Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Girl 1.12: "The Landlord"

“I can’t believe this is working. You out-crazied a man with a gun.”

“The Landlord” is a great example of why I think “New Girl” is a show that has staying power. Even an episode that I would place near the bottom of the list in terms of how much I liked it compared to other episodes made me laugh hysterically. Seriously, I couldn’t stop laughing at the almost-threesome with Rusted Root playing in the background and Jake Johnson making the most hilarious WTF faces. The plot that led to this situation was more than a little lacking, but the payoff was really darn funny. Schmidt’s plot was even more lacking, and it didn’t really have the humor to back it up (well, there were some attempts at humor, but it didn’t really work for me), but overall, the main plot salvaged the episode for me. If an arguably sub-par episode of “New Girl” can make me laugh this much, I think we’re going to get along for a long time. Or I could just be perpetually twelve. I do admit that’s a definite possibility!

The episode opens with Nick and Jess in a parking spot fight with a burly guy in a big truck. Nick’s all for fighting for the parking spot until the other guy pulls a gun. Jess yells about how this is “like ‘The Wire,’” showing she has impeccable taste in television (I did live in “Bodymore, Murderland” for three years and love that city in spite of all its flaws). Jess, rather ridiculously, thinks that if she’s nice to this guy with the gun, he’ll back off and let them have the parking spot (and not kill them, obviously). Jess turns out to be right, in a way. The guy backs off and gives them the spot, but he does it because he thinks Jess is crazy, not because it was the first time in his life anybody had ever been nice to him.

We then head over to the loft, where Schmidt has gotten a series of texts from his boss that he finds confusing. She wants him to dial her into the Tokyo call, and she wants him to bring her some reports. Somehow Schmidt thinks this could potentially be Kim coming on to him. Apparently Schmidt has a long and storied history of thinking any statement spoken by a woman is a come-on, and we get the evidence in flashback form. Before Winston has too much time to tell Schmidt he’s crazy, Jess and Nick return to the loft from their parking adventure, still arguing over their opposite world views. Jess believes in the innate good nature of everyone, while Nick, thanks to somebody stealing a $5 bill from him when he was a kid, generally thinks people suck. While this argument is happening, the garbage disposal breaks. Jess wants to go to the landlord about it, but they guys say it’s a really bad idea. So, on top of being funny, this episode answers the complaint I had a couple of episodes back when Schmidt and Nick were fighting about fixing stuff around the loft, and I thought they should have just gone to the landlord.

I think I’m going to do a quick recap of Schmidt’s sub-plot here, because it was kind of stupid and I’d like to get it over with. Things get a little hot and heavy between Schmidt and Kim at the office. She asks him to sort her files and takes her sweater off in an arguably provocative way. Schmidt goes with it and starts licking the files, and Kim, understandably, thinks that’s kind of gross and shoots him down. Schmidt, back at the loft, talks to Cece about his problems with Kim, but Winston interrupts by presenting Schmidt’s list of 2007 New Year’s resolutions that he found when cleaning out the closet in his bedroom (which used to be Schmidt’s). There’s all sorts of hilarious stuff on that list. The next evening after work, Schmidt and Kim walk out to their cars in the parking garage, and they start to part ways. Schmidt then changes his mind and runs for Kim’s car, where they start making out. The whole thing is derailed by security guards, though, because the security guards mistakenly thought an assault was in progress and started beating the crap out of Schmidt. At the end of the episode, Schmidt talks to Kim about the incident and reads her a 2007 resolution about not thinking about her every time he gets off. Kim then asks Schmidt to dial him into the Tokyo call, and Schmidt mistakenly takes this for a come-on, embarrassing himself pretty fully in front of the Tokyo meeting participants.

So in an effort to be vindicated in her faith in humanity, Jess, bearing cupcakes, goes to have a talk with the landlord, Remy. He lives in a really creepy office. Jess tries being her usual uber-nice self, but Remy isn’t having it. He really has no interest in making repairs to the loft. Jess accidentally mentions four people live in the apartment, and Remy catches it immediately, informing Jess that only three people are supposed to live in that loft. Jess rushes back up to the loft and tells the guys what happened. It turns out they have a really hilarious plan for just this situation, which involves Schmidt pretending to be a foreign visitor. The best part is when they start tossing all of Schmidt’s stuff off the balcony in an effort to destroy the evidence. The charade doesn’t fool Remy, but he takes pity on the gang and says they can all stay at the loft anyway. Jess takes the opportunity to once again ask Remy to fix the problems with their loft, and Remy says he will make the repairs for her.

Remy spends an afternoon showing Jess “how to fix stuff,” which Nick says means Remy wants to sleep with her. He does this really cute demonstration about guys in movies who come up behind a girl to help them with something so they can breathe on their neck. Jess has to keep taking her attempt to make a point further, though, and she announces that she’s invited Remy to dinner to thank him for all the work he has done. At first the guys are not at all interested in participating, but then Nick says he’s going to join them. It’s probably partly hoping he’ll have a chance to prove his own point and party to protect Jess, since Remy really is rather creepy. Over dinner, Remy and Nick (Remy more than Nick, really) sort of bond over both having gone through really tough break-ups recently. Remy leaves the dinner table to go use the bathroom, and he returns with no pants on. He wants to try a threesome with Jess and Nick. Nick is kind of happy that his point has been proven, but he also didn’t expect it to be proven in quite that way. Jake Johnson certainly gives good befuddled.

Nick and Jess seem bound and determined to go along with the threesome just to try and prove each other wrong, and it just gets weirder and weirder. Remy starts rubbing Nick’s back, and Jake Johnson makes the funniest WTF faces as this is happening. You can tell that Nick desperately wants out of this awkward situation, but not badly enough to lose his argument with Jess. Making the whole scene more bizarre is the fact that Rusted Root’s “Send Me on My Way” is playing as all of this is happening. Oh and Remy names Nick “underpants captain.” Remy then says Nick and Jess should get things started, and that’s when Jess starts to get a little hesitant. Nick grabs her and kisses her to prove his point once and for all (the kiss was really quite hot), and Jess squirms away and finally calls the whole thing off, admitting defeat. Winston happens to arrive back at the loft in the aftermath of all this and doesn’t quite know what to make of it. Poor Winston. The writers need to give him something to do already!

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