Monday, October 24, 2011

New Girl 1.03: "Wedding"

“This is the first job I’ve had in like two months, dude, and I really want to just get in there and ush this wedding in the face.”

“Wedding” was my favorite of the “New Girl” episodes that have aired thus far. Mostly because of the slow-motion Chicken Dance at the end of the episode. Any good Pennsylvanian, even those of us who aren’t from the “Pennsyltucky” part of the state, can appreciate a good Chicken Dance. I first learned the dance at the roller skating rink in my hometown that was the happening place to have birthday parties. Anyway, I also liked this episode because it took some major steps in character development and building the relationships between all the characters. Jess really stood up for herself, which I liked. It was different from how she stood up to her lousy ex-boyfriend in “Kryptonite.” That was more about acknowledging that it was time to let the relationship go. This time, she stood up for who she is at the core. She decided it’s okay to be quirky, even if it annoys the guys sometimes. And, even better, Jess finally embracing her quirkiness leads to everyone having a much more fun time.

The guys and Jess are all going to a friend’s wedding. Winston is an usher, and Jess is going as Nick’s date. Caroline is going to be there, and the guys think that having Jess along will help him handle it without becoming his usual weepy mess. The guys don’t approve of the first dress Jess wants to wear to the wedding, but when she tries on the second one, we get a rehash of the “oh, she’s actually hot” spoiled by Jess doing something strange moment from the pilot. This time, it’s fake teeth that spoil the mood, like the kids use to freak out their teacher in “A Christmas Story” (my favorite Christmas movie, by the way). Jess also informs the guys that if they end up doing the Chicken Dance at the wedding, she does a pecking movement as the final dance move instead of a clap.

The gang arrives at the wedding, and we quickly set up the three storylines for the episode. One of those plots is Schmidt trying to figure out who he’s going to take home with him from the wedding. He rather desperately wants to go after Brooke, a woman he’s had a thing for since college. And now that he’s lot significant weight since his college days, she might be interested. She’s also recently sober, so Schmidt kind of gets himself in trouble by claiming he’s recently sober too…right before the bartender delivers his drink. There’s also Gretchen, a kind of nasty woman who Schmidt has a history of banging at pretty much every wedding they both attend. She’s the only character we’ve seen yet who can completely overpower Schmidt with feelings of insecurity.

The second storyline also involves insecurity. Winston arrives at the ceremony to see that the tween “Alternate Usher” has already started to do his job. Winston was wary of going to the wedding in the first place, because he wasn’t looking forward to having to answer the “so what are you doing these days” question. He hasn’t held down a job since he returned from playing basketball in Latvia. The two have a bit of an ush-off, which each trying to charm the ladies into letting them escort them to their seats. At the reception, this turns into a dance off. The dance-off is pretty evenly matched until Winston scares off the kid by grinding with Jess.

The main plot is, of course, the drama between Nick, Caroline, and Jess. Jess does very well at making Caroline jealous when they first meet at the ceremony, and Nick is very pleased about this outcome. At the reception, though, Nick asks to talk to Caroline alone, and Jess reluctantly agrees. And that’s when things really start to go south. Nick is completely enamored with Caroline again, and Winston tells Jess that this is a serious problem. Caroline considers Nick her back-up plan and always ends up hurting him. Jess tries to fix the situation by getting Nick’s attention with a dance, but to say it doesn’t work would be an understatement. He leaves the table to go get a drink with Caroline, telling Jess that he thinks he has a chance with her again.

Meanwhile, Schmidt manages to cause even more trouble for Jess. Jess goes to him for help with the Nick situation, but she’s being typically Jess-like about the whole thing, and Brooke is a bit disdainful about Schmidt associating himself with someone quirky. To get out of that pickle, Schmidt makes up this elaborate story about how Jess is his psycho ex-girlfriend who just can’t let go. This turns out to be a very bad thing when Brooke runs into Jess in the ladies room. Jess had been wearing tight bicycle shorts as makeshift Spanx, and she decided to cut herself out of them when she got too uncomfortable. Jess tries to talk up Schmidt to Brook, but Brooke takes it way the wrong way when Jess accidentally points the knife she was using to cut the shorts at her.

Jess storms over to the a photo booth where Nick and Caroline had been taking pictures to confront Nick directly. Caroline ends up confessing that she has a boyfriend, and this of course sends Nick into an instant downward spiral. Schmidt and Winston are kind of pissed at Jess for not properly taking care of Nick, and thankfully Jess has had it with their rudeness. She’s going back to being herself, and she’s going to spend the rest of the wedding having fun. I was so glad Jess made this choice. She really needs to stand up for herself more often. Jess ends up sitting at a table blowing bubbles (the guys had tried to keep her away from the bubbles before). Winston approaches her and tries to mend fences. He says they’re all glad she’s around, even Nick, although they aren’t always good at showing it. Schmidt interrupts the rather sweet conversation to let them know that they have a serious Nick situation on their hands.

Since Jess went off on her own, Nick has gone on a drunken rant that was recorded for the bride and groom’s wedding video, and he has taken up residence in the photo booth. Which pisses off many of the guests, obviously. Jess goes into the photo booth (which Nick claims he lives in now) and manages to talk Nick down. I guess their common status as recent dumpees helps Jess get through to Nick. Nick is inspired by Jess to let go of Caroline for good. Or at least he tells Caroline he’s letting go for good. Whether it sticks remains to be seen. Nick then approaches Jess as a slow song comes on and asks for a dance. I expected a sappy romantic moment between them (which I wouldn’t have minded), but what we got is even better. They started Chicken Dancing to the slow song. Schmidt and Winston even join in, and it is glorious! Oh, and Schmidt ends up with Gretchen at the end of the night, poor guy. So all of you out in MTVP-land, any thoughts on which of the guys the writers are hoping we’ll root for Jess to end up with? It’s a close call for me, even though it’s becoming obvious that we’re supposed to expect Nick will be the first.

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