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New Girl’s “Birthday” Celebrates Jess

By on January 22, 2014

Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) tries to hide birthday presents from Jess (Zooey Deschanel) in "Birthday." Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

By Nicole Bozzani

This week on New Girl, Jess celebrated a birthday, attempted to avoid disappointment, and was treated to one of the sweetest surprises in sitcom history.

It’s Jess’ birthday, and she pretty apprehensive about it. Jess loves birthdays, but always sets her expectations of people a bit too high, a fact she reveals while having drinks with her coworker (guest star Angela Kinsey). She goes on to share her plans of eventually ending up at the movies alone just as in previous years. Little does she know, across the bar, her friends are making their final preparations for her surprise birthday party.

Nick has planned the whole thing, and asked this merry band of misfits to help. Each has a particular job; Coach – decorations, Winston – cake, Schmidt – electronics, and Cece – covering for him at the bar. What could possibly go wrong? Well for starters, a cake mix up and Nick not realising that he must entertain Jess until her party. Nick has no choice but to take Jess out for the day on a serious of pointless adventures. What kind of adventures? Just what anyone would want on their birthday: a free diabetes test at the drug store and a rousing game of Find the Biggest Rock You Can at the park. Jess, feeling extremely disappointed and let down stumbles onto a child’s birthday set up and assumes it is for her. What is a very humorous moment is surely overshadowed by the fact an entire party of people just left a table full of treats unsupervised for anyone to stumble upon.

Jess (Zooey Deschanel, L) thinks Nick (Jake Johnson, R) organized a party for her at the local park. Co.  Cr:  Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Jess (Zooey Deschanel, L) thinks Nick (Jake Johnson, R) organized a party for her at the local park. Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Meanwhile, after Winston’s failed attempt at getting the right cake, he and Coach step in to fix the situation. What is the only option for two grown men in this predicament? A bake off. Yes, a bake off. Unfortunately, the excitement over the impending bake off is lost during a far too long monologue where Coach used the word ‘moist’ more times than is ever necessary in a discussion regarding baked goods. In retrospect, the entire bros baking cakes thing just didn’t translate along some of the other happenings in the episode. Not that Winston’s eco-friendly apron of paper towels wasn’t innovative and funny.

Then we have Schmidt and Cece who are working a saturday shift at the bar. Cece really isn’t a great bartender. A simple fact, Mike, another employee of the bar, won’t let her forget. Schmidt to the rescue! Max Greenfield continuously makes New Girl worth watching, and “Birthday” was no exception. His wonderful speech to Cece about her skills was touching. At the same time, it’s hard not to be a bit lukewarm about Schmidt being so kind to Cece. Does he have an ulterior motive or is he just trying to be a nice guy?

Jess, feeling let down, follows through with her birthday tradition and goes to the movies alone. Nick suddenly appears on the screen in a video message just for her. And cue the waterworks for anyone in a 5 mile radius of a television at this moment. Not only did Nick’s plan for the surprise party work out, but it was meant to to take place at the movies all along. Everyone is there, even her coworkers, and they made a nice video message wishing her a very happy birthday. The video message is so endearing and cute and well worth the waterworks. It even features everyone’s favorite New Girl guest stars: Outside Dave, her parents, and TRAN! The sheer number of familiar faces in this episode was wonderful, even if they were only on screen for a moment.

Jess’s birthday was filled with high expectations and a super romantic, adorable surprise she never expected. Coach and Winston saved the day with a bake off, and Schmidt helped Cece realize she can be the best bartender she can be. If there’s anything to be learned from New Girl about the state of all future birthdays: no adult party is complete without a million kazoos.

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