New Girl has come a long way, baby. Jess and Nick's relationship is a distant memory. Schmidt has an intriguing new love interest and is no longer acting like a complete tool. And Winston has a real job, and subsequently no time to be strangely obsessed with his cat. However, for all of the strides the Fox comedy (Tuesdays, 9/8c) has made this season, there is still one area that could use some improvement: Cece (Hannah Simone). Jess' lifelong best friend has been with the show since the very beginning, but still struggles to get quality story lines. So far this season, Cece has considered getting her breasts reduced, fought with Jess, gotten Coach and Winston to help her pay for college and unsuccessfully tried to hit on an old high school crush (that is, until she realized she still had feelings for Schmidt). Like Nick and Jess, most fans ultimately want Schmidt and Cece to get together but until that time comes, the writers need to find other ways to flesh out Cecilia and give her her proper due. Here's a few tips:
1. Make her more quirky. Jess is earnest, awkward and adorkable. Nick has a serious anger problem and tends to be lazy. Schmidt can be douchey and materialistic. Winston is desperate for approval. Coach can be a little bossy. Cece is.... Try to fill in the blank. Sure, she's a genuinely nice, smart girl who also happens to be extremely attractive, but in a group like the one on New Girl, the more off-the-wall personality traits and crazy quirks shown, the more viewers will get the opportunity to grow attached. As nice as it is to have one sane voice in the mix, giving Cece a little more personality could go a long way.
2. Expand her universe. Back when Cece was a model, she also lived with other models - a fact that New Girl explored time and time again thanks to hilarious recurring characters like Cece's Russian roommate Nadia. It also gave Cece plenty of opportunities for hilarious workplace scenarios - remember the time Jess subbed in for her as a car model? Now that Cece works at the bar, she basically only seems to interact with Jess, Nick, Schmidt, Winston, Coach and her boss Mike. So instead of getting her own story lines, she's forced to stand behind the bar and serve the other characters drinks while they go on and on about their lives. Why not give Cece a crazy new roommate? Or introduce some interesting new characters at her college that she has classes with? It's understandable if the writers are afraid of taking too sharp of a left turn on Cece after four seasons, but at least give her a life outside of the gang, especially since she's the only one who doesn't live in the loft and is therefore most likely to actually have one.
3. More origin stories. Viewers know that Cece grew up in Portland before moving to Los Angeles, basically only because viewers know that Jess grew up in Portland before moving to Los Angeles. But despite the group trip to Oregon last week for Jess' dad's wedding, Cece didn't seem to have nearly the same emotional and intimate connection to the city of weird that Jess did. Why is that? If she and Jess hadn't grown up together, would it be remotely possible to tell where Cece grew up? Not really. The closest fans have come to getting to know Cece's family came in Season 2 when she almost married Shivrang, but even then, the focus was more on the unresolved romantic tension between her and Schmidt than anything else.
4. Strengthen Jess and Cece's bond. These two have been friends since they were very young and, as so many flashbacks have explained, despite their vast differences. Yet, unlike other TV female BFFs like Leslie and Ann (Parks and Recreation), Liz and Jenna (30 Rock), and Maggie and Emma (Playing House), it doesn't feel like Jess needs Cece to quite the same extent. Now that she's lived with the guys for so long, she has learned to go to them occasionally for advice and grievances, and since none of the other characters have a deep connection with Cece, if Jess doesn't need her, then the question becomes does the show need her? The show needs to turn that "no" into a "yes" to keep New Girl from becoming the male-dominated Mindy Project. Another way to solve this problem would be to reintroduce some of Jess and Cece's mutual friends such as Sadie (played by the always hilarious June Diane Raphael).
5. Give her a love interest. A really good one. Thanks to Cece's looks and her personality, she's been able to bag her fair share of good looking guys on New Girl: a pre-Arrow Stephen Amell and Buster, the looker from Down Under. But she never seemed to have a passionate connection to them or her long-term love interests, Robbie and Shivrang. Putting Cece in a happy, healthy serious relationship with someone not so quite straight-laced would no doubt help bring out her new parts of her personality viewers have not yet seen. Schmidt's story lines struggled last year after he cheated on both Cece and his college girlfriend Elizabeth with the other, but he's rebounded nicely this season thanks in no small to the amazing and endlessly quotable Fawn Moscato. Maybe Fawn has a brother? Just asking!
What do you think New Girl should do with Cece? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Fox.