Saturday, December 10, 2011

New Girl 1.04: "Naked"

“We grew up together. Locker rooms, swimming pools…penis fights. It just happens.”

“Naked” was the first episode of “New Girl” after a long baseball playoff hiatus (since my Phillies didn’t make it out of the NLDS, baseball hiatus got real old, real fast this year). While this episode was decent, it was a bit of a whimper of a return. I adored “Wedding,” but this episode just seemed more immature than funny. It took Jess just a touch too far on the quirkiness spectrum. Slow-motion chicken dancing with a peck instead of a clap is fun quirkiness in my book. An inability to say the word “penis” is just kind of sad. I’m not going to gripe too much about this one, though, because I’m far behind enough in my blogging here to know that some amazing episodes come after this one. The slight misstep that was “Naked” was not at all a trend. And there was still some genuinely funny stuff in this episode, too. Winston’s sub-plot about needing to catch up on pop culture after living in Latvia for several years really cracked me up.

The show opens with a brief vignette that isn’t really connected to the rest of the episode. I think it’s meant to illustrate how Jess still hasn’t really completely fit in with the guys yet. Schmidt, Nick, and Winston are lounging on the couch watching a scary movie, and Jess interrupts. She flops down on the couch and starts talking about movies she’d rather watch like “Fame” and “An American Tale.” The final straw, though, is when she spoils the movie by telling the guys that a character is going to blow himself up. She had seen the movie already in theaters, but she had neglected to tell the guys that.

Nick has a date scheduled with a coworker, a really odd fellow bartender named Amanda. It’s the first time he’s really put himself out there since the big break-up with Caroline, and Schmidt and Jess are just full of advice. Unfortunately, some of Schmidt’s advice (to suck in his gut), which is backed up by Jess, makes Nick feel kind of fat. This leads Nick to start dancing in front of his bedroom mirror, just to get a sense of how he really looks. To continue this process (and maybe gain some confidence?), Nick also starts taking off all his clothes as he dances. Jess is bothered by the loud music and barges into Nick’s room to tell him to turn it down. She gets a view of the goods and lets out a little laugh-scream as she runs out of the room. Which really doesn’t help at all.

Meanwhile, Winston’s having a bit of a crisis because of a bad job interview. He had the skill for the job, but he failed at the pre-interview pop culture chit chat. This was because he lived in Latvia for several years. The interviewer blabbering on about TwitPics and Jersey shore folks was just gibberish to him. Schmidt decides he’s going to help Winston with this and starts rattling off a bunch of pop culture facts Winston is going to need to know. My favorite part of the exchange is when Schmidt mentions that Betty White is back, and Winston asks what happened to the rest of the Golden Girls. Winston’s little sad face when Schmidt informs him that they’re all dead is just too much! Winston’s pop culture education continues throughout the episode. For instance, we hear him watching the “Double Rainbow” video at one point.

Jess rushes out to the living room to try to tell Schmidt and Winston what happened. Before she can get out the whole story, Nick, now all hoodied-up in hiding from the world mode, tries to leave the apartment. After Jess tells the rest of the story, Schmidt is a little upset that he’s the only person in the apartment who has never seen Nick’s penis. Winston has seen it because he and Nick grew up together, and apparently that sort of thing is rather difficult to avoid in the locker room. Schmidt keeps trying to sneak-attack a peek at Nick in the bathroom throughout the rest of the episode. It’s super creepy, but it’s pretty damn hilarious, too. Which pretty much describes Schmidt all the time.

Nick’s date with Amanda doesn’t go well because Nick is super self-conscious about taking off his clothes. They end up spooning fully clothed all night. When Nick returns from his date the next morning, Jess really wants to talk to him about what happened. Nick has no desire to talk about it, and Jess ends up chasing him around the building, including on and off an elevator a couple times, trying to have the conversation. When Jess accuses Nick of being immature for refusing to talk, Nick calls her on the fact that she can’t say the word “penis.” Jess really desperately tries to say it for a while, but she just can’t manage it. Nick believes this proves his point (and it kind of does).

Winston has another job interview and he’s pretty bummed out afterwards. When Schmidt asks what happened, Winston explains that while he totally nailed the pop culture stuff, he struggled when the interviewer asked “Why do you want to do this job?” Winston hasn’t known any career other than playing basketball, so he’s not really sure why he would want another job (other than the fact that he needs money, obviously). Schmidt suggests they go for a run so Winston can blow off some steam. This turns out to be a great thing for Winston, but Schmidt doesn’t get very far before he can’t run anymore. He claims he has exercise asthma. Later, as Schmidt is recovering, he and Winston have a bit of a heart to heart. Winston said that he learned from the internet that everybody eventually has their time in the sun. He’s certain that his time and Schmidt’s time will come someday. I thought that was a nice sentiment.

Jess discusses the Nick situation with Cece, and Cece suggests Jess make it even by letting Nick see her naked. I’m pretty sure this has been a plot point in many sitcoms before. So much so that Abed even pointed it out in an episode of “Community” where Jeff and Britta were having some awkwardness once. Meanwhile, Nick apologizes to Amanda, and she accepts because she appreciates his honesty. Jess decides to take Cece’s advice, and she’s waiting in Nick’s room clothed only in a towel when Nick returns from a date with Amanda. Jess tries hiding behind the bed, but when Nick and Amanda start undressing, she just can’t take it anymore. Awkwardness and screaming ensue. And Nick gets a good view of Jess when she accidentally drops the towel.

This latest drama results in a big apartment meeting where Winston and Schmidt happily use Jess’ travel size feelings stick (Nick broke the regular size one) to basically tell Nick that he needs to lighten up. And that he should let Schmidt see his penis. Which kind of defeated the purpose of the feelings stick session, I think. Jess and Nick do eventually make up after Jess works really hard at finally being able to say the word “penis.” But she is still, apparently, unable to use anatomically correct terms for lady parts. Nick agrees with me that calling her vagina her “gumbo pot” (when asking Nick how much he saw) is just gross.

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