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New Girl 3.10 “Thanksgiving III” Review: “Hurts so Good”

27 Nov

It’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving on New Girl and as Jess points out their indoor celebrations haven’t exactly gone well – ruined turkey, a dead body and mom crushes – so camping is going to be a hoot, right? Nick feels like he has something to prove as Coach has called his manhood into question and this prompts this trek into the great outdoors. All Jess wants is to celebrate with all of her friends and instead it’s an episode that explores the insecurities of half of the group, I mean it wouldn’t be a sitcom Thanksgiving without some shenanigans.

NG_310-17_0162This is the first episode where all six regulars (I’m counting Coach as a regular as he’s staying for the rest of the season) have been part of the same overarching story. Thanksgiving is of course a time of coming together and it can also be a source of conflict so it makes sense to divide the group in two; Nick, Schmidt and Coach as the ‘hunters’ and Jess, Cece and Winston as the ‘foragers.’ The hunters are the ones who feel like they have something to prove when it comes to their manhood as Nick wants to show Coach that he isn’t just about pink pants and cute invitations with dudes named Roger on them. Schmidt saw Coach smooching Cece so he’s sees this trip as a way to show that he is the best at something and that something is going to be camping – he’s done the research and he has an exact replica of the hat that Viggo Mortensen wore in Hidalgo. Nick brings no food and 96 beers for their feast (that’s a generous 16 each) as he thinks that hunting for food will help restore his manliness.

It’s a bonehead idea of course and the man chant that Schmidt and Coach join in with shows they’re just as ridiculous as Nick is with this plan. Nick walks the line of insufferable for the first half of the episode, but he manages to pull it back because he is aware of how stupid some of this is. This relationship with Jess has changed things for Nick, yet at the heart of it all he is still an incredibly insecure guy and he does have a habit of being easily influenced by negative remarks from others. This happened last season when Jess’ dad told Nick that he wasn’t good enough and he’s very reactionary to comments that call his worthiness into question.

The fish that Nick does catch is already very dead (“Yes it is. No regrets”) and it’s one eye away from being the nuclear fish from The Simpsons. When he realizes the foragers have been to a store, he overreacts and says he feels betrayed – the found on a bush gag gets funnier the more it is offered up as a source. For a lot of this season Nick has been the one who has been holding everything together when various meltdowns occur and this role of sensible one does get passed around the group; Winston and Cece share that crown this week. None of them have it all figured out which is why the group dynamic can shift like this. Jess in her attempt to have a shared fun Thanksgiving indulges Nick’s behavior and this is what leads to her ending up in the hospital as she eats some of the very terrible looking fish (“Hurts so good”).

Nick might be Jess’ “mountain man” but he also has some very inaccurate beliefs when it comes to both nature and history – he doesn’t think that anything purple can grow in nature, he tells a story about George Washington milking a cat and he thinks the first Thanksgiving was the bad one. He also dives head first into his bear hole to rescue a delirious Jess which prompts Winston’s amazingly confused “Head first. Why?” response. On this occasion Nick definitely isn’t the smartest. Nick does have very sweet sounding dreams that involve brushing a horse.

The Schmidt/Coach friendly-ish rivalry is of course Cece related as Coach hasn’t divulged what happened on their date and Schmidt believes it went a lot better than it did. Schmidt thinks that Coach is better at everything so he finds it impossible to hide his joy when Coach reveals that Cece has been ignoring him since their date. I’m not sure how I feel about the construction of this love triangle and I want to see Cece as part of the group without the romantic drama. This is why I’m glad that Cece spent most of her screen time with Winston in “Thanksgiving III” as they shared their disdain for this whole outdoor plan.

Winston doesn’t lose man points for opting to not go on the hunt; he’s more than comfortable with who he is in this regard and in this scenario he doesn’t have anything to prove. The only hunt Winston is interested in is either Bonnie or Helen and even though he’s left hanging after this gag it definitely made me laugh. This is Winston reclaiming his sensible throne, though we get flashes of the other Winston as he really wants to make the craziest mugs. Plus the cats on his thermals are totes cute.

The Nick and Jess relationship has followed sitcom conventions with the whole will they/won’t they set up, but it has also been trying to circumvent some of the other traditions. We have had the crossed 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 end up in a mid season breakup followed by a reconciliation at the end of the season. I could be very wrong, but we are pretty much at the halfway point and so far their conflicts have been pretty minor. This could be thanks to their living situation as a breakup would definitely divide the group and we have seen this all too often in sitcom land, there is of course the second apartment now so this could still be an option.

This is an episode that has Jess playing along with Nick’s plan and it ends up with her getting poisoned which results in hallucinations (“Extension AC Slater”) and a belief that she may or may not be a rabbit. Zooey Deschanel does an excellent job with the mostly incoherent ramblings. There is also a lot of (thankfully off screen) vomit and she might still be drugged up, but she seems pretty ok with this turn of events. Jess reinforces the notion that Nick is already the guy that she wants and hopefully this will placate some of his worries. The return of Coach has allowed the further exploration of Nick and Schmidt’s insecurities as well as revealing some of his own and this is a good thing, even if I wanted to yell at Nick for half of the episode for being such an easily swayed bozo.

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2 Responses to “New Girl 3.10 “Thanksgiving III” Review: “Hurts so Good””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Girl 4.06 “Background Check” Review: “It Looks Like Your Body is Crying” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 5, 2014

    […] it down her bra. We have seen Jess high on a couple of occasions from painkiller side effects and bad fish; this time Jess claims the meth has gone through her boob skin and she’s experiencing a drug […]

  2. New Girl 4.09 “Thanksgiving IV” Review: “Life Moves Really Fast” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - November 26, 2014

    […] Girl’s Thanksgiving episodes are always chaotic – dead people, Parent Trap plans and fish with psychotropic properties – and by bringing the whole group together it showcases the best of New Girl. Jess disrupted […]

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