You’ll struggle to find a sitcom that doesn’t have a burgeoning romance at the heart of it. New Girl still includes this but rather than focus on protagonist Jess and a singular drawn-out relationship, it instead plays this out through two key supporting characters. Schmidt and Cece’s ‘will they, won’t they?’ relationship is arguably the Ross and Rachel of our generation (although nothing will beat Ross and Rachel, amiright?).
As the new series focuses on their upcoming wedding, we look back on their topsy-turvy, modern romance.
Schmidt’s early interest in Cece was unsurprising; Cece is a beautiful model and party girl, and Schmidt is something of a womaniser. He took pride in not bedding the same woman twice. All of the guys are initially infatuated with Cece, with her first visit to the flat an awkward one where they all stare at her. Schmidt in particular is taken with her, vowing to win her over. Cece is initially repulsed, but softens after a drunken night that sees Schmidt give up his bed and take care of her. She lets him hold her hand, and it’s a tender moment. But the tenderness ends quickly, as Cece tells him she’ll kill him if anyone finds out. Sweet.
Her shame defines much of their early relationship. It first begins when they sleep together – a fact she’s desperate to keep under wraps. Schmidt, on the other hand, wants to tell the whole world that he’s slept with beautiful model Cece. Their relationship blossoms from just sleeping together, to being a couple. In the current dating era, with apps like Tinder, Grindr and Happn offering immediate hook-ups and no-strings-attached sex, this is how many current relationships start and therefore it’s relatable to the young audience.
Most of her concern stem from Schmidt’s behaviour; his macho bravado and insistence that they’ll end up together. It’s clear she’s into him, and it could be to do with her early denial that anything would ever happen between the pair. Because, let’s face it, who wants to admit that they’re hooking up with a self-proclaimed f***boy? Her insecurities are also at play; Schmidt is keen to ‘show her off’ and brag to everyone that she is his. Her career as a model teaches her to value her looks above everything else, and Schmidt’s desire to show her off only reinforces that. All of the men she’s dated previously did the same.
After their relationship became public, Cece had a pregnancy scare. It’s a terrifying moment for her that so many young women can relate to. Schmidt’s reaction, however, is unexpected; he’s over the moon, in sharp contrast to Cece’s terror. It’s refreshing to see this role reversal, and it reinforces the fact that Schmidt’s feelings are stronger than Cece’s. He even plans to propose to her, but manages to hide it from her when they find out she’s not pregnant, but her reaction is to tell him she wants to cool down the relationship.
Schmidt responds in a typically male fashion, by sleeping with Cece’s Russian model roommate Nadia, who breaks his penis. Serves you right, Schmidt! The pair reconcile after this unfortunate incident, because what’s a more romantic way to fix a relationship than having your roommate break your man’s penis?
It doesn’t last long, however. Schmidt gets jealous because Cece seems to get closer to a male model she works with. This culminates in him checking her phone and seeing text messages between the two. Geez, wasn’t everything less complicated before mobile phones? He flips and dumps her, telling her he doesn’t love her. Yeah, because that’s believable…
Cece reaches breaking point after this and asks her parents to set her up with an Indian man. The implication here is that this will result in an arranged marriage. She gets together with Shivrang, but continues looking for an Indian boyfriend, attending a speed dating event. Schmidt is furious that nobody is interested in Cece, and starts bigging her up to all of the guys there, who take an interest in Cece. He’s pretty pissed off. What did you think was going to happen when you’re shouting about how great she is, Schmidt?
Fast-forward a little bit, and Cece and Shivrang are engaged. Schmidt is devastated, but tries hard to keep up his friendship with Cece. She promises him a plus-one to her wedding and, determined not to show up alone, he starts contacting his exes. His college girlfriend, Elizabeth, agrees to go with him because he’s no longer fat, and they reconnect. Elizabeth isn’t your typical leading lady; she’s heavier than any of the women we’ve seen on the show, and she’s not ‘conventionally’ attractive.
Schmidt and Elizabeth begin dating again, and he falls in love with her. It’s nice to see this softer, less shallow version of Schmidt. It’s also interesting to see that Elizabeth is the shallow of the two, only agreeing to it because he’s not fat any more.
In typical TV fashion, there’s drama at the wedding. Schmidt is determined to stop it, while Jess tries her best to stop him. He does this because he’s convinced that Cece and he had an ‘eye conversation’ where she supposedly told him she didn’t want to marry Shivrang.
His friends are sceptical, but he enlists the help of Nick and Winston, and eventually he falls through the ceiling on the stage just as the ceremony is about to finish. Cece shocks us all by confessing that she can’t marry Shivrang because she’s still into someone else, and even more surprisingly,, Shivrang admits the same thing. It seems like the perfect ending for our dysfunctional couple…but what about Elizabeth?
Schmece fans were acreaming at the TV as he dated then both; Cece was finally ready to be Schmidt’s girlfriend, publically and officially – why would he risk that when he’d been dreaming about it from the moment they met? It’s clear, however, that Schmidt is tormented by his love for both women. Still though, not cool. Cece eventually finds out and it breaks her heart, as well as plenty of hearts around the world. Is this dream couple doomed?
Their relationship becomes strained after this, with Cece struggling to come to terms with the fact that Schmidt hurt her, especially as he’d always been smitten with her. There’s still a spark, however. Cece gets protective over Schmidt when Jess’ no-good sister Abby turns up and tries to take advantage of him. Schmidt sets up Cece with a man at his Thanksgiving sex party, but when he doesn’t show up, Cece wonders if it was all a ruse. He eventually does show up…but Cece turns him away in favour of spending time with Schmidt. Schmidt gets a mean girlfriend, and when she criticises him, Cece tells him he can do better.
Schmidt and Cece fans finally got the moment they were waiting for when Schmidt proposed to Cece in the season 4 finale, as the pair finally admitted their feelings to one another. The not-so-fairytale romance looked to have a happy ending as we enter season 5. The first episode of the new show, however, suggests it still isn’t going to be an easy ride for the complicated couple, as Cece’s mother doesn’t approve of the groom-to-be. Will it be a happy ending after all?
It’s clear that they’re head over heels for each other, and on paper the relationship shouldn’t work, but it does.
New Girl is on E4 at 9pm on Thursday evenings, and shows on FOX in the US.