New Girl Season 6 Episode 10 Review: “Christmas Eve Eve”

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New Girl Season 6 Episode 10 Review: “Christmas Eve Eve”

New Girl Season 6

When it comes to holiday episodes, New Girl typically knocks it out of the park. I wasn’t a huge fan of this year’s Thanksgiving installment, but then again, I’ve had a lot of problems with many of the show’s episodes from this fall. And maybe it’s the singing at the end of the episode, or the fact that I’m a huge Christmas fanatic, or maybe it’s just because New Girl finally gave us another strong, well-written half hour focusing on the loft-mates and no one else, but I absolutely loved “Christmas Eve Eve.” This episode is everything that I want New Girl to be all the time: fun, heartfelt, and hysterical, and it gives us plenty of great, memorable moments with our favorite characters, from Jess to Nick to Schmidt. Plus, we even get a flashback to another classic Winston-and-Cece mess-around. How can you beat that?

The main reason “Christmas Eve Eve” works so well, though, is that Jess actually feels like Jess in this episode. We’ve seen her get incredibly excited over Christmas in the past, and the opening flashback to Halloween, as she struggles to get her friends to agree to celebrate the holiday, only reinforces that point. Jess Day is someone that deeply cares about celebrations and traditions, and when she plans a party or a trip or, in this case, a Secret Santa, you can bet that she’ll go all-out for it and want every single moment to be perfect.

Everything about the loft’s Secret Santa is extremely important to Jess, and because this drama is built into her character, it feels real and significant in a way that conflicts in recent episodes haven’t. Jess’s concern over what to get Nick for Christmas, her frustration when he forces her to tell him that Reagan is his gift, and her disappointment over the fact that she ends up being forgotten during Secret Santa all stem from character rather than being dictated by the “needs” of the story. Is a Secret Santa the most high-stakes, tension-filled event that’s ever been featured on New Girl? No, but the drama here works because of Jess and who she is and has been on this show for nearly six years now; her character has seemingly lost her identity for much of Season 6, as she has been stuck in a poorly written romance, but “Christmas Eve Eve” reminds us that Jess has always had more to offer this show than what’s going on in her love life.   

The fact that everything in “Christmas Eve Eve” comes from true, honest character motivations rather than manufactured drama is also why the ending of this episode hits on such a deep emotional level despite how ridiculous it is. Jess mentions early on in “Christmas Eve Eve” that she would spend every Christmas looking out the window with her family, waiting for the snow to start falling as they listened to Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” so, of course, after Nick, Cece, and the rest of the loft-mates realize they messed up Secret Santa, they work together to somehow get Darlene Love herself to serenade Jess outside of the apartment building as Reagan pours fake snow from the roof. Robby explains how they were able to convince the famous singer to come out in one quick line of dialogue, but it doesn’t really matter; watching these longtime friends dance and sing together with the fake snow surrounding them is an incredibly satisfying image to end the half hour (and the year of 2016) on, especially since it invokes memories of Jess and the guys’ first Christmas together from the Season 1 episode, “The 23rd.”

This commitment to characterization impressively continues on past Jess’s major storyline and into some of the smaller moments of “Christmas Eve Eve” as well, including Schmidt’s realization that his wife might be a little weirder than he first thought. Schmidt acknowledges this fact after seeing the odd but strong connection between Cece and Winston, as Winston makes her a beanbag chair out of blankets after the one he buys for her online doesn’t come in time for Secret Santa. While Schmidt thinks Cece will hate the gift, she, of course, loves it since it reminds her of the Pictionary night she and Winston had together, another classic Winston-and-Cece mess-around that we didn’t get to see in its entirety but that we do get a fun flashback to.

For a couple of seasons now, Cece and Winston have become a fan-favorite pairing, as their storylines always bring out the weirdest sides of each other to great comedic effect; however, their scenes together have always been emotionally powerful as well, none more so than last season when Cece asked Winston to be one of her bridesmaids. Any storyline we get that features the two of them together is a welcome one, and it’s nice to see other characters, such as Schmidt, recognizing the pair’s friendship now. Hopefully, this means that we’ll somehow get a Cece-Winston-and-Schmidt mess-around sometime later this season.

After a frustrating first half of Season 6, it’s encouraging to see New Girl end 2016 on such a high note. “Christmas Eve Eve” is easily one of the show’s best episodes of the season, and while it doesn’t wipe away the many mistakes New Girl has made this fall, it does have me excited for what’s to come on the show in 2017. We need this version of Jessica Day back on a consistent basis again, and we need this focus on the characters that matter most to continue throughout the new year. Here’s hoping 2017 and the remainder of Season 6 can bring us that.

Other thoughts:

  • Megan Fox returns as Reagan in “Christmas Eve Eve,” and even though she’s onscreen for less than a minute, it’s nice to have her back. It’ll be fun to see how her presence will change up the dynamic of the loft in the coming episodes, and if she will reignite the love triangle between her, Jess, and Nick.
  • Speaking of Jess and Nick, I loved that New Girl has Nick acknowledge Jess’s strange behavior throughout this first half of Season 6. It doesn’t excuse the inconsistent writing for Jess, but it’s good to see that other characters are recognizing her odd actions as well. And since Nick was the cause for so much of that strange behavior, it added a nice bit of tension to that scene, even though it ended in the predictably sad fashion that it did.
  • I have no idea if I’m spelling this right, but retired Rear Admiral Jay Garagaroo is Winston’s latest alias. He and Schmidt list other ones he’s come up with as well, including Kenneth, Rick Smits, Big Papi Jones, and Pontius Pilot. However, there was no mention of James Wonder, which I found a little disappointing.
  • Nick has a very interesting theory about the elves at the bar, who claim to work at the mall. “Because they’re all regular size, my theory is it’s a mall for giants.”
  • Nick and Schmidt’s “Jew thing” conversation, and the flashback that follows it, is easily the funniest moment of the episode and quite possibly one of the funniest moments ever on New Girl.
  • The group’s People v. O.J. costumes are terrific on their own, but what makes that opening flashback so damn good is Schmidt’s impression of John Travolta playing Robert Shapiro, especially because it’s something that Max Greenfield has clearly wanted to do for a while.
  • “Jess, Christmas is just so stressful, with the lists and the lines and the dancing girls at TV Town Song Room.” “TV Town Song Room? Do you mean Radio City Music Hall? How could you get so many things wrong in a row?”
  • “I’m thinking I go dressed as a fireman. I knock on the door, I reveal myself to be a stripper, and then I reveal myself to be Nick.”

What did everyone else think about this week’s New Girl, and what’s your favorite Christmas episode the show has done so far? Comment below and let me know.

[Photo credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX]

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