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New Girl “Keaton” Review: “I’m the Batman”

23 Oct

Apartment 4D is home to a dysfunctional bunch and this Halloween themed affair explores the long standing friendship between Nick and Schmidt with a little Michael Keaton thrown in. New Girl has been suffering from a Schmidt problem this season and “Keaton” goes a long way to fix this and it also sets up a way for Coach to return next month. By focusing on what makes Schmidt insufferable as a roommate they’ve made him insufferable to watch for most of this season. This week Schmidt’s behavior is tinged with a whole lot of sadness and he stops being a burden as they focus on his friendship with Nick.

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There comes a time when a friend is spiraling that you will resort to anything to get them out of their funk and as Schmidt has entered the nihilistic yelling at the news/eating cold cuts out of a plastic bag stage it’s definitely time for desperate measures. I’m pretty sure I never want to see someone chug mayo as if it is whipped cream or eat a block of cheese like it is an apple ever again. Schmidt’s quest to find out if he is a good person last week did not do the trick, even with the gift of a random candelabra from Winston and so Winston thinks it’s time Schmidt got a letter from an old friend.

The old friend is Michael Keaton and shows that we all need a Batman in our lives when things get tough (there is definitely a paper that could be written about sitcoms to using Batman as a cipher for a character’s emotional state featuring Ben from Parks and Recreation and Community’s Abed). Michael Keaton started with Schmidt’s mother in a flashback sequence that includes a type writer that gives me a lot of Murder She Wrote vibes (it’s the magnifying glass that does it) and she passed the mantel to Nick when Schmidt started college. Nick has been Michael Keaton for 12 years and he’s hit the point where he doesn’t want to lie to Schmidt anymore.

Jess thinks it’s a great idea and this is partly fueled by the desire to have Cece at her Halloween party and so she takes over the catfishing duties. Jess doesn’t know how to utilize the Keaton voice as Nick does (who combines quotes from Nelson Mandela with Batman references) and of course it all falls apart and Schmidt figures out what they are doing. Drunk Jess thinks it’s a good idea to dress as Batman and pretend to be Michael Keaton all while attempting her best Batman growl. Of course this plan is ridiculous and hilarious as Zooey Deschanel shows how good she is when it comes to these super absurd moments.

They even get an out as Schmidt thinks that they have hacked Michael Keaton’s email account (keatonpotatoes@aol.com) but it’s all too much for Nick who reveals the entire letter writing scheme that started with Schmidt’s mother and has long since continued with Nick. Nick has always found it hard to talk about his feelings with both his best friends and girlfriends; last season’s “Models” showcased this with the still incredible “Gave me cookie, got you cookie” scene. Writing as Keaton allowed Nick to be both the best friend he is and the best friend he finds it hard to be and so when tells Schmidt “You don’t need Keaton, you got me” it’s an emotional step too far in the real world.

So what of Schmidt’s decision to move out? I actually don’t think there is much to worry about here as it definitely feels like a semi-organic way to get Coach back and after all he has only moved down the hall. Schmidt’s new roommate might be a ghost. Now that Schmidt won’t be at the loft all the time it means that it will be easier to incorporate Cece and the line about closure was definitely intended as a way to suggest it won’t be so weird if they are in the same room together. The Batmanmobile chat is hilarious as Jess can’t quite get her head around what Batman’s car is called. Adding an extra word to this makes sense as Jess has also been referring to herself incorrectly as “The Batman.”

After many solo storylines the last couple of episodes have been good for Winston as part of the ensemble and his enthusiasm for making pumpkins didn’t seem to be part of the same crazy Winston that we have seen this season. It’s a strong episode for the group as a whole and it plays on the dynamics of the long history of Winston/Nick/Schmidt versus the relatively short time they have known Jess. Oh and Winston, it’s ok as I’ve not seen the whole of The Truman Show either.

It’s Halloween which means costumes and I am not ashamed to admit that I love holiday themed episodes. The costumes on New Girl are just as bizarre as last year with Nick opting for the “what crap do I have lying around?” approach with Paper Mountain Trash King, Jess opts for another costume that is hard to figure out with Joey Ramona Quimby (perhaps topping last year’s zombie Woody Allen), Winston does a terrible David Letterman and Schmidt is a public serpent (which made me laugh a lot). The only one taking the sexy approach is Cece which involves a leopard print bralet and a tricorn hat; maybe she is a 17th century Scary Spice.

Moving forward is something that this episode allows Schmidt to do as he has reached his lowest point and the enabling of his roommates hasn’t helped; they need to call him out on his shit beyond the overflowing douchebag jar. We’re now at a place with New Girl where we know these characters well enough that progression like this needs to occur and it’s a shame that some aspects of this season haven’t clicked into place. While everything hasn’t worked I am glad to see this show attempting a variety of stories and the impending return of Coach will hopefully have a positive effect on this season.

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4 Responses to “New Girl “Keaton” Review: “I’m the Batman””

  1. David October 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    Where Can I get the dragon Costume that Schmidt wears?!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Out of the Box: Look of the Week | TV Ate My Wardrobe - December 16, 2013

    […] that time of year for Halloween themed episodes which means costumes! New Girl‘s Halloween party featured a couple of lesser known costumes including  Paper Mountain Trash King (otherwise known […]

  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

    […] Schmidt’s wingman and their BFF status hasn’t been explored all that much since “Keaton.” Schmidt accuses Nick of only caring about Jess and Nick is determined to be a good friend; […]

  3. New Girl 3.19 “Fired Up” Review: Firing Your Friends | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 12, 2014

    […] center stage. The Schmidt/Nick dynamic is one that has been lacking for most of this season (“Keaton” aside) and by hooking Jess and Nick up this soon, it has of course had an impact on how much […]

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