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New Girl 4.15 “The Crawl” Review: “The Crawl is for All”

11 Feb

Valentine’s Day on New Girl is a messy affair particularly when hearts have been broken and others are contemplating the next stage in their relationship. Nick’s way of dealing with his breakup is to come up with a mandatory bar crawl as he attempts to avoid sadness through planning and copious amounts of alcohol. Jess and Ryan also have big changes to contemplate as the show tries to work with the confines of a guest star love interest.

New girl 4.15 The CrawlBreakups are rough at any time of year, but Valentine’s hammers home how single you suddenly are and Nick’s bar crawl idea is not a surprising one as it provides an alcohol fueled distraction. His friends can’t really say no to participating because of said breakup even if they have fancy dinners planned/can’t drink because they are on call/are at a function with their maybe girlfriend and a group centric episode such as this one are always very enjoyable. Throw in some relationship high stakes and we’re golden. They know Nick is going to crack at some point which is why they all attend despite their other commitments and the whole thing swells into something so much bigger thanks to what Jess refers to as Nick’s “weird Mason-esque charisma” and the amount of lonely souls drinking in bars on Valentine’s. A bar crawl on a regular night might not achieve this level of attention, but on VDay you’re golden.

Jess 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 she pretends she doesn’t hear and instead runs to Cece for a bathroom (!) conference. As both Cece and the unseen but heard woman in the toilet suggest, there really is no reason why she shouldn’t move in with Ryan – the cons list consists of his toaster being really old. The show knows they are perfect for each other and in part this is because they haven’t really given Ryan any flaws and the only source of conflict has been from the teachers at school. The reason why he is looking for a new job is because the teachers have turned on ‘Jyan’ (the worst parts of both their names) and this is one occasion where a throwaway line works instead of showing because we have already seen the teachers being difficult when it comes to this pairing. It does feel like a contrivance in that they need a reason to have less Ryan on the show particularly when he gets offered his dream job, which just happens to be in England.

By the time he gets offered the job they have overcome Jess’ avoidance issue or her lot of hair hearing related problem as Nick puts it and they decide they can do the long distance thing. In other relationship updates Schmidt stands up to his love interest Councilwoman Fawn Moscato (using her full title because it is amazing) and tells her he is tired of doing everything on her time. The ‘not taking her shit’ approach works as Fawn shows up later to say that yes she wants to date Schmidt. Prior to this moment Schmidt has been taking care of a very drunk Cece; Cece thought she could drink as much as Nick but she didn’t factor in Nick’s depth of sadness and general amount he normally consumes. Drunk Cece gives Hannah Simone the chance to shine in multiple ways including how much she wants chicken wings and her not so convincing suggestion to Winston that she has doesn’t have feelings for Schmidt. Winston is in smart perceptive mode with his backpack full of treats (okay no one wants the female condom, but the nuts and beer are good).

This has turned into the slow burn will they/won’t they of New Girl and Schmidt has fondness for this holiday because back in season 1 it was the first time he hooked up with Cece. This is a pair that has of course been together in the past and while this season has focused on repairing their friendship, it is also hard to deny the amount of chemistry and intimacy. Just look at the bathroom scene as Schmidt holds her hair back pre-vom and he says “somehow this isn’t repulsive.” Now that’s love.

Coach spends the whole episode offering up cheesy lines just so he can hookup with someone and instead he finds his dream girl. After a lot of verbal sparring they find out they have a lot in common and I’m glad May is still going to make Coach work for it by giving her an email address rather than a phone number. It was announced last week that Damon Wayans Jr. won’t be back for another season which is disappointing as this group has really found its groove. Maybe May will develop into something more than just a few episodes arc.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.15 Cece and JessAnother jumpsuit from Cece that makes me reconsider my feelings about this garment and this one is by Elevenses. It probably comes as less of a surprise that I covet Jess’ Kate Spade dress with embellished Peter Pan collar. Yes it has pockets.

New Girl 4.14 “Swuit” Review: “Takin’ Care of Business”

4 Feb

Going into business with your best friend might seem like an excellent idea but not so much when those partners are Nick and Schmidt and their history is littered with disagreements. Past episodes of New Girl including the first time they tried to pitch a prototype to fancyman Russell, along with the flashback and present day Schnick Industries brainstorming sessions are enough to know they don’t have a compatible working strategy. What happens when you throw Jess into the mix? Plus Cece is still at college and encounters money woes this week.

New girl 4.14At the end of the last episode (which feels much longer ago than it actually was) Nick and Schmidt agreed to go into business with each and since then they have been working on one idea. This one idea happens to be really terrible – the Swuit – and they have already committed to a pitch meeting with “queen of QVC” Lori Greiner. Cue extreme brainstorming sessions which quickly descend into bickering because neither wants to be bossed around by the other. Jess loves a project and collaboration so she quickly steps into the role of mediator making them excellent breakfast brain food and suggesting compromises to stem the arguments and kick-start the creative flow.

Jess goes to both of them individually regarding their issues working together claiming the other has non-specific ‘man problems’ – they infer it might be something hangy or gooey – and suggests they let the other think they are the boss right now. This plan works until it doesn’t (Jess whispering “I’m amazing” to herself is amazing) and after they have come up with a relatively good idea it all collapses into shouting again. Some of this yelling involves praising Jess but you wouldn’t know from the tone.

One reason why Schmidt and Nick storylines work so well is because everyone loves a good opposites attract pairing and it is why I could endlessly watch them sniping at each other even if we don’t quite hit the heights of “Gave me cookie, got you cookie.” Their pitch meeting dissolves into Nick talking gibberish as they’ve forgotten to bring their prototype. Jess once again saves the day by bringing the “Perfect Pet Pic” camera to the meeting while wearing the Swuit (because she spilled coffee all down her very nice cream sweater). Jess does a really great job of selling the all sweat material suit but instead of buying it because she loves it; Lori pays them $10,000 to kill the idea as she has a conflicting product. It is a victory without a victory and Schnick Industries still has work to do. If only they could learn how to meet in the middle as until then they’re going to need Jess around to referee and point out the compromise.

There’s a lot to build on here and because of their shared history coupled with their current room sharing there is a lot of comedy to be found in this set up. The real question is is this just another ridiculous pipe dream or can Nick and Schmidt find success together? The latter seems less likely as if they did find success it would change the group dynamic and I don’t know how well it would work if instead of striving for something they actually had that thing, but progression should be made in one form or another. This brings me to Kai and this relationship has never been more than a background thing so it isn’t surprising when they break up, especially after Nick turned down Ninja Turtle sex (sex with backpacks) to work instead. It also plays into the limited period of episodes pattern of a guest star love interest and the curious thing is what happens next.

Nick and Jess have been very much in the background this season, which makes sense considering how burned the show was by putting them together as quickly as they did. I’m not sure if it is a) a chemistry thing, b) because a part of me will always be a Nick/Jess shipper or c) intentional but the dance Jess does for Nick towards the end of the episode to Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business” has a flirty edge to it and I can’t work out if this was just meant to be a friendship related move or something more. I suspect it is the former as Jess’ relationship with Ryan is going swimmingly so far and yet he is also just a guest star so there is perhaps a time limit on this too. Not that I necessarily want them to revisit Jess and Nick quite so soon after the show is getting back on track; their chemistry is just hard to deny and it was very apparent in this moment. Nick is finally motivated to do something and this was one of the problems that plagued his relationship with Jess. As friends Jess can be supportive without being viewed as a nag and they don’t fall down the less than compelling boyfriend/girlfriend bickering that occurred during some of last season’s low points.

The tag doesn’t quite hit the lofty random and hilarious heights of the line dancing from the last episode, but seeing the guys going from disdain at the song choice to hearty singing along is brilliant and if they want to end all episodes with a jukebox moment then I would be more than fine with that.

While Nick, Schmidt and Jess are busy with pitch meeting and prototypes Cece is experiencing financial worries as her tuition has been increased and she doesn’t have enough money to cover it. There are several nods to these three characters not sharing much screen time together and the last time was when they got stoned at the police barbecue (okay Nick was also there), which also happened to be when Cece decided to go to college. It is a grouping that works well as Cece gets to do her best exasperated faces while Coach and Winston try to help but are more of a nuisance. Anything that involves more Cece time is good with me and I love Jess’ very extreme reaction to finding out her friend is having money issues. After all each character is a bozo in their own way and this season continues to be very fun even if it isn’t quite hitting season 2 levels just yet.

New Girl Style Watch 

New Girl 4.14Jess has a variety of excellent sweaters this week and it is this dog pattern one from Boden that is my favorite (it is from the British icons collection and is also available with either a robin or guards pattern). Seriously considering the robin one as it is not only on sale but it hits my color weak spot. Not that I need any more sweaters (okay maybe a couple more wouldn’t hurt).

New Girl 4.13 “Coming Out” Review: Field Trip

14 Jan

On New Girl this season Jess’ work and personal life are entwined as a result of her relationship with Ryan, but since they started dating in secret we haven’t seen their attempts at covering this up at school. Now they don’t need to because Coach did his research and found a previous case allowing them to confess all to their peers. Sneaking around romance stories are a sitcom staple but as this show has had at least two of them it makes more sense to get straight to the reactions to their relationship. Plus as we have seen in the past the teachers at Jess’ school aren’t the most stable so of course they react with suspicion and chaos follows.

Jess just wants people to like her and this is one of those lesson episodes where characters realize that doing the right thing isn’t always the easiest or most popular. And you might end up with a face full of wasps.

New Girl 4.13 Coach and JessElsewhere Schmidt has a medical issue which is stopping him from going into work (an ulcer caused by work) and despite Schmidt’s very vocal protests Nick is going to show him how to do nothing for a day. Schmidt is desperate to become Don Draper, but he’s destined for mid-level if his boss has anything to do with it and this is far from the character his office is trying to emulate. The only person who doesn’t really have a work story going on this week is Winston as he spends the episode talking up the crystal he has been given by his colleagues (in a way this is a work story I guess) in a creepy but all-knowing way.

Coach reacts to no longer being the hot new guy in the teacher’s lounge by convincing Jess and Ryan to reveal their relationship. When this doesn’t have the desired effect he attempts a Ryan like sensitive nature and cardigan styling, which instead gives off a whole murderer vibe. What “Coming Out” reinforces with all the characters is that it is better to be yourself and Coach gets his hot status back when he leaps to save the kids from the nest full of wasps which has been unleashed. It’s painful, but he seems into it.

The same goes for Jess and while she is still concerned about people liking her because this is her standard position, Cece points out – this episode needs more Cece – she has to go in and be herself while owning it at the same time. And own it she does while also telling Ryan that she loves him in front of all the other teachers. And that goes well too as he responds in the same way. So far the whole Ryan relationship has been relatively drama free and as I mentioned last week I am glad he has become more than just a three-episode thing. Now the “I love you” moment has occurred I’d like to see more of Ryan beyond dreamy perfection, not that I need angst but there is only so far that dreamy perfection can take you. Even with a butt like that.

Schmidt has always wanted big things so to be told he is nothing more than an amazing mid-level employee is the push he needs to look beyond his current job. After a day of mooching in a Nick fashion he points out that Nick used to have grand ideas (cue college flashback) and now he just spends his days doing nothing. On one end you have Schmidt working too hard in a job that isn’t going anywhere and Nick is at the other standing still (or lying down). Put the opposing positions next to each and what you end up with is a desire to work together. This has disaster written all over it, but maybe it might produce something amazing like computers for babies. Back in season 1 they came up with Real-Apps and while this ended up cutting Jess’ boyfriend Russell there is also potential here.

Taking the leap, doing what you’re scared of and breaking out of a routine are all addressed in “Coming Out” and Winston’s crystal might be nonsense, but it also helps some of these characters confront personal roadblocks. Also all-knowing and wise Winston is hilarious. And it leads to one of the funniest tags this show has ever delivered. Much like Schmidt’s job prospects this is a mid-level episode; however it has the potential for more especially if it goes into business with Nick Miller.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.13Jess wears two very cute dresses this week with this ‘Jenny’ houndstooth dress from Shoshanna and later an umbrella print ModCloth frock. The blazer in the photo above is the same one Jess wore from J. Crew in last week’s episode. Also from J. Crew is the quilted red jacket in the picture at the top of this review. All are on my wish list.

New Girl 4.12 “Shark” Review: “I am Woman, the Smartest Species of them All”

7 Jan

The 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 done; Schmidt thinks palms need to be greased whereas Jess is all for friendliness and by the book actions. Appearances are not all they seem as Nick and Coach discover when Winston graduates from the police academy and they fret for his safety when they see the small stature of his training officer, Aly. They can’t quite figure out how the guy who paints cat bowls for not only his cat but his roommates – where is Ferguson? – isn’t going to get stabbed by a kid on the job and their attempts to protect their friend are both dumb and very sweet.

New girl 4.12 SchmidtThe shark versus dolphin approach is reminiscent of the Jess/Nick debate from “Landlord” back in season 1 when Nick argued there is always an ulterior motive for generous acts (on this occasion he was proven right as their landlord thought they were going to have a threeway – this is still one of my favorite episodes). The winner of this debate between Schmidt and Jess is vague in that Jess is successful in getting the night construction switched to the daytime; however she has to use some nefarious tactics for this victory. No palms are greased, nor does she send an envelope filled with fake blood and a note saying “I know” instead she targets one of Schmidt’s weaknesses with his vanity.

Earlier in the episode Schmidt frets about his new tailor and how his cuff lengths on his jacket are not quite right, so when Cece mentions his cuffs seem a little off right before he is meant to argue in favor of nighttime construction it throws him off in the exact way Jess predicted. Jess feels a little dirty for resorting to this manipulative tactic (after some awkward straw mouth missing gloating) but really Schmidt had failed with his attempt to get Councilwoman Fawn Moscato (played brilliantly by Zoe Lister Jones with a character who wouldn’t be out of place in Pawnee) on side. Moscato is the kind of woman who can get Schmidt to do her bidding as she’s a little bit mean and has all the power (much like his relationship with his boss in season 2); she manages to appeal to everything he’s turned on by. Have you ever seen Schmidt look happier or more puppy like than when he stuck his head out of the window after he took hairspray to the face?

Schmidt is even impressed with how Jess effectively used his insecurity against him and it adds validity to his shark argument. The highlight of Jess agitating Schmidt comes much earlier in the episode as she keeps invoking the word “bro” and when everyone else follows suit it becomes even funnier as Schmidt gets more wound up.

Jess does attempt to go through all the correct channels, first by filling in endless forms while Ryan gets bonkers horny on red wine. Followed by performing a speech with visual aids – the visual aid is Ryan dressed as a construction worker and he continues to be impossibly handsome – that lays out the argument in a succinct manner. It’s very Jessica Day. A quick word on Ryan and I am so glad he has become more than just the standard 3 episode arc love interest as he doesn’t feel out of place in this group, plus the aforementioned handsome. He is still pretty perfect and this might be a problem in the future as currently the only conflict comes from the forbidden aspect of their relationship, but at the moment I am really enjoying what Julian Morris is bringing to the show. We do learn that Ryan’s uncle was arrested for having sex with a dolphin and Cece’s reaction to this random piece of Ryan information is pretty much perfect as she is “having a lot of difficulty nailing” him down.

This is a good guest star week and Nasim Pedrad slots in nicely to the New Girl world taking no shit from Nick and Coach as they air their concerns about Winston’s new career. I can understand why they might worry for their friend after watching Winston’s crazy antics for the last few years (although I really need to see Evil Winston – flashbacks please!), but dudes don’t judge how badass a woman is by her stature because she will kick your ass. As is the norm there are a lot of very funny Winston moments this week with his crossword idea being high up there for me; “Who likes cats? Winston across.” There is a whiff of Let’s Be Cops to this plot which was going to happen at some point with this storyline and if that movie had been Nick and Coach trail Winston I would have been much happier.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.12 JessThis outfit is a twofer as Jess is wearing a super cute Eva Franco summer dress paired with a black blazer from J. Crew which is giving me all the Liz Lemon feelings right now.

New Girl 4.11 “LAXmas” Review: Love Actually and All That

10 Dec

New Girl Christmas episodes* tend to be a chaotic affair and “LAXmas” continues this trend switching out the multiple parties of season 2 and inserting travel plans. Ah yes the traveling over the holiday season frenzy that is usually further hindered by the weather and in this case a storm is majorly delaying almost everyone’s flights. Winston and Nick are traveling back to Chicago, Cece’s mom wants to hand deliver a card to Matt Lauer and so she is on the same flight as Schmidt who is returning to Long Island. Coach is attempting to get some ‘me time’ and instead of going back to Detroit he has booked a vacation to Hawaii. Taking the next big relationship step is Jess as she has been invited to London to spend Christmas with Ryan and his family; cue all the anxiety.

* There was no Christmas episode last season, most likely as a result of New Girl’s post Super Bowl slot in January. New Girl is very good at the holiday themed episodes and so I’m glad to see them back with a strong outing this year.

New Girl 4.11Holiday episodes (and particularly Christmas ones) function in a variety of ways; by addressing the larger issues in a heightened and most likely schmaltzy way, pop culture comes into focus by making fun of movies like Love Actually followed by their own slightly skewed Love Actually moment and because there is a single purpose (on this occasion getting on multiple flights) the obstacles are going to keep coming. Switch out the string of festive parties from “Santa” back in season 2 and there are still the same new boyfriend/girlfriend anxieties, just with different suitors (Julian Morris takes the position of both Olivia Munn and David Walton in this episode as everyone else is single or in Nick’s case it has only been a one episode thing so far and he’s already pretty content, that will change).

Guest stars pop up along the way to help, hinder and skeeze with Billy Eichner’s beleaguered airport worker Barry turning from snark and sass at Jess’ attempts to get Nick and Winston on their flight to new BFF when she gets hit on by the super creepy Santa (played by Saved by the Bell’s Dennis Haskins, no I can never look at Mr Belding in the same way after this proposition). Eichner doesn’t do the whole screaming bit and this is the most sedate I have probably seen him; it would have been easy to go for that route but it sets this character apart from his Parks and Recreation and Billy on the Street style and I hope Barry is a return fixture. The withering looks he gives pretty much everyone give me so much life and this character instantly feels part of the New Girl universe. Barry helps Jess out in the end by getting Winston and Nick on their flight and in first class seats (and in a win by karma the super sleeze from the first class lounge is the person bumped, plus some other random guy); however there is more in this airport saga.

Jumping to the first class lounge and another of the creepy dude characters with Barry Bostwick turning from Schmidt aspiration to a reason to leave the luxury that Schmidt craves in one indecent proposal. Schmidt has decided this season that his millionaire dream is still tangible and while he might pretend he is from Manhattan (with a view of defecating Central Park horses) his inner Long Island will come out under the right circumstances. Invoking all things Billy Joel is pretty much the best amount of Schmidt nonsense “New York. Long Island. Billy Joel” and is the perfect exit statement to this scenario. Schmidt doesn’t tell Cece exactly what was said, just that he had disrespected something important to him – Cece’s guess is Daniel Craig’s tailoring – and I’m really liking how New Girl is dealing with this relationship. Cece tells Schmidt she really likes being his friend and he returns this sentiment, yes something romantic is likely to happen in the future, but I appreciate how they are slowly rebuilding what was previously fractured by Schmidt’s infidelity.

With each mention of Coach’s niece in Detroit, it becomes clear he will definitely ditch his alone time super sweet Hawaiian vacation and go back home to his family. No matter how crowded it is, plus the inevitable family squabbles that will take place there are certain things better than lying on the beach. Even if last week’s clip of Coach’s sisters cutting off their own hair was mildly terrifying. And as Coach finds out airport phone charging stations are a nightmare of different appliances and battery needing desperation.

In fun airport hijnks Winston and Nick set about getting on their flight by trying to scare off other people with tickets with Winston going all in with his fake baby and Nick doing things like ripping up tickets that would most likely get him arrested (or at the very least detained), but hey it is Christmas and his “Debbie, don’t start with me, you’re in a mood” was enough hilarity to negate the plausibility of it all. Also pretty sure Nick would get in some kind of shit for his not turning his phone off, ignoring the flight attendant and then getting off the plane shenanigans but like I said it is Christmas and they need their Love Actually moment.

Jess gets the Ryan related fear thanks to the photos of his Downton Abbey style house – Barry is a fan of this show even if he knows it is a soap opera – and his super moody looking family. The McDuck amount of money is one factor and there is too much pressure, so Jess bails. Or at least she tries to and as is traditional with the Nick/Jess pairing advice is given with a bit of pep and reassurance and all is well. This is what was missing when they were a couple last season and it is why I’ve got the Nick/Jess warm and fuzzy feelings again. As I have already mentioned in previous reviews, I really don’t think they are right for each other at this moment but their strong connection is undeniable and it works best in a personal crisis such as this.

Taking the rushing through the airport cliche and cutting to the super slow cart followed by hugs and love declarations as She & Him’s version of “God Only Knows” starts up is more than enough to leave me warm, fuzzy and very satisfied with this festive outing. Oh and Jess when you tell someone you are no longer coming a) at least end the text with one ‘x’ (that was cold) and b) mention you got on the flight in the end.

New Girl 4.11 Jess and BarryNew Girl Style Watch

This Equipment sweater almost made the Wish List after Mindy wore it (instead I went for this LBD from the same episode) so I am glad I get to showcase it here as it is sweater plaid heaven. And if you want something on the less splurge scale then you can pick up Jess’ duck phone case for the very affordable $4.99 here.

New Girl 4.10 “Girl Fight” Review: Yellow Purse Wars *Double Syringe*

3 Dec

Men and women are different; a not so shocking statement and a sitcom staple. New Girl has been playing with group hang tropes all season as they try to work out all the kinks from last year and “Girl Fight” takes a look at the way we handle conflict and has fun with it. Disagreements and how they are addressed takes various forms and we’re presented with a quick aggressive solution and the less physically painful passive aggressive approach.

New Girl 4.10 girl fightJess and Cece’s friendship is an integral aspect to the New Girl dynamic and it was something that was lacking last season as a result of the Nick/Jess romantic pairing and because of Schmidt’s two-timing. Cece has at times been the hardest character to incorporate into the overall narrative thanks to her dating history with Schmidt and as the only non-loft dweller. They aren’t just passing acquaintances and while Jess was the ‘new girl’ at the start of the show, Cece is her oldest friend. Other arguments have come before this one; back in the first season they fell out in “Secrets” when Jess found out Cece had been sleeping with Schmidt on the sly and in “Models” a boob slap fight took place after Cece overheard Jess making disparaging comments. An image I’m sure Schmidt would have found very arousing if his teddy bear placement this week is anything to go by.

They have questioned whether they would be friends if they met today as they are so different and whether their shared history is the only thing keeping them together. Now they are unleashing 20 years of unspoken hurt about whatever awful stuff they have done to each other in the past after Schmidt’s “I know women” hubris gets in the way. After witnessing how quick the guys sort out being pissed off with each other (a swift nut punch) Jess mentions how glad she is that they don’t fight like this. Schmidt’s turned into a bit of a dummy this season, first the whole not knowing how to do laundry thing followed by mentioning the yellow bag Jess went back for. Cue compliments tinged with so much passive aggressive subtext and Schmidt’s whole “I know women” bravado comes crashing down. Coach has three sisters (something he points out to prove on several occasions to emphasize his girl fight knowledge) and Schmidt chooses to ignore both Jess and Coach when they tell him to stay out of it. 

Schmidt is “penis weak” when it comes to Cece and he brings this whole carefully constructed ‘ignore each other for three days/latte/pretend it never happened’ system crashing down by interfering and getting the yellow purse for Cece. Why did Jess need the purse in the first place? If you have been paying attention to her collection you will know there are many and she loves purses. Don’t question this love as she can be “a damn feminist who loves purses” (a riff on Zooey Deschanel’s Glamour interview “I want to be a fucking feminist & wear a fucking Peter Pan collar”). What starts as a hilarious fight using emojis (“double syringe”) ends with a confrontation at Nadia’s baby shower. Nadia is thrilled and then bored by the spectacle before her as Cece tells Jess how clean her hair looks which is greeted by a horrified gasp.

Twenty years of hurtful comments spill out and while nothing quite tops the JESSICA FREAKIN P revelation from season 1 there is a lot of pent up bad feelings. Coach brings his ‘I have sisters’ swagger to save the day and instigates a full blown brawl as he suggests punching each other will resolve things. This brings Nadia so much joy as she stomps all over her gifts (earlier when she sees the crib she asks “where is top of baby cage?”) and we’re also reminded of that time she broke Schmidt’s penis (which was post/pre Coach and he can’t believe this was a real thing that happened).

This fight does clear the air between Cece and Jess although I would probably suggest that this isn’t necessarily the best way to work things out every time they have an argument. The slate has been wiped clean as they declare that after twenty years they are each others’ favorite person to talk to. Strong lady friendships aren’t always so easy to come by on TV because there are usual contrivances that get in the way and this is one pairing I want to spend so much more time with. They are very different people, but their BFF status is something that even a knockdown fight and breast pump to the face isn’t going to destroy and soon they are back to talking about everything. This includes Nick’s new girlfriend and how the whole thing is weird; Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone really kill this scene. They also manage to flip things on Schmidt and Coach by pointing out how insecure their DVR disagreement would make them feel, which later results in Winston hitting them both in the nuts.

Winston is in procrastination heaven/hell (delete where applicable) as he avoids revising for his police exam and the funniest sight gag (in an episode that is one quick fire joke after another) comes as Winston pleads that he can’t turn the pages while he is saran wrapped to the chair. He is also very good at making paper snowflakes and doing terrible detective work on Kai, Tran’s granddaughter and Nick’s ‘lover friend.’ Winston is convinced Kai is homeless as she has time to sit on the sofa for three days eating pizza and drinking beer with Nick (yes she is definitely Nick’s ideal woman), instead she is actually super rich and Nick has no problem with her giving him money to not go to work.

“Girl Fight” is one of the best episodes so far this season – quite possibly my favorite S4 outing – as it continues to focus on simple but very funny stories and plays to the strengths of these characters and the history between them.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.10 CeceI have complicated feelings about jumpsuits and one day I will write a post on why, but for now here is one I really like and Cece’s floral number is by Aqua. Yet another amazing Cece lipstick color too. The amazing yellow purse that started this whole thing is Marc by Marc Jacobs and I would like it in my life; where else am I going to keep all my feminist writings?

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.

New Girl 4.08 “Teachers” Review: I Wanna Know What Love is (and How to do Laundry)

19 Nov

Doing laundry, using a ruler and teaching Health are all obstacles that some of the guys on New Girl have to overcome in “Teachers.” Matters of the heart from forbidden crushes to wanting to learn how to love are also on the agenda as the group splits off into two for guys’ night and a teaching conference (with Cece left to work at the bar and take Jess’ emergency phone calls, she deserves more).

New Girl 4.08Is it ridiculous that Schmidt doesn’t know how to do laundry? Of course and even though they don’t address how he has been doing it since college or that we saw him defrost a turkey in the dryer in the season one’s Thanksgiving episode, I think I prefer it this way. This is nothing compared to Winston’s ruler confusion. Sometimes there are simple things that we just don’t know how to do and for once Nick gets to be the smartest person in the room teaching the other dummies how to do these very easy task. And the ruler tutorial is hilarious in its brevity. Guys’ night starts out with the super silly including Gladiator like jousting with homemade giant Q-tips and perving at women doing aerobics in the building opposite, stuff they can’t do when Jess is home. Schmidt spilling sangria on Jess’ blanket sets in motion a different kind of guys’ night delving into matters of the heart and it is all rather lovely.

Nick admits to a list of things he can’t do; he has trouble saying “February” and he doesn’t know the alphabet unless he sings the song (me too). The big kicker is Nick has never learned how to love and his most recent long term relationship isn’t mentioned, instead they focus on his other short term flings. Schmidt thinks Nick’s problem is that he doesn’t value himself and in their boy band like descriptions Nick is the cute one; Schmidt is the smart one, Winston is the silly one and Coach is the sporty one. With a soundtrack of 80s love anthems by Foreigner and Lionel Richie the conversation shifts to Schmidt talking about how Cece is the greatest woman he has ever loved. Schmidt doesn’t think Nick aims high enough and this is why it is slightly curious that Jess is absent from this discussion.

As I wrote about last week they are doing certain things to avoid anything too heavy with Nick and Jess so there’s no jealousy or awkwardness when it comes to them hooking up with other people. Okay there is some awkwardness, but that is on the behalf of their dates and their living situation. So it makes sense in this respect to omit Jess from this conversation and yet it does feel like the elephant in the room to not even mention this relationship. There is a slightly wistful reaction from Nick when he figures out Jess hooked up with Ryan, but it is not labored nor tinged with romantic jealousy.

In the makeshift sangria tent Winston also gets to have a nice moment where he talks about his fears about becoming a cop and a hypothetical descent into becoming a bad cop. As with all things Winston pertaining to his career they don’t linger on this and there is a certain amount of drunken narcissism as Nick brings it back to the cute thing and how awesome sangria is. This is a much better version of guys’ night than the one they pretend they had when Jess and Coach get home.

The Jess/Ryan interactions involve taking a sitcom staple of forbidden love and basically making Ryan the ultimate guy for Jess; he scrapbooks, he has endless optimism and he did teach his dyslexic sister how to read. Maybe he is an angel sent down from heaven just like the movie The Preacher’s Wife. Jess does everything she can to avoid Ryan but through various circumstances they end up getting pushed closer and closer together. First their rooms are next to each other and then Coach abandons his buffer post during Lisa Bonet’s seminar. A seminar which ruins the plan Jess had laid out to Cece at the start of the episode as she finds out personal information and has to embrace the intimacy. There is a contingency plan involving a letter Jess has placed in Cece’s bag to remind her of the professional obligation and Hannah Simone kills the delivery of this letter which includes the line “You ballet-flat-wearing piece of Oregon trash.” But still Cece deserves more.

Coach has an Almost Famous “I am a golden god!” drunk moment, which turns Ryan into a (soaking wet) hero leading to bathrobes and minibar drinks. A passed out and then awake and puking Coach is a mood dampener; however Jess still has time to reveal her “big stupid crush” on Ryan resulting in a parking lot smooch the following day. Jess knows that this relationship is probably doomed as her reaction is a mixture of glee and “oh crap.” If only she had a full size blanket for comfort.

Being a teacher is Jess’ life calling and for Coach this is a job he fell into or as he puts it because “my roommate made me.” Science textbooks are for giggling over and this whole conference reinforces Coach’s belief that he is not up to the task of teaching. At first he thinks he will have little impact on their lives and his freak out moment comes after he’s told that if he screws up they “just get pregnant.” Yeah that’s a pretty big impact. We’ve seen how good Coach is with these kids and so it’s not surprising that Jess thinks Coach will be perfect for this task as he is “someone who the kids trust” and he can also yell at them about Chlamydia. Coach is a teacher without realizing it. And then he falls in the pool. But he’s still a teacher and one who has made friends at this conference which started with him calling everyone nerds; he is no longer the outsider.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.08Jess put a bird on it with this beautiful Myrtlewood fit and flare dress is available from ModCloth.

New Girl 4.07 “Goldmine” Review: “I Live with my Ex”

12 Nov

Sitcom angst doesn’t tend to last for a long time as this is a comedy after all and mooning over an ex isn’t necessarily laugh central. This is played in two different ways on New Girl and each former couple deals with being friends (and in one case living with an ex) in wildly different ways. When Nick and Jess split up at the end of last season it was relatively painless – sure there was Dirty Dancing sobbing sessions and initial sadness – and the main reason they broke up involved the structure of the show and the dynamics of the characters rather than the actual relationship itself. The push/pull between maturity and whatever version of adulthood Nick is living was also part of it and while this felt more like an attempt at justifying breakup the word mature is thrown around by Jess throughout this episode.

New Girl 4.07In “Goldmine” they finally address the exes who live together deal and while it is unlikely this would ever be the case – the only time I have ever known exes who have lived together has been in that really awkward/awful stage where one of them is waiting to move out after the breakup – they do make it work by reinforcing the notion that the weirdo assclowns might actually be them and not the people they are dating. Nick has been using the “I live with my ex” line as a way to get rid of women in the morning and it works every single time, until the one occasion where he needs it to have the desired impact. Jess has hit the three date benchmark with Ian and he seems like a decent cute guy from the brief interaction we have with him; Jess is convinced she can tell Ian about the ex living situation in a mature manner and he won’t think anything of it. And he doesn’t at first, but his follow up questions regarding how serious the relationship was sets off all the warning bells and Jess resorts to plan B.

Plan B is Nick pretending to be gay (I would have liked to see the version where Nick pretends to be a ghost) and even though he is terrible at lying (see last week’s sweatathon) he thinks he is excellent at make-believe; all he needs is a decent backstory. Gay Nick works because he doesn’t really act any different to usual and he doesn’t try to resort to stereotypes – “don’t put me in a box” – instead he’s just as magnificent and awkward with trying to sell this story. This leads to nonsensical list time and Jake Johnson listing things is always a joy to watch. Nick gets asked what kinds of guys he likes and the list starts with hunks, features ice cream men in the middle and ends with sleepy guys (or ‘drowsers’). Ian doesn’t believe Nick’s story in part because the sweating starts and then Schmidt walks in all forlorn and apologetic that he didn’t come home the night before. It is perfect timing to play along with Nick and Jess’ ruse with Nick going so far as kissing Schmidt, something Schmidt doesn’t even question. Everything was going to plan and then Tina comes in and ruins everything by smooching Nick.

Not that the lying plan was going to hold up in the long run and Ian was definitely going to find out the truth sooner rather later even if Tina hadn’t been there. Nick blaming the layers Tina was wearing as a reason he couldn’t resist hooking up is an episode highlight. Jess points out to Nick “Can we agree this is not the most mature way to handle things, even though it is pretty fun?” and this is pretty much the “stupid shit/real shit” balance that New Girl excels at. Jess thinks she can do something in an adult manner and Nick once again proves that he is right, except on this occasion his uh-oh girl is not bothered by the living setup. Nick’s description of what an “uh-oh” girl is saves him from looking like a complete pig – his previous names include “pork pals” and “C-plussy hussies” – as the “‘uh-oh’ takes it off them and back onto me, where it belongs. I made the mistake, not them. They’re great.”

One thing missing from the Nick/Jess breakup and subsequent dating pattern is there is no jealousy here whatsoever and Nick is more than up for getting Jess laid. While this also comes across as incredibly unrealistic there is nothing worse than the doldrums of a jealous ex sitcom story (see so many Ross and Rachel Friends plots) and for all the Nick/Jess shippers still out there (I still count myself in this camp even if I am enjoying this time apart) there is a hint of hope when Ian remarks that Nick would do anything for her. And yeah they are definitely the kind of weirdo assclowns that their dates complain to their friends about so it makes sense that they end up together, eventually.

If you want relationship ex angst then Schmidt is working overtime this week as he is distraught that Cece might be getting a boob reduction and the best reaction of the week comes courtesy of his super hearing powers and scream of “Nooooooo.” Schmidt’s reaction is melodramatic and ridiculous in a way that only makes sense for a character like Schmidt. His wish to say goodbye to Cece’s boobs (he still calls them Harold and Kumar) is kinda gross, but that sequence is also hilarious because it is so dumb. It is better that we don’t get to hear most of Schmidt’s goodbye monologue and Hannah Simone gives good facial expressions as she listens to Schmidt’s boob classical music playlist (Pachelbel’s Canon).

The other hookup shenanigans occurring this week involve the hot neighbors we met last season as Winston has been trying to work the long game with them. This storyline was less successful for me and Coach is just a big ball of skeeze at this point even if his strategy does get Winston laid. Thankfully they added the part where Michelle did want to sleep with Winston otherwise that would have been a big ball of rock-paper-scissor no.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.07 WinstonSwitching things up this week on the style front and taking a look at the dudes of New Girl with Winston’s floral CPO short sleeve button-down. Coach looks skeptical, but I love it. I could also definitely see Josh from Transparent wearing this.

New Girl 4.06 “Background Check” Review: “It Looks Like Your Body is Crying”

5 Nov

True American isn’t the only thing that will set the loft to crazy on New Girl as Winston’s surprise academy background check proves. Just like Felicity did in a recent episode we covered on TV Ate My Wardrobe, Jess has a mysterious bag of meth in her closet and it’s not just a little baggy. Nope, this is an amount that would have made Gus Fring happy (if only it had been blue) or actual meth. Jess was super shoulder shrug casual about the whole thing and she didn’t think it was a bad idea to keep a sizable quantity of drugs in her wardrobe (it is only her that goes in here after all).

This Winston development sets in motion panic and stress, Schmidt is the calmest of the roommates but this is due to a preoccupation regarding Cece’s date with a dude named Paul. “Background Check” showcases the best of New Girl with a tight focus on the group at their least put together, well everyone except Winston who is doing a mostly excellent job of being a normal human being.

New Girl 4.06What should be a regular Saturday for these guys – Coach has a whole outlet mall plan that ends with a cinnamon pretzel – gets turned on its head quite quickly and Nick hits the meltdown point first thanks to his inability to lie. This goes back to season 1 when he found out about Cece and Schmidt’s secret hookups and his back turned into slip ‘n slide levels of wet. “Background Check” is peak Nick Miller as his sweat levels gradually go from clammy face to full on back soak (the grey tee really brings out the sweat levels) and Sergeant Tess “The Fish” Dorado remarks that it looks like Nick’s “body is crying.” Nick’s spiraling also includes the inability to shut up and when he is left alone with Dorado he spills every secret except for the one that is going on in the loft – choice highlights include the year he didn’t get a boner which made him think his penis was dead and that he made love to himself when he was 13 behind a post office – and the sweat grows to the v of his t-shirt that is exposed while he is wearing Schmidt’s kimono. Throwing things and yelling “Distraction!” is another Nick tactic that fails, however there is another person in the loft who takes the crown for biggest trainwreck this week and that is Jess.

None of this would have happened if Jess had just kept quiet about the potential illicit substance in her room or if she had trusted Winston with her discovery. Where would the fun be in that? It doesn’t take long for the chaos to set in as the bag bursts and Jess ends up with most of 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 induced meltdown. This is all a placebo of course and yet the result is still the same as she has the appearance and reaction of someone who is tripping. Nope this is just fear and panic at the thought of a cop in their apartment coinciding with the one time there is crystal meth present. Not that it is really crystal meth and Jess has spent the entire episode trying to dump a bag of aquarium rocks down the toilet.

This is all a question of confidence and Winston realizes that no one in the loft sees him as a cop. Jess admits to this explaining they didn’t think he would get this far. It is a moment of honesty rooted in Winston’s ever changing career path and while some faith from his friends would be nice, they do have prior experience to back up this notion. Jess does fall on her sword in a dramatic and over the top fashion to protect Winston from getting kicked out and potentially sacrificing her own job/freedom. It’s not meth and they’ve also misjudged their friend as Winston happens to be one of the best cadets. He also manages to pass the background check despite the chaos.

Nick and Jess freak out in the most overt way, but they are not alone as Coach spins a tale of Winston’s Boys & Girls Club duties and when he goes out looking for a kid to play Duquan he ends up looking like a predator. Instead he comes home with a guy named Jose sealing Dorado’s belief that Winston should really move out.

Winston is often not privy to what is going on from when he thought they were planning a surprise birthday party, to the Nick and Jess breakup last year and Nick, Cece and Coach got stoned earlier this season. This exclusion is harsh from a friend point of view, but it works wonders on the show as Winston is a great straight guy who also happens to be a little on the crazy side – he handcuffed his cat to a radiator for a Christmas card, also wherefore art thou Ferguson? – in fact pretty much all of these characters could be the one who needs all of the others to act normal, only to have them fall apart at the worst possible moment.

The close quarters bottle episode(ish) aspect adds to the farcical nature and when Cece bursts in saying she got Jess’ message Schmidt kisses her to stop her from saying the word meth. It is a good save from Schmidt and considering how much he has been obsessing over Cece’s date it isn’t something he was actively against. Neither was Cece as she does admit that she kissed him back. Starting up this dance again is fine if it doesn’t end up being all that Cece is here for and I have faith this won’t be the case. Schmidt’s umbrage that the guy is called Paul is a good running joke as it seems such an arbitrary reason to dislike this dude and because it gives Cece the chance to head fake Schmidt by saying it was actually Mark-Paul Gosselaar. And it makes perfect sense that Schmidt would worship the guy who played Zack on Saved by the Bell.

Schmidt’s lack of shirt for the latter half of the episode adds to the chaotic visual and in the lineup all of the dudes appear equally ridiculous. Jess is rather disheveled and only Cece looks like her usual self. Okay the Schmidt no shirt thing isn’t that unusual but in this context he does add to the overall image that Apartment 4D is a place where insane people live. Or at least people who don’t know how to behave like adults.

After the many misses of season 3 there has been a tighter focus this year and this episode is a big pay off as it delivers in every way. There is the balance of stupid shit with real shit that New Girl both favors and excels at, plus it is just a very funny episode.

New Girl Style Watch

New Girl 4.06 JessNo not the bad decisions hat, but Jess’ simple J Crew ‘Tippi’ sweater which is available in many colors. It might shock you to hear that I want the yellow one.

New Girl 4.06 CeceCece does the black oversized vest top often and here she is wearing a Trouvé faux-leather drapey wrap. Over at HelloGiggles New Girl makeup artist Jorjee Douglass talks through Michelle DeMilt’s makeup routine for Cece including yet another Nars lip pencil I am now after.

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