New Girl Recap: Sex Mug

Photo: FOX
New Girl
New Girl
Episode Title
Clean Break
Editor’s Rating

I’m having difficulty typing since my arms won’t stop their joyous, Kermit the Frog–style flailing. Did I really just watch what I think I just watched? Did Liz Meriwether finally hear my prayers?

No, it can’t be. Nick and Jess can’t possibly have stared down their feelings for each other and (correctly) decided that they’re better as friends. There’s no way that Jack McBrayer made a perfectly cast cameo as an anti-Semetic donation bin attendant named Wally. And I am sure I didn’t just hear the Head and the Heart’s bittersweet “Rivers and Roads” used as a perfect background track to Coach’s deftly handled departure scene. No, you’re crying!

Well, whatever else just transpired, there is no way that Schmidt and Cece are getting married. That would be too exciting. That would mean that New Girl had avoided falling once again into the will-they-won’t-they seesaw-for-a-season trap. That would mean that— that New Girl has learned from its past mistakes?

Oh my God, that’s what’s happened. That’s what we’ve just watched in “Clean Break.” New Girl has learned from its past mistakes, and it’s making a — and this is apt — clean break for the future. As Coach says, “If you want to move forward, you have to get rid of the past.” It took five seasons but it looks like our baby’s really growing up!

My heart is full to bursting, and I am tempted to just spend this entire recap speculating about what will happen at the Schmeschme wedding, but luckily, plot-wise, this episode was relatively thin, so I am pretty sure I can keep my focus and power through a summary:

Coach is packing to move to New York, and maybe it’s just the amount of coast-moving I’ve been watching among my friend group lately, but that notion alone had me choked up from scene one. Coach, though, is a thoroughly unemotional mover. As a former army brat, he has it down to a science: To pack, you bring essentials, not memories. You keep your good-byes short and not too sweet. And, most important, you don’t spend any time dwelling on what you might be leaving behind.

But Winston won’t let Coach leave so easily, and it’s not too long until Coach relents, first taking the Regis Philbin crepe pan (this is why I’ll miss you over the summer, New Girl), and then some plastic grapes, a cube with pictures of Jess on it, and the TV remote (“it smells like all of our fingers!”). Coach and Winston crying at each other was as funny as it was heartbreaking. Here’s hoping the hard feelings around losing Coach from New Girl are cushioned by those Happy Ending rumors coming true.

Coach’s efficient packing methods inspire Schmidt and Nick to start sorting through their stuff, figuring out what is actually important to keep. For Schmidt, that means coming to terms with the fact that Cece is gone — no, literally gone. She’s followed through on her plans to climb Mount Shasta. Schmidt takes her absence as a sign that he should give away his box of her leftover stuff. As soon as he does, he realizes that he can’t let go of the box, which contains, among other things, the $5 bill he put in the douchebag jar (remember that?) the first time he met her/casually told her he was going to marry her.

After some moping around the apartment, Jess lets it spill that Cece is still in love with Schmidt. When he sees her again, he decides to repeat his opening line to her — only this time, it’s not so casual, and this time, she says yes.

WE’RE HEADING TOWARD A WEDDING! The first wedding of a major New Girl character that won’t get thwarted by Schmidt! And now I sort of miss Chavrang, but who cares, SCHMIDT AND CECE ARE GETTING MARRIED!

Admittedly, it was an abrupt proposal. I mean, Schmidt JUST broke up with Fawn Moscato. Cece JUST decided that she’s going to start doing more things for herself. I really thought this is where we’d be at the season five finale, but I’m not going to look this New Girl gift horse in the mouth. This worked out way too well.

Speaking of things working out surprisingly well, Schmidt’s spring cleaning turns up a mug that Nick is quick to identify as his and Jess’s “sex mug” — a mug that one of them would leave out for the other to signal that they were in the mood, like some sort of weird Starbucks-sponsored mating dance. Schmidt wants to get rid of it, but it’s harder to give up for Nick than he’d previously thought — but is it for the sheer sentimental value, or does he still want to get back with Jess? And things get especially complicated when it comes out that the mug has seen some “subtly-placed-on-hall-table action” in recent days.

If you’ve been reading my recaps, you know that at this point I’m not a fan of Nick and Jess as a couple, and I’m even less of a fan of their forced courtship. But Nick and Jess admitting that it’s been hard to not have sexual feelings for each other rings true for anyone who’s ever stayed in close contact with an ex right after a breakup — those feelings are primal and take longer to dissipate than the purely emotional ones. A year after their breakup, it seems a little strange that it’s the first time that this is the first time their latent sexual frustrations are surfacing, but I’m glad it was addressed. And I’m gladder still that it didn’t lead to a reconciliation.

One thing sitcoms seem to forget is that human beings may not be in charge of their feelings, but they are in charge of what they do with those feelings. That Nick and Jess can openly discuss their attraction but acknowledge that it’s not a good idea to act on it is a mature move both by them and by the show as a whole.

Oh! And we got some closure on where Winston’s cat has been! Mystery of the season, solved.

Have a great summer, New Girl-ers! I hope it’s a great one, for you and for the loftmates alike!