This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of New Girl, including last night’s 3x13, “Birthday.” Enjoy!
Jess downs a horrible birthday eve cocktail, served by world’s worst bartender, CeCe, while assuring her girlfriends that she’s not going to get her hopes up for a special birthday celebration now that she’s with Nick. She’s always spent her birthdays at the movies, by herself, so she can’t be disappointed when her unrealistically high birthday hopes are inevitably dashed. Nick asked her to spend the day with him, and she’s fine with whatever he has planned, or not planned. She’s chill, low-maintenance, even no-maintenance. Nice try, Jess, but we don’t believe you for a second, and neither do your friends, which is where the fun begins.
CeCe heads back to the bar to assure Nick and company that Jess doesn’t suspect a thing. This fits in with Nick’s meticulous plans. It’s taken everything out of him, mentally, financially, and he’s got everything covered for the party to end all parties. CeCe will cover his shift at the bar, even though their boss has seen her set soda water on fire. Winston is on cake, Coach has decorations in the bag and Schmidt is in charge of transporting all electronics to the party venue. Nick has covered everything, except, as Schmidt points out, how to occupy Jess for the twelve hours prior to the start of the actual party.
No problem, Nick replies. He’s counting on Jess sleeping in until at least noon. That “no problem” switches to “big problem” when Jess’s alarm goes off precisely at the time of her birth, seven AM. Nick does his best to slow down breakfast and entice Jess into a morning tryst, but she draws the line at his suggestion of a seven- or eight-hour nap; it’s too nice a day for that. Flat broke, Nick starts off their outing with treating Jess to a free diabetes screening at a drugstore and then off to the park, where a perfectly Jess-worthy birthday celebration is already set up with colorful banners, pompoms and cupcakes. A delighted Jess dives right in, to the horror of the little girl whose birthday she’s inadvertently stolen.
Horrified, Jess runs off, Nick in hot pursuit. It’s okay if he didn’t plan anything, she tells him. He’s not the kind of guy who plans things, and he shows her every day that he cares for her. Needing time alone, she heads home, where Coach and Winston abandon their bake-off to distract her and hide the decorations. With no comfort from those two, Jess reverts to plan A and drowns her sorrows in popcorn.
When the lights go down, it’s no ordinary movie on the screen, but a greeting from Nick. He knows she usually spends her special day alone, but maybe this year, she would like some company. The real Nick plops down next to her, the lights go up, and Jess sees that the other seats are filled with all her friends, armed with noisemakers and party hats. The movie plays, a compilation of Jess’s friends, co-workers, students, parents and even some local color, sharing what they love most about Jess. The praise flows over to Nick, her gynecologist calling him “sweet, simple, and unwilling to get out of my waiting room,” while her class announces, en masse, that Miss Day has a cool boyfriend.
They’re proven right by Nick’s own message. He shows Jess a coin he had in his pocket the night of their first kiss and tells her that, now, he carries it with him always. Overcome, Jess makes tracks yet again, and yet again, Nick follows. This time, she throws her arms around him for a heartfelt kiss. This birthday celebration is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for her, she gushes. Though inside the theater, guests scoff at Schmidt’s over the top action-adventure montage, Nick and Jess have the real action going on, just the two of them. Think he’s set the bar for next year?
Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.