TV Review: New Girl 5×11 “The Apartment”

Screenshot 2016-03-17 12.55.25

Welcome back to my weekly New Girl recap/review! You can check out my previous coverage here. As usual, there are some spoilers in this week’s review, so read at your own risk.

It’s moving day on this week’s New Girl! “Schmece” are taking their engagement one step closer to what their married life will look and feel like, as Cece makes the move in with Schmidt. I’ll be honest, I forgot Cece still lived at her old place – she spent the majority of her time in apartment 4D, and then there was that plot-line in episode seven, “Wig,” where she and Schmidt were having difficulties finding “alone time” together in the arguably overcrowded loft. It seems a bit silly that they went through the trouble of convincing Nick that Reagan’s hair was a wig in order to coax him out of Schmidt’s room when they could have easily just headed over to Cece’s place. Sure, she still had Nadia as her roommate — that Russian model/new mother we know for her iconic “McMouse” impression — but her apartment was at their disposal.

But I digress. Overall, “The Apartment” was quite strong and a decent follow-up to last week’s absolutely impeccable episode. While it didn’t feature anything that could have shocked or surprised us, it remained important and entertaining, like all good New Girl episodes are. Here are the three best elements of “The Apartment.”

Screenshot 2016-03-17 13.18.03

1) It doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of moving in with your partner.

I found the way New Girl handled Cece’s move similar to how Friends handled Monica Geller moving in with Chandler Bing. It emphasized the emotion of it all, and the serendipity of boxing up your life. In this episode, Cece is parting ways with her bachelorette pad, and much like her husband-to-be in the season four finale, “Clean Break,” she’s having difficulty “toasting goodbye” to the things that evoke fond memories. When Jess arrives to help, Cece has yet to pack anything. Moving out means moving on from single life, and Cece isn’t afraid to admit what she’s feeling: scared. And it’s understandable — transitioning from living independently, a state of life that Cece has come to know and find comfort in, to life as someone’s wife is daunting. Though it’s couched in the unique and long-standing bond between Jess and Cece, the reality of that shift isn’t skirted around. It’s tough, it’s frightening. It’s addressed head-on, and I think that’s important. Like a lot of more sentimental and emotionally-charged situations in which the New Girl crew find themselves, there’s heart and humor, but moreover, there’s truth. And that truth is summed up in a perfect statement made by Schmidt: “I’m a little freaked out too, and it has nothing to do with how much I love you or how much I want to get married. We’ll be scared together, and we’ll be really happy together, too.”

Screenshot 2016-03-17 12.19.49

2) The Cece/Jess friendship reflects real-life ones.

Both of the girls are entangled in the complicated emotions of their current situations. Cece’s got the move, and all its implications, and Jess is struggling to survive the reign of the manipulative and sexually forward Principal Becky Cavatappi (Elizabeth Berkley), which Winston accurately describes as a “poo-poo festival.” Jess is practically drowning in a sea of paperwork and is only able to find room to breathe in knowing that the budget binder she’d been assigned to complete isn’t due for another week. Or so she thinks. When Jess receives a call from her overlord that she’s to finish the fiscal budget in less than a day, she panics. She’d already purchased a free-standing heavy bag to punch while screaming, “Becky, I hate you!” repeatedly and is ready to move onto a night of drinking irresponsibly. But even in the midst of the chaos and unpacked boxes, the pair are present and willing to help one another through the unease. Though Cece and Jess are hesitant to take “the leap” into new lives — Cece into one as Mrs. Cece Schmidt and Jess into a teacher outside of Coolidge Middle School — they’re fiercely protective of each another and only want to see the other succeed. In many ways, Cece is Jess’s person and Jess Cece’s. Like most women, I’m a fan of strong female friendships that are rooted in what real-world ones are, and Jess and Cece’s is one for the books.

Screenshot 2016-03-17 13.00.20

3) Winston’s plot is hilarious.

Winston Bishop never fails the New Girl audience. He’s quirky and naive blended with emotionally sensitive and loyal; he’s just the right mix that hits the sweet spot every single time. This week, of course, was no exception to the “Winston rules” rule. Due to Aly’s constant comments about her boyfriend and his voluptuous derriere, Winston feels he has no choice but to request a new partner. To his satisfaction, he finds one in Dunston (Sam Richardson), the goofy cop with night blindness and an affinity for muzak. It’s clear that Dunston — a possible portmanteau of “dunce” and “Winston” — Winston’s match. He’s the upper echelon of Winstonian antics, but lacks any actual skill or awareness. While the newly-minted partners in tackling crime face off with a local flasher, they also go head-to-head with Aly and her new partner, the alpha female Hutch. After a fumble with a pair of handcuffs, a countdown that goes awry and too many “Where’s the bathroom?” questions, Winston realizes his reasons for seeking out someone new were foolish. He misses Aly and even contemplates telling her the truth behind why he left her, and the two agree to partner up once more. Though the emphasis put on the Winston/Aly dynamic feels just slightly overdone, I have hopes that we’ll get to further explore both Aly as a character (since we don’t know much about her) as well as how the two can continue to work together.

Highlights: “Somebody call the G8 summit because I just felt the climate change.” “We’re adult men. We’re cute.” “Your life is just weeks, and then you die.” “It’s Polish prosecco, so that’s on me for buying it at a gas station.” Everything Winston kept at his desk at the station, including “over 100 yogurt tops” and a picture of him and Dave Coulier. “You cross that bridge and make lemonade out of a molehill.” “Your favorite team is the Green Bay Not-Packers.” “What’s a Becky?!”

Rating: 8.5/10

AJ Caulfield is a 22-year-old writer, pun lover, massive goofball, first-year English graduate student, and quite possibly Leslie Knope's long-lost twin. She's a big fan of 80's rock music, female-directed films, and Mad Men.