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New Girl 4.09 “Thanksgiving IV” Review: “Life Moves Really Fast”

26 Nov

New 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 what was the loft Thanksgiving tradition back in season one and with each passing year this holiday gets even messier for everyone involved, but this is a sitcom so life lessons are imbued and it all ends well. “Thanksgiving IV” follows this route, even if Schmidt has decided to call it by another name this year and so ‘Bangsgiving’ is born.

New Girl 4.09 ThanksgivingThis is Schmidt’s second attempt this year to get everyone laid at one event; the wedding was a total bust on this front, but now Schmidt is super serious about the whole “Winter is coming” business. A Secret Santa of sorts is part of Schmidt’s Thanksgiving plan with everyone bringing a date for someone in the house by picking names out of Schmidt’s pilgrim hat. Throwing in a bunch of new and recurring characters could be a bust to the usual New Girl Thanksgiving formula (usually there are only one or two additions) and yet it works as it brings into focus some of the wider stories they have been telling this season.

Take Nick who after picking himself brings his old friend Tran to the party, much to Schmidt’s anger that he isn’t taking ‘Bangsgiving’ seriously. Instead this is what has been building over the past few episodes from the introduction of the term ‘uh-ohs‘ to his confession last week that he doesn’t know how to love. Before they have been dancing around the whole Nick and Jess of it all and it takes someone like Cece to address this head on. Schmidt wonders why Nick didn’t just bring one of the terrible women he has been sleeping with recently and the answer is more than obvious to Cece as she points out this pattern is all about him not wanting to get hurt again.

Jess is also holding back and in part this is because she isn’t technically allowed to have a relationship with Ryan. In a rooftop conversation echoing previous Nick and Jess life advice chats Nick tells Jess that she is probably scared of what Ryan actually represents as this is a guy who wants more than something casual. There is an intimacy to these conversations and tension that goes beyond the romantic; ultimately I think Nick and Jess are perfect for each other but they both stand in their own way and there’s a lot to work through before they even dare to commit to anything together again. This conversation is a prime example of New Girl’s ‘stupid shit/real shit’ balance as the chat turns to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Jess reading the film in a completely different way as she takes Principal Rooney’s side (he’s ‘her people’) – I would like to see the Ferris chat from You’re the Worst intercut with this one please – and then Nick quotes the film to emphasize his point. Life really does move fast.

Throwing caution and pie to the wind (all I can picture is Natalie Portman eating multiple donuts in No Strings Attached when Jess talks about all the pie she ate on the drive over) Jess goes to Ryan’s house to apologize for her “bang one out of our system” approach. Ryan at this point still seems too good to be true – he’s super dreamy and is pretty much the ideal guy for Jess – and there is only a certain shelf life to the guest star romances on any sitcom so it is likely that the ‘no dating’ rule will be their undoing, but for now I am enjoying this new relationship. Going slow doesn’t take and they do end up sleeping together. In fact everyone ends up hooking up except Schmidt and Cece, which is definitely notable considering this whole ‘Bangsgiving’ party was his idea.

As soon as Cece and Schmidt pick each other, Cece is certain that Schmidt won’t even bother bringing a date for her and his flimsy sounding story about why Geoff is late convinces Cece she is right. Schmidt doesn’t argue his case too hard so this really does seem to be the case, until handsome Geoff shows up with an excellent apology and he appears to have come from the same perfect dude land as Ryan. Cece has already mentioned how pleased she was by her lack of date, but when presented with this guy it briefly looks like she might leave with him, instead she pretends she doesn’t speak English and ends up playing board games with Schmidt. This is taking things slow and I really like how they are treating the Cece/Schmidt relationship. It goes way beyond the physical attraction that made them hookup in the first place and it is significant that Schmidt is also on her ‘never’ list. Just remember what happened when he slept with Nadia after his breakup from Cece; bad penis karma.

Moments that are ridiculous weave in with the touching and prior to the conversation about Nick’s dating anxiety he is attempting to make Schmidt jealous by flirting terribly with Cece. Nick realizes that this whole setup is ‘insulting to everyone involved’ and even though the rules are blurry when it comes to someone Nick can barely remember dating; he would never hit on Cece. So many dating rules, but some are more defined than others.

Winston and Coach both find issues with their dates pertaining to their jobs; Pearl (oh hey Shauna Malwae-Tweep!) is a lunch lady and Pepper is from the Police Academy. Winston had a bad experience with a lunch lady once (which is better than what I figured was a snobbish reaction to her job) and Coach can’t deal with the fact that Pepper is probably stronger than him. Both get over these issues and themselves realizing Pearl and Pepper are really great and I hope this isn’t the last we see of either. Coach does also deliver a terrible/hilarious impression of Ryan that sounds even wonkier than Dick Van Dyke’s Mary Poppins accent, while Winston reveals some all too personal things about himself at the start of the episode (he just wants to be slapped around).

New Girl continues its streak of fun episodes balancing the absurd with the sweet and season 4 is doing a good job of course correcting the not so stellar previous year.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.09Sometimes an LBD is all you need to make a killer outfit and Cece’s Cynthia Vincent is a classic take on this look. If you want to go for something more reminiscent of the ’90s with a Victorian twist then the Candice Gwin velvet dress Jess is wearing is available here.

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