New Girl Review: What’s in the Box?

16 Oct

There 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 proper couple fight and Schmidt hangs out in the pity pool after his recent (self induced) romantic woes. It’s not all doom and gloom as Winston gets to feature in both of these stories and not in the crazy way we have seen so far this season; setting up a cat brothel was his wake up call.

Nick's box New GirlNick and Jess are fundamentally different and it’s the whole opposites attract thing (plus you know all of the chemistry) that will help produce plenty of stories to stop this couple from becoming old hat. In the last episode Nick’s inability to express his feelings and Jess’ oversharing came up; this was more about Schmidt trying to come between them, rather than them stumbling over these issues. When Nick receives a paper bag with $8000 in cash from his dad it opens up a can of worms, or in this case Nick’s box of things he doesn’t want to deal with. This is primarily unpaid bills and instead of using this money to pay off these he goes on a shopping spree, followed by a drinking binge. Jess can’t resist going through Nick’s box and pays off these bills for him.

This isn’t the first time we have seen Nick’s very random financial situation (after all he has the credit score of a homeless ghost) and his reluctance to face up to things is a consistent character trait. Jess is the loft know-it-all (it is her pogo) and so these two things combined was always going to lead to a situation where Jess meddles and Nick gets mad. Jess realizes that she has made a mistake and her attempts to cover up what she has done is hilarious as she contemplating starting a fire and ends up under Nick’s bed, you know for the shade.

As arguments go they both have valid points as Jess has violated Nick’s trust by going through his private things, but his system is pretty dumb. Nick and Jess yelling things at each other is nothing new, but this is the first time they’ve yelled at each other as a couple and so the stakes are now higher. The word ‘box’ is used for maximum effect as Nick stumbles for a moment before he returns to being mad at Jess again. The random things he picks in her bedroom to question their existence vary from a drawer of night peanuts (a cousin of night cheese?), some bobby pins (or Bobby’s pins), enough yarn to make a mansion and Jess’ vintage purses which he throws out of the window because they don’t have enough gems on them.

Jess insists that she doesn’t want to change him; she just wants him to grow a little which I guess kind of sounds like the same thing. What I think she means is she’s happy with who he is there are just some fundamentals that need addressing. It’s all about character evolution and a lot of Nick’s hang-ups revolve around not feeling like he is worthy. He’s a screw-up but he is willing to address these issues. This episode is dealing with this side of Nick’s personality and how it plays into the bigger picture of their relationship. This is why Nick goes to open a bank account as when he comes out of his drunken haze he realizes that he would do anything for Jess. It goes both ways and Jess plays the Nick role as he resists complaining about the $8 processing fee, but Jess goes all in “I understood at least 30% of the financial crisis and guess what I got from that? You suuuuuuuck. You suuuuuuuck so hard.” And hey they don’t have to pay the fee, free $8!

One issue this episode has is cohesion and there’s something about Schmidt’s quest to find out whether he is a good person that doesn’t fit tonally with the rest of “The Box.” Schmidt is wallowing after his recent love mishaps that were caused by his inability to choose between Cece and Elizabeth and while I understand that his question plays on how selfish Schmidt can be, it doesn’t quite work. It feels like a reason to have him have a slap fight with Jon Lovitz in front of a class full of kids or to save someone’s life and make it all about him. I did enjoy the length of time we spent watching Schmidt run like Tom Cruise; Schmidt is definitely the kind of person who would practice and perfect this style of running but overall this story is lacking something. It feels like they are isolating Schmidt from the rest of the housemates and I wonder if this has anything to do with the former roommate who will be turning up soon?

nick owing winston moneyWinston got a lot of funny things to do that don’t involve him being crazy which is an instant bonus even if he did disappear for the middle of the episode. The gift of the candelabra is random but thoughtful; after hearing Nick’s breakdown of why gold, silver and brass are much better than paper I think he would have appreciated it a lot more than Schmidt did. I can also see why Winston ventures into crazy land with Ferguson the cat as it’s not always fun being the rational one in this loft. Oh and this is not the first time Winston has attempted to get money off Nick and he still hasn’t found a good way to get it back. Bribing Jess is at least more successful than his using the Memento method back in season 1.

This feels like an episode that might work better on rewatch and once again it’s the Schmidt plot that isn’t really flowing. The writers have a handle on Nick and Jess so far as a couple and giving them an episode of dealing with couple problems feels like natural progression, I just hope they can sort out the rest of the loft dynamic soon.

3 Responses to “New Girl Review: What’s in the Box?”


  1. New Girl 3.10 “Thanksgiving III” Review: “Hurts so Good” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 27, 2013

    […] wires episode (Taye Diggs) and the ‘don’t try and change me episode’ (“The Box“) but it does feel like they are creating a path for Nick and Jess that isn’t going to […]

  2. New Girl 3.16 “Sister” Review: “A Girl Who Looks Like me, but with Chaos in her Eyes” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - February 12, 2014

    […] last time Jon Lovitz appeared as Rabbi Feiglin was back in “The Box” when Schmidt was at a creative low and while his joke telling was pretty funny, this aspect […]

  3. New Girl 4.01 “The Last Wedding” Review: Fist of Fun | TV Ate My Wardrobe - September 17, 2014

    […] defender insisting that Nick and Jess weren’t the problem, even with episodes like “The Box” which had the pair yelling at each other for things they knew about each other prior to […]

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