In the New Girl universe, the spookiest things this Halloween are Schmidt’s relationship with a fake celebrity and the appearance of Zooey Deschanel’s elusive, ghostly forehead.
For an episode centering around a party, this week sure felt like it was more about tidying up plot lines than it was about having fun. Sure, there were Batman impersonations and a few pratfalls, but the real issue at hand seemed to be writing an end to Schmidt’s dark emotional saga – to get him to to suck it up and move on. Since a rabbi didn’t help last week, this time it was up to the roommates. Oh, and an imaginary Michael Keaton.
Turns out, Schmidt’s entire success in life is based on a prolonged celebrity catfish shenanigan, orchestrated by a desperate mother and a concerned best friend. Fake Michael Keaton is the reason Schmidt’s thin, the reason he’s confident with women, the reason anything good has ever happened to him. It’s kind of a mean, emotionally-manipulative prank – the kind that even upon first inception, you can’t imagine ever ending any way but badly – but it’s a prank borne of a desperate desire to see a loved one flourish. It’s also probably illegal, but if anything has ever called for dabbling in email fraud, I’d say six consecutive episodes of a bummer Schmidt is it. Even in depression, this season’s Downer Schmidt just keeps on ruining things, like Winston’s Jack-o-Lantern and Jess’s Halloween party. He’s also narrating the news and ruining good deli meats by wiping his eyes on them. (I’m more of an ice cream and “Gossip Girl” sad sack, myself, but to each his own.)
Were you expecting a blow-up when Schmidt discovered the truth? I wouldn’t blame you – he’s prone to hissy fits. But I think the show wanted to give us a break from his hysteria and let his emotional arc end with a gentle denouement instead. His feelings are hurt that Michael Keaton isn’t really Michael Keaton, but he doesn’t dissolve the way Nick (or the rest of us) fears he will. It’s more just a slow let-down that ends with calm apologies and loving acceptance that things need to change.
In slightly obscure character trivia this week, we learned that Winston hasn’t seen “The Truman Show” and wants to be Robin (not Batman). We also learned that Schmidt’s fat boy foods include cotton candy and cheddar cheese, and that he regularly cuts Winston’s hair. This last bit is a cute image to me; I like how it hints at a kind of intimate relationship between the two men that we’ve never witnessed. Foreshadowing?
My main question about this week’s episode: If Schmidt could afford to live alone all this time, why did he ever have three roommates? He and Cece wouldn’t have had to sneak around so much. He never would have accidentally shared a towel with Nick. No one would mistakenly use his hair chutney or ruin his suits with bathtub water. His occupancy across the hall should make for some good Seinfeld/Kramer-style back and forth with his neighbour pals, and allows a chance for Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.) to return and put everyone on their toes for a while. I also wonder if the writers wanted the chance for Schmidt to get new roommates in the future, too.
Either way, I say change is generally a good thing. What do you think? Are you excited by Schmidt’s move, or nervous about what this means for the group dynamic? Have you ever been beaten up by Trick-Or-Treaters? What foods do you eat when you’re sad?
Hannah McIlveen is a freelance graphic designer and TV-obsessed writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up riding horses and reading Roald Dahl books, got an art degree, and then spent the next several years moving around the country and watching television. Her greatest goals in life are to write good stuff, produce a web series, build a house with her husband, and have six cats at once. Hannah has contributed to BitchMagazine.org and is a staff blogger for the soon-to-launch TeenSized.com. She also writes her own daily blog, Click Watch Write. Hannah can be accosted on Twitter @ClickWatchWrite.