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New Girl 3.14 “Prince” Review: Finger Guns and Declarations

3 Feb

Nick’s big birthday gesture and the coin anecdote (which I’m still swooning over by the way) in the last episode suggested that things were moving in a pretty serious direction for the New Girl couple and there’s no better time to up the romantic ante than the post Super Bowl episode.

Sure they had to reinforce the notion that Jess is Nick’s girlfriend in the opening scene for any new viewers by mentioning this several times, along with the word panties. A word that normally skeezes me out, but much like the cake baking moist incident this is hilarious and the gag gets more ridiculous as it goes on – “Panty Hawk! I’d watch that show” – and it’s the punchline that sent me over the edge. In fact this episode delivers on both laughs and heart; while I don’t know how well the latter plays to a brand new audience there is of course Prince and he is amazing.

New Girl PrinceThe “I love you” moment on a sitcom can be rather fraught and New Girl switches the usual gender conventions with Nick blurting it out first and Jess replying with finger guns. Like their first kiss it just happens and it’s such a casual “Have fun, I love you” that it doesn’t sound out of place until everyone realizes that this is not something that has previously been uttered out loud and the things get super awkward. Maybe not as awkward as Jess having a panic attack and passing out when trying to say it back and then having all their friends share in Nick trying to take it back. Nick’s “I love you” reminded me not of another sitcom, but The Good Wife when Will ends a phone call to Alicia with an innocuous “love you.” This feels like higher stakes accidentally calling your teacher mom or dad, which I know I definitely did at least once and was mortified.

Nick’s generally been the one to make the first moves in this relationship, the only stumble on his part was when he found it hard to acknowledge that Jess was his girlfriend and that was more plot contrivance than anything else. Nick might have this grumpy exterior, but underneath it all he is a romantic at heart; the video from “Birthday” underlines this and if this big Super Bowl episode hadn’t been taking place I suspect this is when Nick would have said those three words.

So Jess is the one who is finding it hard to emote and in a crisis like this who better to help than Prince?!* Cece and Jess’ reaction when they tell the guys they’ve been invited to a party at Prince’s house is the perfect amount of crazy dancing and screaming. Jake Johnson ups this by once again showing just how high pitched he can make his scream; it might even top his Halloween haunted house effort. Prince’s role is to provide love and style advice for Jess; there’s a whole training montage and instead of running there’s ping-pong and a variety of outfits. Pancakes and some time in a dark cupboard help Jess with her fear problem and the reaction to the first time Prince whispers in her ear is perfect. Repeating the not being able to hear a whisper gag results in Jess yelling “I love you, Nick Miller” resulting in all the warm and fuzzy feelings. This show.

Also adding to the sweet emotional core is Schmidt’s story and quite a lot of this season has placed him on the outside looking in. First there was his two-timing and then he moved out; Schmidt’s always been about striving for an ideal that doesn’t really exist. After all his dream BFF is Kanye. Instead he realizes that his dingbat friends are the ones that he should want to be around. This isn’t settling, it’s just Schmidt finally understanding that what he’s got already is really pretty great. Silly games like lemon mouth are way more fun than the VIP area anyway and he still gets to dance on stage with Prince. In fact Schmidt’s trajectory this season has been much like the show itself, it got a little lost and now it has found its way back and we’re out of the New Girl slump. It’s a good thing that they turned it on for an episode that’s going to get a whole lot more eyeballs too.

Coach and Winston get to be the cool guys at the party with their “Fire and Ice” play that both Nick and Schmidt mocked and it not only gets them into the party, but also helps charm supermodels (that’s Victoria Secrets’ Alessandra Ambrosio and Ana Beatriz Barros). This is ruined by drunk Nick and his assertion that one day they will be replaced by robots. The product placement gag works a lot better than the season 2 episode “Models” as Nick yells at Coach for getting turned on by the gas mileage. Winston has felt this once, it was a Thursday. Product placement is one of those things that I know shows have to do so I don’t mind it too much, especially when it is done like this and shade is thrown.

Flashback gags of Nick dressed as Prince and Winston screaming “I love you” pretty much sent me over the edge and this is a very funny episode, it’s definitely the most I have laughed this season. All the bases are covered with awkward humor aplenty, strong visual gags like the guys at the washing machine and pretty much all the reactions to being in the presence of Prince – when he forgives Jess it is my everything.

There’s a definite sense of wish fulfillment as not only Jess gets to sing with Prince – she knows the words because Prince is magic – but her friends also get to join in. Yes even Nick with his terrible dancing. It’s fitting in a way that Cece ends the episode playing ping-pong with Prince as the rest of the group reflect on the crazy of their night as she needs a win; this is a great way to do so.

A really fun episode and one that used the huge guest start to not only propel the overall New Girl story forward, but also basks in the ridiculousness of this moment. There will be another New Girl episode this week and I’m pretty damn excited as while he is not Prince, Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) will be guest starring.

* My “reason why I love Prince” story comes courtesy of my first proper New Year’s Eve party when it turned from 1998 to 1999. I was 16 and in London at a house party and I felt like a super cool grown up (I really wasn’t – later that night I fell down a curb and some tube station stairs because of the too tall heels I couldn’t walk in and miraculously it was the curb that hurt the most). We thought that playing “1999” was so obvious, but really dancing and singing along to it is one of my fondest teen memories. 

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3 Responses to “New Girl 3.14 “Prince” Review: Finger Guns and Declarations”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. New Girl 3.15 Review: Can You Be Friends with an Ex? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - February 5, 2014

    […] the Super Bowl episode where Nick’s feelings accidentally fell out of his mouth, this is classic Nick Miller in that […]

  2. New Girl 3.17 “Sister II” Review: The Dangers of Sky Knife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - February 26, 2014

    […] It’s not that this episode is terrible, it’s just there is too much going on and my expectations are maybe too high as a result of the Linda Cardellini factor. It does feel more cohesive than some of the early season 3 episodes and yet it is still missing the spark that some of the other 2014 episodes have possessed (see “Birthday” and “Prince“). […]

  3. New Girl 4.15 “The Crawl” Review: “The Crawl is for All” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - February 11, 2015

    […] has a different relationship quandary and as we have seen in the past with the finger guns situation she has a tendency to avoid declarations that come out of the blue. When Ryan asks her to move in […]

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