I watched those episodes, and what I was put in mind of was that first season of Cheers—where every episode ended with Sam and Diane having a little conversation about something around the episode that had just happened. They talked about something that happened, or they discussed something that had a broader thematic impact on the show as a whole. It was a very strange structure at the time—and still is—because nobody has really captured and copied that structure. They copy the part of, the people almost kiss and then they don’t! They copy all that—but they don’t copy the friendship that is growing between the two people, that sort of blossoms into something else. I think that was New Girl’s stealth secret weapon. It rediscovered that.
I was, from the very start of the show, kind of against the whole idea of Jess and Nick getting together. It was something that I detected very early on, that the seeds were being planted, and I kind of railed against it for a long time in my reviews. I was really upset at this notion that the show was going to try to force a will-they/won’t-they so quickly and so—sort of, conveniently, I kind of felt. But it really did build into something great. The episode that they finally kiss, “Cooler,” is just such a well-constructed episode in and of itself. And then it builds to that crescendo, that giant kiss that Nick and Jess share together, and it’s so perfectly timed and filmed. They found such a perfect spark. It’s such a weird and difficult balance and alchemy, to get that kind of moment correctly, and New Girl just did all the right work for it. It kind of caught me by surprise that it was going to play off that well.