New Girl Bromance Gets Emotional

“I can’t talk right now; I’m writing a strongly worded e-mail to my florist.”

Schmidt was a little on edge throughout last week’s episode of New Girl, because his and Nick’s 10-year anniversary of living together was right around the corner.

New Girl, which airs on Fox, follows four roommates who live together in an apartment in Los Angeles. There’s Schmidt, the impeccably coiffed douchebag with a soft side; Nick, the underachieving grump; Winston, the down-to-earth, suave sports radio host; and Jess, a bubbly, girly, and extremely offbeat teacher who drives her male roomies up the wall. Cece, Jess’s Indian-American model best friend, is also an important character. Most notably, she recently ended things with Schmidt in order to try her hand at a stable, mature relationship. In recent episodes, exciting events have included a clandestine, spur-of-the-moment kiss between Jess and Nick, which created über-awkwardness between the two as they both tried to prove that the kiss meant nothing.

In this past week’s episode, in order to celebrate their decade-long bromance, Schmidt decided to plan a classy soirée for Nick. Because their first two initials produce the periodic symbol “Sn” (tin), and 10 sounds like tin, they went with the “mind-blowing” theme of “Tinfinity” for their party. They subsequently embarked on a week of intensive preparations for the big celebration night.

During this planning, the episode continued to follow the hilarious sexual tension between Jess and Nick in the aftermath of their kiss, but, more importantly, it also marked a crucial turning point in Schmidt’s development as a more humanistic, vulnerable character. Of course, Schmidt has always been a flawed character—the roommates go so far as setting up a “douchebag jar” for him so that he has to donate a buck (or more) every time he says or does something remotely tool-esque. However, he also has always been the ambitious one and the successful one—healthy, charming, fit, and stylish—while Winston, Jess, and Nick battle with insecurities, poorly paying jobs, and quarter-life crises.

Unfortunately, on the night of the decennial anniversary, Tinfinity took a turn for the worse when Shivrang, Cece’s new Indian-American doctor boyfriend, proposed to her on a stage in front of the whole party, accompanied by lights, silver streamers, a rockin’ Queen ballad, and multiple confetti rockets. Tragically, this whole spectacle was only an accident, as its meticulous planning was meant for Schmidt and Nick’s Tinfinity toast. Ironically, Schmidt actually helped facilitate the proposal between Shivrang and Cece, despite still being hopelessly in love with her. Between the crowd’s applause and an exuberant Cece embracing her new fiancé, Schmidt’s Tinfinity charm and celebration spirit flickered out, and Nick, seeing Schmidt’s heart break before his eyes, naturally went to console his best friend. He did this, of course, by getting wasted with him in a deflated hot air balloon.

In this moment, as Nick steps up for the first time as a truly supportive friend for Schmidt, the writers introduce a new facet into the Nick-Schmidt bromance, which will now be characterized by equality and a mutual, self-conscious love for each other. This moment of shared empathy in a deflated air balloon, was, for me, the highlight of a very satisfying episode of New Girl, because it allowed Schmidt and Nick, two typically guarded comedic characters, to open up and communicate on an heightened emotional level.

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