“Did that… Happen?” Yeah, it did. Prince came to New Girl.
“Prince” starts like every other episode of New Girl: Winston just wants to move Jess’s panties out of the washing machine, and Coach makes Nick feel like he should feel weird about it. Schmidt says panties far too many times (and yet just the right amount of times for it to still be funny) and Jess and Cece walk in when the four of them are crowded around the washing machine, using a make-shift stick to move them out of Winston’s way. And it’s Jess and Cece’s return that transitions “Prince” from a normal, Tuesday episode of New Girl into the Super Bowl episode.
Jess and Cece were nearly hit by a car, and so, in return, the driver offered them tickets to their boss’s – Prince’s – party. The two get dressed up to go, picked up by a limo, and it’s when the boys are telling them goodnight that something slips. Nick tells Jess that he loves her.
There’s a few seconds pause before Jess responds… With finger guns. (A clever way to get around the usual trope of saying “thank-you,” and besides, Jess had already used that excuse back in season one with Justin Long’s Paul.) And so, the night changes yet again. This isn’t, now, Jess and Cece going to Prince’s party, this is Jess going to Prince’s party, busy thinking about the conversation that she really needs to be having with Nick right now. One that Nick also decides is necessary, coming up with the brilliant plan to take back his declaration, and forcing the boys to sneak into Prince’s party.
Winston and Coach use their college-formed method of “fire and ice,” to get in, pretending to be friends meeting at the party with a much deeper history than truly exists – “Winston, what happens when you mix fire and ice?” “Warm water, baby!” – and after trying (and failing) at the same thing, Nick sneaks in with a group of models, Schmidt being left outside to find his own way in. Nick finds Jess, and when he does, she says that she has something to tell him… Before promptly passing out.
So it’s then, Nick trying to take back what he said, and Jess trying to get the courage to tell Nick the same thing, that someone really needs to come and take charge of this situation. And so, Prince does. (Seriously, New Girl really makes the most of Prince.)
Nick leaves the two alone (to get drunk, scare models away from Winston and Coach, and to dance… like it’s 1999), and Prince takes Jess under his wise, majestic wings, showing her, in a series of weird, yet compelling scenes, that she’s just scared of telling Nick she loves him, and that she really, truly shouldn’t be.
Meanwhile Schmidt sneaks into the party by climbing through a huge hedge, apparently needing to get in so that he can begin his new life with his cooler friends that are just waiting for him inside. Schmidt has finally, it seems, moved on from being that lost, uncomfortable to watch man-child that we’ve been seeing this season, and has moved back into his usual territory. Schmidt pulls out plays like Barney in How I Met Your Mother, but the difference between the two – and between the two shows – is that the New Girl writers don’t indulge him, but have the group shut him down in the way that they should. I don’t think Schmidt has ever been close to being a caricature – because of how the rest of the loft refuse to put up with him – but Schmidt is far more entertaining when he’s got a plan: breaking into Prince’s house, failing, and then realizing that he doesn’t want cooler friends, because he already has them.
This doesn’t mean that Schmidt is going to be a different person. Not at all, as we saw him jumping through Prince’s hedge to get into the party, and sneaking his way into dancing with Cece, but he does seem more self-aware of what he has and the worth of that, after losing the two women that he cared about most. (Completely his fault, but I’m thankful that the move has had a payoff.) Schmidt looks over at Winston and Coach playing lemon mouth at the bar (Winston made a new record for how long he could suck a lemon for) and he finally seems to see how privileged he truly is. It’s a privilege letting someone into your life, and being in so many people’s lives like Schmidt actually is, and he finally seems to realize that.
And it’s a privilege for Nick and Jess to be able to tell each other that they love them, and that’s exactly what Jess does, entering the party dressed up in Prince’s confidence, shouting to Nick that she does, yes, love him.
I mean, we all knew, but knowing something, and admitting to it- taking action around it-are very different things.
The musical ending might have been a little cheesy, and the back-end of an episode that wasn’t New Girl, but Super Bowl-New Girl, but that is, honestly and truly, what “Prince” is. It’s that episode put together as something to try and gain viewers. And besides, as the gang shows us at the end of the episode, sitting back on their couch, wondering what the hell just happened and if they’re supposed to go back to their normal lives after this, New Girl will be back to normal on Tuesday, the same as ever.
Except, New Girl isn’t really ever the same as usual, is it? And that’s why, I suppose, it’s so great.
- “Panty-hawk. I’d watch that show.” All of that talk about Jess’s panties, and they weren’t even hers.
- “How are we going to transport all this cargo- oh wait we have Nick’s pants, we’re saved.”
- “So this whole time you’ve just been waiting for cooler friends?” “Yes, of course! Look around, Coach, this can’t be the finish line.”
- Winston’s been turned on by gas mileage before. It was a Thursday, you know?
- “Nick, I never thought I’d say this… But I need to be alone with Prince.”
- “Anything beautiful is worth getting hurt for. Do you know who said that? Me.” Prince, man.