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New Girl Review: Talking About Feelings

9 Oct

On New Girl Jess talks too much and Nick doesn’t express how he feels enough. This is a fundamental difference between these two characters and Schmidt attempts to use this to fulfill his promise to break them up. As Schmidt majored in Nicholas studies he knows all of Nick’s weaknesses and he’s also tapped into Jess’ too, so he knows that suggesting something bedroom related will cause problems.

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Jess is still awkward about sex but it doesn’t come across as infantile as it did early in season 1 when she couldn’t say the word ‘penis.’ The incident only added to the eye rolls and criticism that Jess was just another version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Now the writers have found a way to focus on Jess’ sexuality in a way that still relies on the awkward but doesn’t make her come across as a child who has never encountered another person in this way before.

Jess gained confidence in her relationship with Sam last season and chemistry is not lacking between Nick and Jess. When they slept together for the first time in “Virgins” the episode ended with a tag that played on the reality of the moment and I can’t think of another show that has celebrated a couple getting together with 30 seconds of different facial expressions. Jess and Nick have not suffered in the bedroom department until Schmidt manages to get in Nick’s head causing an evening of impotence; the use of “Get Lucky” as Nick and Jess can’t manages to avoid being annoying even though it has been played to death all summer. Jess learns the all important lesson that it’s always too soon to make jokes about penis problems.

What Schmidt ends up doing is fixing the one issue that Nick and Jess have and that’s their communication issues – Jess talks too much, Nick not enough. This is after he has suggested a rather debauched sex move called “The Captain” and while we never find out exactly what this is it’s degrading not just to women but all of mankind. This is one way that network shows work around Standard and Practices (I’m so fascinated by the process of what is allowed and what isn’t like how they decide on how many thrusts are appropriate) and it tends to lend to more comedic moments. It lets the audience fill in the blanks of what Schmidt was saying each time he put the blender on and Max Greenfield shines when he is at his most deviant. Schmidt in his attempt to break up Nick and Jess goes all in and we find out that after he saw Titanic he founded The Zaniacs, a Billy Zane fan club. Winston of course has found memories of this movie for very different reasons. I’m not sure how it would work but I kind of want to see a Titanic themed episode of New Girl.

It’s pretty terrible what Schmidt is trying to do to his best friend and as he mentions he hasn’t seen Nick like this before, he’s too wrapped up in his own drama to see that Nick and Jess are actually good for each other even if their happiness is nauseating. When his initial plan has the opposite effect and Nick opens up – Jake Johnson showing once again that he is the best at random lists of things – Schmidt goes into full on crazy mode trying to physically come between Nick and Jess. Destroying all the condoms and eating Jess’ birth control pills is his last desperate move and counting down the days as he takes the pill is hilarious; “Full wheel bitches.”

This leads to a much needed loft meeting and while Schmidt thinks the pills have taken effect (“I’m so aware of my nipples right now) he also gets to hear some home truths about how he alone is the cause of his misery as he did indeed do a bad thing. It’s a scene that is important of where Winston is right now and each episode this season has put Winston in the role of the loft crazy. He’s still pretty out there in this episode as he misreads flirtation as someone else trying to get their cat laid, but he also speaks the most sense when he discusses boundaries and the personal and public space of a loft. It’s not necessarily a problem that Nick and Jess are happy and having fantastic sex but they also have to be aware of their housemates; this is a new dynamic for them to get a handle on too and they’re not exactly having a great time in their own personal lives right now.

It’s a really funny episode and probably strongest of the year so far and J.J. Philbin – who wrote “Injured” which is still my favorite episode – layers the script with jokes and pathos. We get to the heart of some of the issues that have arisen in these early episodes like Schmidt not taking control of his situation, as well as character flaws that have existed forever on this show like Nick’s inability to reveal his feelings – “If we needed to talk about feelings they would be called talkings.” Highlights include Nick stumbling his way through conversations with the repeated tactic of moving his car and generally grunting or not finishing sentences all while looking mortified. Zooey Deschanel excels when she gets to yell at Schmidt with disgust about what she just did “And my night vision is very good because my eyes are so buggy and big and I saw everything and I can’t erase it from my memory.” The big eye gags are always a winner.

What this season is doing with Nick and Jess is showing that with Nick especially he does have the ability to change and by the end of the episode he won’t shut up about how he feels. One thing that’s clear from these opening four episodes is that the writers have a handle on the Nick and Jess side of the story and it’s the other two roommates that have become the problematic ones in terms of the overall story. There is acknowledgement from Winston that he is having issues (he is after all running a cat brothel out of his bedroom) and Schmidt is aware that he’s also messed up. It will be interesting to see where they take them from here especially as Damon Wayans Jr. will be turning up rather soon for an extended arc.

 

 

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One Response to “New Girl Review: Talking About Feelings”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Girl Review: What’s in the Box? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 16, 2013

    […] were feelings of discontent in the loft on last week’s episode of New Girl and that continues with “The Box” as Nick and Jess get into their first […]

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