Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Girl 1.07: "Bells"

“And my bar mitzvah was an amazing event! The theme was ‘Sports Jams!’”

“Bells” was a pleasant enough stand-alone episode of “New Girl,” and surprisingly, it is one of the few episodes thus far that doesn’t deal with the gang’s romantic entanglements. Instead, we get some development of Winston as a character (we see and get a bit of an explanation for his hyper-competitiveness), and we get a funny B plot involving a fight between Schmidt and Nick. The B plot reveals character too, especially about Nick. We see that he isn’t really comfortable with being poor and sort of a “loser” after dropping out of law school. All of this is wrapped around a rather silly main plot involving Jess wanting to teach handbells to delinquents. I found this amusingly absurd, but I’m still kind of bitter over a handbell-related experience in middle school (yes, I hold a grudge for a very long time), so I kind of wish she had chosen different instruments

The episode begins with the guys bro-ing out on the apartment couch. Schmidt’s chowing down on a whole tray of sushi, and he’s trying to get Winston and Nick to eat some of it. They’re skeptical, to say the least. Schmidt tells Winston that now he has a job, he’s got to learn to like pretentious stuff like sushi. Winston reminds Schmidt that it’s just a temp job, and we see in a flashback what a boring job it is- pretty much just envelope stuffing. Winston has even tried to make a game out of how fast he can stuff envelopes, but it doesn’t do much good. Jess interrupts this conversation by bringing a bunch of students into the apartment. They look like middle or high school students, which doesn’t make much sense considering I thought Jess was an elementary school teacher, but I guess we’re supposed to just go with it. These kids have agreed to be part of a handbell choir to avoid early morning detention, and because they lost their space at the community center, Jess wants to rehearse them at the loft. She lays down the law with the guys (which was surprising), and they really don’t have a choice but to allow it.

The bell rehearsal is rather rough, to put it kindly, but the ever-optimistic Jess tells the kids they are great and gives them a “texting break” as a reward. While on a break, one of the students has trouble with the toilet (it won’t stop flushing), and Jess calls Nick into fix it. It turns out he has some MacGuyver-ed system to keep the toilet running properly which involves a plastic bottle in a hole in the wall. Schmidt is sick of the toilet not working properly want wants Nick to “fancy fix” it (aka fix it properly). This conversation is interrupted by actually really good handbell playing coming from the living room. It turns out it’s Winston. He’s got several bells in each hand and is really going to town. Jess wants Winston to help out with the group just until their next concert because she thinks he can be a good role model and inspiration, and he agrees.

Meanwhile, Schmidt is getting really impatient waiting for Nick to finish fixing the toilet, and he wants to call a plumber. Nick says a plumber is too expensive- he wants to finish the repair himself. While Nick is out of the apartment for a little while, Schmidt does indeed call the plumber. When Nick gets home to see Schmidt paying that plumber, he is really pissed off and says he won’t use the toilet. Schmidt reminds Nick of other stuff in the apartment he’s paid for, like the couch and the rug, and Nick says he’s not going to use those, either. Then he pulls the TV cable out of the wall because he’s the one who “stole the cable.” Now that I think about it, even though I really enjoyed watching it, this plot doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. One of the advantages of renting as opposed to being a homeowner is that you have a landlord to do repairs for you for free. Nick (or a contractor paid by the gang) shouldn’t have to be doing repairs at all. Ah well.

Winston participates in the next bell choir rehearsal, and he says he wants to “win” the concert by having the group play “Eye of The Tiger.” As a native Philadelphian, I approve of that idea. Jess doesn’t like it, though, I think because she doesn’t believe the group has time to rehearse something new. She’s also feeling kind of threatened by Winston. Jess tells the kids that she can do fancy tricks with handbells too, but what she does ends up looking more like a cheerleading routine with bells replacing pom poms. The kids like Winston’s idea, and Winston suggests they skip class to practice the song. That doesn’t really meet with Jess approval, either. It turns out that it’s a bad idea for Winston, too. He gets fired from his temp job for trying to work out the notes to “Eye of the Tiger” instead of doing his work. He also gets really frustrated when the kids don’t play the song well at the next rehearsal. He goes on a huge rant and insults them, and Jess kicks Winston out of the group.

Jess is talking to Nick about the Winston situation as Nick is working on the basketball hoop in the living room. Schmidt gets home, Nick tosses him the basketball, and then it quickly apparent that Nick “unfixed” the hoop. The next morning, Nick wakes up with all of his frozen food in his bed because Schmidt was the one who purchased their apartment’s freezer. The fight only escalates from there. Nick puts all of Schmidt’s stuff (including the couch) in Schmidt’s room, then Schmidt gets really pissed about Nick using his conditioner. Schmidt says he wants to fight Nick, and Nick takes him up on it. As Nick approaches him, Schmidt starts running. They chase each other around the kitchen a bit, which was pretty darn hilarious. The fight takes a more serious turn, however, when Schmidt calls Nick a loser. Nick sulks off to his room.

The roommates clearly all have a lot of issues to work out. Jess and Winston stat by having a heart to heart about the bell choir situation. Jess tells Winston that the reason she got upset was because those kids don’t need one more person telling them they’re worthless. They seem to reach an understanding.
Then on the rooftop, Nick and Winston have a conversation about how they both seem to have reached low points in their lives. They both thought they would have accomplished much more by now than they have. They decide to go to the bell choir concert to support Jess, at least. Schmidt comes along too, but he has to get his cardigan first, of course. When the boys arrive at the concert, Jess calls Winston up to the stage and lets him participate. As they watch the concert, Schmidt and Nick make up too (and Nick insults Schmidt’s cardigan, as he should).

No comments:

Post a Comment