TV Review: New Girl – Season 3 Episode 13 “Birthday” (USA, 2014)


Any episode entitled “Birthday” is probably going to have an aspect of significance to it, particularly when the birthday in question is that of Jess. Within the very first minute it was established that Jess has unrealistically high expectations for her birthday, evidenced by a flashback of Cece gifting her a sweater made in China, which Jess automatically translates as a hint that Cece is taking her to China. Obviously, this was not the case, and thus Jess has become prone to spending her birthdays along at the movies. This year, however, is going to be different, because her wonderful boyfriend Nick has asked her to spend the day with him. Being the terribly organised character that he is, does that not just sound like the most expound recipe for disaster?

To give Nick credit, he did utilise all of his planning skills to arrange the night’s surprise party. It was the entire day beforehand that he forgot to factor in. This led to Nick struggling through the day by faking planned events, such as taking Jess to get a diabetes test, in addition to finding the biggest rock in the park, and ruining another child’s birthday party when Jess mistakenly assumed it was her own. It was one of those moments where you have to cover your face to shield it from the embarrassment. This, of course, lead to an abundance of disappointment from Jess that involved lots of crying and the perfect segue into the surprise that we all knew was coming.

Before we get to that, let’s focus on the other main feature of the episode: Schmidt and Cece. The bad tension between the two was tenuously mended through Schmidt’s coaching her how to properly make cocktails, and then assuring her of her working skills. It’s about time, really – although, while I am glad they seem to be taking the steps to friendship again, I’m hoping it won’t lead to any more awkward sexual tension between them for at least another season. While we’re at the bar, I’m going to go ahead and award bartender Mike the best line of the episode with his incredulous comment to Cece, regarding her setting fire to soda water, “Are you a witch?”

Now, on to the surprise. Jess, predictably, ending up going to the movies alone to fulfill tradition, where an on-screen message from Nick began the party, complete with a short film of all her friends and family expressing their favourite qualities and memories of Jess. It was an event I find slightly improbable, and a touch coincidental, but the messages were so heart-warming that you couldn’t help but enjoy the moment as much as Jess did. It was the perfect rom-com ending. Five gold stars for Nick.


New Girl airs in Australia on Channel Ten.


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