Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Girl 2.08: "Bad in Bed"

“I'm not going to a black barbershop, Winston. I've seen the movies. I know how fast they talk. I don't need to seem any less cool than I already do.”

While I wouldn’t call “Bad in Bed” one of my favorite episodes of “New Girl,” I would definitely say that it was superior to “Naked,” which dealt with similar themes. I appreciated that there seemed to be real reasons behind Jess’ sexual hang-ups in this episode beyond her innate quirkiness. It was a much more well-rounded take on the theme. There were also mildly amusing subplots involving the guys in the apartment, but neither of those subplots were at all thematically tied to what Jess was going through. They were more funny vignettes, especially Nick and Winston’s plot. The vignettes kind of relied a bit too much on race and gender stereotype-based humor for my taste as well. Somehow, though, I’ll manage to power through this blog post so we can get to superior episodes of “New Girl” like “The 23rd” and “The Story of the 50.”

The episode opens with Jess and Paul returning from what must have been a pretty good date, because they’re tearing each other’s clothes off as they try to make their way to Jess’ bedroom. Poor Nick just looks on bewildered, as the commotion woke him up from dozing on the couch. Things slow down a bit, and Jess has to take a moment to look at herself in the bathroom mirror and get psyched before actually entering the bedroom with Paul. Things don’t go well at all, and Jess and Paul decide they’re going to try again tomorrow after going out for a nice dinner. The next morning, Jess announces to the guys that she and Paul are going to have sex that night. From her tone of voice (and the fact that she is announcing this at all), they correctly surmise that she is freaking out about this, although they aren’t quite sure why. We find out in a later conversation between Jess and Cece that Jess is freaking out because she feels she’s out of practice and wasn’t that experienced in the first place. She explains to Cece that pretty much everything she learned about sex was from her ex-boyfriend Spencer or the Clinton impeachment trial. We were treated to a hilarious flashback of young Jess feeling guilty for listening to NPR, which greatly amused me.

Since this subplot started around the time that Jess was making her announcement to the boys, now would be a good time to get the subplot about Nick’s hair troubles out of the way in one paragraph. Basically Nick’s hair has gotten really long (something I noticed when I first watched this episode but didn’t realize would figure into the plot). Nick doesn’t want to go get a haircut, though, because he dreads the thought of having to make small talk with a stylist for an hour. Nick dreads this so much that he even tries to cut his hair himself, although that plan ends when the demonstrator in the YouTube video he’s watching cuts himself severely and starts bleeding all over the place. Winston finally convinces Nick to go to his barbershop. Nick loves the place, but he ends up with a ridiculous hi-top haircut, and nobody takes him seriously for the rest of the episode.

The other small subplot of the episode involves Schmidt’s work situation. He works in an office of all female coworkers, and his supervisor, Gina, is pregnant. Schmidt is in a sort of war with his co-worker Beth over who is going to get the nice corner cubicle that recently opened up, and Schmidt manages to get himself invited to Gina’s baby shower. The plan is to schmooze his way to the corner cubicle at the party. The baby shower itself is a quite impressive, unruly pool party, and Schmidt is most definitely the life of the party. Beth says Schmidt doesn’t understand women, and she keeps trying to one-up him, but Schmidt eventually prevails. He ends up pushing Gina into the pool, and for a moment, it looks like she might be in trouble, but she comes up for air and loves it.

Anyway, back in Jess World, Jess borrows Schmidt’s computer to look up the restaurant where she and Paul are going, and she stumbles upon Schmidt’s porn collection. Five-and-a-half hours later, she’s pretty freaked out, and she asks the guys for help. She wants to know how much of what she saw in the poor guys actually expect women to do. The guys don’t have much time to offer advice before Paul arrives, but they do get into a little competition about who is the best at sex. The general consensus is that Nick is the worst, although Nick, of course, disagrees. At dinner, Jess asks Paul if he likes porn, and she pretends that she loves porn. Understandably, Paul gets a little freaked out. Their later attempt at sex is similarly a disaster. Jess uses stupid voices (old timey newscaster and a lumber jack), and Paul has trouble untying the ridiculous starfish lingerie Jess bought with Cece. Paul really freaks out, so much that he runs out of the apartment, when Jess tries lightly choking him.

The next morning, Jess throws a fit in the kitchen, so Winston and Nick immediately set about finding out what is wrong. They advise Jess that in the future, when it comes to sex, she should just be herself instead of trying to be into things that she really doesn’t like. Jess says she’ll only listen to Winston, though. She can’t take Nick seriously because of his terrible hair. Paul stops by the apartment to apologize to Jess, and Jess apologizes too. She explains that she really isn’t into all the stuff she tried the night before, she just thought she needed to be more exciting. Paul makes it clear that he likes her just the way she is. Jess offers to walk Paul back downstairs, and now that the pressure is off, they end up having sex in the elevator.

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