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'New Girl' fan finale recap: A five-dollar bill

Season 4 | Episode 22 | “Clean Break” | Aired May 5, 2015

Warning: If you have not watched the season 4 finale of New Girl, proceed with caution. There are BIG TIME spoilers ahead!

I think it’s safe to say that the writers of New Girl really know how to end a season. Saying good-bye to Coach is dramatic by itself. Then they add a layer of “will they or won’t they” sexual tension between Jess and Nick. And if that weren’t enough, Schmidt races off to climb a mountain when he learns that Cece is still in love with him.

But nothing would have prepared me for the final moments. WHAT AN ENDING!

I’m clearly jumping ahead of myself. Let’s start at the very beginning. Jess is determined that Coach will remember her name after he leaves the loft. It’s true that he called her Jebecca when he moved back in last year, but that will never happen again, thanks to a homemade photo cube. It’s time to send Coach off to the Big Apple with a bang!

And by “bang,” I mean Winston wearing a Statue of Liberty costume, Schmidt pressing play on the jambox so Frank Sinatra can serenade the moment, and Nick holding a Donald Trump wig. We’re going to miss you, Coach.

It’s a good thing Coach is completely uninterested in sentimental good-byes. He has a moving code: Take only what you need to survive. If it doesn’t fit in his duffel, it’s left behind. This includes the Jebecca cube and the Regis Philbin crepe pan.

Coach’s clean-break mentality forces Schmidt and Nick to analyze the importance of their own possessions. For Nick, it’s an ant farm full of candy wrappers. For Schmidt, it’s his Cece Memory Box full of hand-drawn pictures of their mixed-race child and a five-dollar bill. Both decide that purging is the right decision.

Winston rushes to Jess’s room to vent. Cece is in love with Schmidt! They have to call her and let her know that Fawmidt is no longer (and never should have been) a thing. Since she’s schlepping up a mountain, Brown Lightning is forced to leave a message informing Cece that Fawn is not riding shotgun.

Winnie and Jess head back to the common area to find Schmidt debating whether he should toss a random coffee mug. Hold up, mister. That particular mug just so happens to be Jess and Nick’s sex mug. Allow me to explain.

Back in the day, when Nick and Jess were an item, if one left the mug out on the table, that was code for “sexy time.” Unfortunately, Winston has photographic proof that the mug was recently out in the open. Who cares that he was taking a selfie with his cat? THE MUG WAS OUT. The boys all blame Jess’s “look at me” skirt as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Finally, Nick admits that he resurrected the sex mug, but nothing happened. Jess follows Nick into his room to thank him for covering for her. Chalk it up to a moment of weakness. Pink wine mixed with Nick lunging and an oscillating fan equals trouble. I can understand why.

New Girl

Jess wonders if there’s anything she can do to make Nick want to put the mug out? Nick doesn’t hesitate. The answer is no. It’s a clean break.

Meanwhile, Coach has graduated to a bigger bag. Winston tears up as Coach roams around the apartment, shoving random items into his suitcase. He knows that the remote control (which he is stealing) will definitely miss the TV (which is staying). Slowly but surely, the two friends break down over Coach’s pending departure. TEARS!

Across the hall, Nick confesses to Jess that he sometimes thinks about putting the mug out. Just as things get interesting, Schmidt barges in to announce that he just paid $500 to get back his box of Cece memories that he shoved in a donation box. He knows he needs to move on, but he just couldn’t part with the five-dollar bill that reminds him of the first time he met the woman of his dreams.

Jess officially cracks under the pressure. She tells Nick, in front of Schmidt, that Cece is still in love with Schmidt. In a flash, he’s racing out to try and find her on the mountain. When he opens the door to leave, Cece is standing there.

Schmidt: Are you in love with me? Because I’m in love with you. Deeply.
Cece: I’m in love with you.

He pulls out the five-dollar bill, and we flash back to the first time Schmidt and Cece met. Schmidt tells Cece, in his best d-bag voice, that he’s going to marry her. She makes him put money in the jar. But he doesn’t. He keeps the five-dollar bill. It was extremely sweet.

Back in the present, Schmidt explains to Cece that he’s known from the moment he met her that he wanted to marry her. So he gets down on one knee and proposes. AND SHE SAYS YES!

With Coach leaving and Schmidt and Cece engaged, the only thing left to do is get rid of the sex mug. Nick and Jess ceremoniously throw the mug away. And both come back in the middle of the night to retrieve said mug, but neither of them find it. The mug has a new home now. As Ferguson’s cat mug, of course.

Well played, writers. Well played.

New Girl Notables
So long Cece. May some poor street urchin with a perfect 34D enjoy the sports bra you left in my car.

Coach: I’m taking this remote. Because you always hit the info button by mistake.
Winston: It’s not a mistake. I like to know about the cast and crew.
Coach: It smells like all our fingers.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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