New Girl is a sitcom that has built up such good will that even when episodes are lackluster, they are never bad. And let’s be honest: There’s a lot of Season 4 that hasn’t lived up to the quality that we’ve come to expect from the show, instead being relatively solid episodes that fail to be memorable or to provide the sort of jokes that usually have viewers uncontrollably laughing. “Swuit” is a good example of that: Nothing is terrible, but there’s nothing that I want to quote to my friends or rehash on Wednesday morning. It’s an episode that shows how well the group works together, but we already know that, and there’s not much else happening.
What “Swuit” is good at is pushing Nick and Schmidt (but especially Nick) to somewhere new. It opens with a flashback to their college years, with Nick (probably stoned) hashing out an idea about a computer that’s the size of your hand and can take “self pictures.” Nick, as it turns out, basically invented the iPhone in his dorm room but the idea only, not the execution. We’ve learned plenty about Nick during the last four seasons but the one characteristic that has really stuck is that he’s lazy. He doesn’t want to do anything and has no motivation to better himself but is generally happy with his existence. It’s not a bad thing but it’s something that can be frustrating to his friends —especially Schmidt — who want him to be something more, something better, or at least a business partner whose ideas will result in quick cash.
Together, Nick and Schmidt invent the “swuit” which is a suit made out of sweatshirt material. It’s not the best idea they’ve ever had but it is such a Nick and Schmidt idea. But the two best friends (and this episode did reiterate just how strong and unique their friendship is) are stressed out about their Shark Tank meeting and are at odds with each other. Jess does her Jess thing and intervenes, causing the two to temporarily work together again, but then it ultimately backfires when they figure out she was scheming, and the two have another falling out. In between all that, they invent something else — a way for people to take perfect photos of their pets — and pitch that at the meeting instead. But they forget the prototype at home. But, as is the way with New Girl, everything sort of works out in the end Jess races to their meeting to save the day. After spilling coffee on herself she ends up having to wear the swuit to the meeting which gives us one of the best gags in the episode.
Meanwhile, Cece confesses to Winston and Coach that she can’t pay her college tuition — and that she can’t tell Jess because Jess would do anything to get Cece that money — and the two guys decide to “invest” in her by paying the bill themselves. It’s a good storyline in that it places three characters who are not usually in the same plot together and experiments with the chemistry of the show. It also provides some of the episode’s funniest moments, such as the two guys checking in on what Cece is learning and attending one of her classes in order to determine if their “investment” was worth it. They try to persuade her to pursue something more practical (oh, they’re going to be great parents!) but ultimately decide they’re OK with her major as long as she’s happy.
“Swuit” had some funny moments, yes, and some great ideas behind it but it didn’t fully click for me. It always felt like something was missing, or like everything was half-baked and rushed through. The one moment that did really stick was barely a scene, but just Nick casually dropping the news that his girlfriend Kai had broken up with him (we don’t see the breakup, which is a brave choice) because he is too ambitious. Nick! Ambitious! How great is that? But overall, “Swuit” was pretty forgettable.