Netflix recently added Season 5 of “New Girl,” and so of course, I binged. And this show does have a lot of great feminist messages, including a fabulous and dynamic female friendship between Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Cece (Hannah Simone), strong platonic relationships between men and women, and just literally using the work “feminist” casually throughout the seasons. Season 5, however, builds up to Cece and Schmidt’s wedding in the finale, so episodes include wedding dress shopping, bachelor/bachelorette party, venue shopping, everything you could think of that is wedding themed. Of course, this isn’t the first season that has focused on Cece getting married, in season 2 the plot of the season also revolves around her getting into an arranged marriage, which (spoiler alert) she decides not to go through with in the middle of the ceremony. And so it sort of comes down to why is it that marriage becomes the measure of a meaningful romantic relationship in these shows? What does that reveal about our own lived experiences navigating relationships and their meaning? After delving into the 50’s this week, it seems that the markers of a good and true relationship are still very similar decades later: marriage or it isn’t real. And though this could also be a feeling that a lot of us feel pressure to engage with (like when my grandmother calls and asks if an MA will get me a husband), I’m still waiting for a show to depict a relationship that is strong and good where the end point doesn’t have to be marriage. Where a show can instead revolve around the couple just living their lives, changing together, and not needing state recognition to ensure their total loyalty. That is a feminist message I want to see taken on, that’s a question I want explored in sitcom- what does a good relationship make without marriage? For Cece and Schmidt, we will never know.
Still from New Girl, “Landing Gear,” (Season 5, Episode 22, 2016.) Image from [http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-new-girl-ends-a-funny-season-on-schmidt-and-ceces-wedding-day]