New Girl 4.05 “Landline” Review: “Shut it Down”

15 Oct

When five people live together boundaries are probably going to get crossed and this doesn’t even factor in the two characters on New Girl who still live together after a break up or that Schmidt and Nick are still sleeping in the same room. After sharing one phone charger in season 2, now there is only one good spot in the loft for phone reception – a new building has messed with the previously good signal – and that spot happens to be the window by Nick’s bed.* This intrusion is solved by the purchase of a landline phone and I kind of wish they’d gone further down the retro path with a rotary dial or even a burger phone as the visual gags would keep on coming. Taking messages for people is no longer common place and as Nick is the only one in the house during the day he takes his new found role and runs with it. The phone also reveals Coach has been sleeping with the school nurse and as Jess is now vice-principal this is a matter that crosses the work/personal line so she will have to address it in the workplace; enter shenanigans (and a new super cute teacher).

*I remember what is now long ago being at my grandpa’s house in the middle of nowhere trying to text the boy I liked from the only good spot in the entire house, pretty much hanging out of a window in freezing cold temperatures. I am smooth.

New Girl 4.05Despite attempts to date/hook up Jess has so far not really connected with anyone to a point beyond a conversation, not at a wedding, with a dating app nor with the micropenis dude. So it’s some kind of bad luck that she has chemistry with the one guy she isn’t allowed to date and this is the new science teacher Ryan (who also has a particularly hard surname to pronounce). I’m jumping ahead here and after lecturing Coach about sleeping with his co-workers and making him fill in HR forms, Jess herself gets flustered when she is introduced to Mr. Geauxinue included messing up his surname so much she says “goes in me.” Coach witnesses all of this and instantly recognizes why Jess has turned into a bumbling mess and this leads to a very funny faculty meeting where Coach causes Jess to mess up her “Shut it down” demonstration by hitting Ryan in the bikini suit area.

Coach probably shouldn’t be defining himself at school as the guy who has sex with everyone – so far this seems to be one of Coach’s only defining traits, c’mon show you can do better than that – and Jess is right to note there are certain stipulations in place for a reason, however she realizes that no amount of paper work or hand gestures are the solution. What follows is a classic story obstacle set up; just as Jess is about to approach Ryan in a dating capacity she is informed her position as an administrator means she can’t date anyone who is in a position below her, which means Ryan. The forbidden fruit trope is nothing groundbreaking, but it’s fun seeing Jess getting extra awkward and Zooey Deschanel has a strong rapport with guest star Julian Morris. Plus he has excellent cardigan game so hopefully we will get to see more from him soon.

Back in the loft Nick is mooching about by himself after his suggestion of beers and a catch-up with Schmidt and Winston is dismissed as they are too busy with police academy work and interview prep for Business, Man magazine. Nick (and to a certain extent Cece, who briefly appears this week to record a voicemail message that is too steamy for Schmidt even when she goes full deadpan) is the only character who is still adrift when it comes to his career and the landline gives him both a purpose and a connection to his friends he feels has been missing. By taking everyone’s messages during the day he finds out Winston has been dating a woman called Judy and Schmidt is looking to get a spoiler for his car. The messing up of the spoiler alert gag is hilarious, but also reveals the depths of despair Nick has reached. Nick comes across as a parent in this moment trying to find out what the kids have been up to and getting not much back in return.

Taking it further Nick indulges in a three-way phone call to give them their messages in one of the funniest sequences in the episode. Schmidt calls it a teleconference call, but I prefer the terms of teenage years long gone. Unlike Winston, my best phone position is sitting crossed legged in the hallway. Now I’m feeling nostalgic for landline chats and all those hours I spent talking about nothing with people I had spent all day talking to at school. Today the landline in my house knocks out the wi-fi connection for 30 seconds whenever it rings (who knows why) and the only calls are from telesales and robots. No warm and fuzzy feelings there.

Nick sings himself a theme song for his new found role with “I’m a very good secretary” even though he’s actually kind of terrible at it. He takes it upon himself to break up with Judy for Winston and send in a photo to Business, Man magazine of Schmidt and he manages to mess up both. The photo he sends of Schmidt is the most recent he has and he looks like he’s in the middle of telling Nick to fuck off, which in the end works out well for the ‘bad boy’ image the magazine profile creates for him. Winston should have probably broken up with Judy himself and Nick shouldn’t have crossed this line even if he does want to reconnect with his friends. There are better ways to go about this and they probably don’t end with someone recreating the big gesture moment from Say Anything.

Eating bowls full of jelly during the day – Nick pretty much has a bowl of something on the go throughout the episode – and finding comfort in taking other people’s messages is a cry for help of sorts from Nick; will this season be the one where Nick finds purpose? Nick doesn’t tell Schmidt about his interview as a result of the answer machine replacement service and when the answer machine fails to record the message Winston has to step up and use his excellent phone skills. Winston is socially awkward in real life, but dynamite on the phone (cue hilarious flashback) and scores the kind of douchey profile Schmidt thinks is the dream. Winston even remembers to include the acronym Schmidt has for his own name – Some Can Have Money, I Desire Thoughtfulness – which you know Schmidt has been waiting to see in magazine print for years and probably has stitched on a cushion or at least on a business card.

New Girl continues to be a lot of fun this season and this is another episode where they play around with the different character groupings. While Cece gets a short shrift, her brief appearance is one of the highlights of “Landline” declaring “I don’t know what is happening” as the conversation descends into random movie talk (Winston likes Splash).

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.05 Jess A+O sweaterJess loves Alice + Olivia sweaters this season and ribbon -graphic black sweater is adorable and so very Jess; complete with detachable collar depending on how preppy you’re feeling.



One Response to “New Girl 4.05 “Landline” Review: “Shut it Down””


  1. New Girl 4.12 “Shark” Review: “I am Woman, the Smartest Species of them All” | TV Ate My Wardrobe - January 7, 2015

    […] construction work that led to the loft getting a landline earlier this season on New Girl is back to stir up a debate between Schmidt and Jess with regards to getting things […]

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