows he’s good in bed, but his Mars Rover impersonation seems to do nothing for Emma, his kinky superior. In Sadie’s office, he lays out his methods: Losing Nemo, collecting the Oscar, getting everybody into the sharing circle, meeting the troll and answering his riddles three. Sadie, whose baby hormones are less gay than she is, proclaims that Schmidt is the true va-genius.
Like Jess and Cece, Nick is also concerned about his productive output, since that zombie novel isn’t going to write itself. His Hemingway-inspired literary persona is new but feels totally in character, largely because Nick doesn’t actually know anything about Ernest Hemingway. “I gotta run with the bulls. I gotta kill a man with my bare hands after making sweet love to him and then sleep in the warm belly of his horse. I gotta eat my way out of a sandwich house.” Or he could just bring a flask to the zoo, get drunk, and threaten to unleash the snakes on Winston.
At least now poor Winston has an excuse for being underutilized: He’s on an adjusted schedule, working at night and sleeping during the day, so he’s literally out of sync with the other characters. Once again, he spends the episode as an instigator, goading Nick into working on Z Is for Zombie by accusing him of not being a finisher. That’s why he’s only three episodes into Downton Abbey.
It takes Nick a long night of peeing in bottles and tapping into his internal Hemingway, but he finally hands over a draft of what Winston calls the worst thing he’s ever read in his entire life. The storytelling is convoluted, the word rhythm is misspelled 38 times, and in a Jonathan Safran Foer–esque flourish, part of the book takes the form of a word search with no actual words in it. Still, it’s done, and Lamorne Morris’s dramatic-reading voice is amazing, and that’s what really matters. (Vulture did its part to encourage him by designing a Z Is for Zombie book cover.)
I thought I’d wrap up with more of Schmidt’s sexual techniques (“Go outside, get the paper and shake the neighbor’s hand,” “Spike the volleyball,” “Dance until you can’t dance any more.”) But it might make just as much sense to quote Nick’s novel (“’Whoa, what bit me in the face?’ Mike Junior said to his dad, Mike Senior, who sucks.”). Then again, Jess got in some good jokes about the reenactment of Grapes of Wrath that she believes is happening inside her uterus. In the end, that might be the best possible complaint about a half-hour sitcom: there were just too many good lines to quote them all.