Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Girl 1.13: "Valentine's Day"

“I got the dirty twirls, Schmidty. Watch out, because you’re about to get laid…world.”

TV shows don’t do episodes for smaller holidays (holidays other than Christmas and Thanksgiving) often enough for my taste. Mostly because I’d like to have standing holiday classic recaps at times of the year other than October through December. So it was a lot of fun that “New Girl” decided to do a Valentine’s Day episode. It was even better that this was one of the show’s better episodes. I liked how a number of seemingly separate plots all came together for the most part by the end, and I liked how each of those plots was a sort-of different take on Valentine’s Day. Jess wants a one-night stand, Schmidt wants to avoid hooking up, Nick wants a traditional Valentine’s Day with Julia, and Winston winds up at a girl’s night. None of these plots were a traditional take on the Valentine’s Day television episode, full of, as Jaye from “Wonderfalls” would say, “relentless, treacly romance.” Instead there was a lot of really sharp humor. Oh and there was a heck of a twist at the end, too. Albeit the timing of this twist makes me wonder how long this plot development will last, which is a shame, because it’s rather awesome.

The episode opens with breakfast at the loft. Nick and Julia are being cutesy and planning their romantic Valentine’s Day, and this majorly irritates Jess (well, as irritated as Jess is ever capable of being). She tells Schmidt that since this is her first Valentine’s Day as a single woman in six years, she really needs to go out to the club and experience a random hook-up. Schmidt says he doesn’t usually go out on Valentine’s Day, because you can smell the desperation, and it’s just way too easy, but he agrees to take Jess out to trawl for man meat anyway. Later, Cece helps Jess get ready for her big night. Jess is packing an elaborate overnight bag because she wants a one-night stand, and Cece wonders if Jess is even capable of having a one-night stand. She forms emotional attachments to both people and objects easily, and she’s even been known to get upset over seeing a single shoe by the side of the road.

Meanwhile, Nick heads over to Julia’s office to pick her up for their Valentine’s Day outing. He really wants to do Valentine’s Day right with Julia, because last year, he was fighting with Caroline instead of having a nice, romantic day. Nick meets Julia’s intern, Cliff, played by the awesome Clark Duke of “Greek” fame. Between Clark Duke and Lizzy Caplan, this episode was a veritable buffet of awesome comedy guest stars. Anyway, Cliff makes some suggestive remarks about Julia, and the look on his face when he realizes Nick is Julia’s boyfriend is pretty darn priceless. Julia has stocked up on cheesy Valentine’s day merchandise like heart boxers for Nick and light-up heat antennae for herself. I wonder if this is her attempt to be more quirky and whimsical like Jess in an attempt to feel more secure with Nick. Unfortunately, for Julia, however, she also needs to do about another hour of work before she can go out with Nick.

Winston is planning to spend Valentine’s Day with Shelby, a woman he used to hook up with off and on pre-Latvia. He arrives at Shelby’s apartment to find that Shelby is throwing a full-on girl’s night mani/pedi party. Winston decides that the way back to Shelby’s heart probably lies in being nice to her friends, so he becomes the life of the party. He serves sangria made from a special family recipe and dispenses relationship advice to the friends who need it. Shelby appreciates Winston’s efforts, but before she can really accept him again, she has to make sure he understands what an ass he was before he went to Latvia. For instance, she spent the entirety of Valentine’s Day 2008 waiting for Winston to call. Winston says he doesn’t deserve a second chance, but Shelby gives him one anyway.

At a club, Cece and Schmidt watch as Jess hits on a guy. She’s all excited because he’s from Oregon and she’s from Oregon. Cece and Schmidt quick call Jess over and tell her to find another guy because she’s already getting emotionally attached. In trying to give Jess advice, Schmidt and Cece bond a little over their love for one of my own favorite books from when I was a tween, The Phantom Tollbooth. The fact that this book got such a random shout-out just reinforces for me why “New Girl” is one of my favorite shows on television right now. Anyway, Jess goes over to the bar and asks a guy for the cherry from his drink. She ends up choking on the cherry, and when she recovers, she looks up I the other direction and sees none other than Ryan Kwanten, aka Jason Stackhouse from “True Blood.” In this instance, he’s playing a really boring, kind of dumb surfer named Oliver. I guess it’s in the same family of character as Jason, although Jason is more interesting. Oliver is so boring that his favorite topic of conversation is what he ate for lunch (usually tacos).

Due to the fact that Oliver is boring and they have nothing in common, Jess thinks he’s a perfect candidate for her Valentine’s Day one-night stand, and Schmidt and Cece agree. Cece’s boyfriend Kyle shows up high from schrooms, so she leaves with him before he can create a handsy, racist scene. Jess doesn’t have a car, so she has Schmidt (under protest) drive herself and Oliver to Oliver’s place for the one-night stand. Schmidt stays at Oliver’s place to watch a movie, and Jess has to enlist Cece’s help to get him to leave. Cece tells Schmidt to leave his car for Jess to use to get home (he doesn’t want Jess taking a cab because of the dangerous “youths” in the neighborhood), and she will come pick him up. Schmidt walks outside to find that the “street youths” have stolen the tires from his car.

Meanwhile, over at Julia’s office, Nick and Cliff bond while drinking champagne and waiting for Julia to finish work. Julia is making some rather hateful and racist comments over the phone to her subordinate Ming, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. I think “New Girl” can be better than that. It was really the only downside to this episode. Anyway, Nick tells Cliff about how he hit rock bottom and quit law school. Actual rock bottom involved entering himself in a cock fight in Mexico, and the little flashback we get of that situation was rather hilarious. Cliff realizes that he doesn’t want to be a lawyer any more than Nick did, and he up and quits his internship right then and there. Julia is extremely pissed, and she tells Nick to leave so she can finish her work, and she’ll call him tomorrow. Nick ends up trying to do Cliff’s work (mostly copying) for Julia as a peace offering. She appreciates the gesture, and they make out a little, but then she has to do more work. Guess there will be no traditional Valentine’s Day for Nick this year.

Things get even crazier over at Oliver’s house when Oliver’s ex-girlfriend shows up. It turns out she and Oliver only broke up a week ago, and she still lives with him because she doesn’t have a job. She is extremely pissed to find Oliver making out with Jess. Then, to make things worse, Cece, Schmidt, and Kyle all barge into the house. Poor Jess really can’t get her groove on! Oliver’s ex is so pissed that she kisses Kyle to get back at Oliver. This in turn pisses off Cece (considering Kyle is her boyfriend and all), and she starts a full-on cat fight. Schmidt ends up stopping the fight by literally carrying Cece out of the house. Then Jess throws a glow stick out into the yard for Kyle to follow. Jess and Oliver resume making out while Oliver’s ex noisily munches on tacos (of course). Jess can’t take it anymore, and being the bright ray of sunshine she is, makes Oliver realize that he really wants his ex back.

Jess goes back to the loft one-night stand-less, and she runs into Schmidt, who tries to give her some advice. He tells her that a one-night stand should be with someone she knows, but someone who won’t make a big deal about it. And be sure to get out of the house in the morning without having to stay for brunch. Schmidt goes into his room, and the wheels start turning in Jess’ brain. Schmidt just happens to fulfill the criteria in his own advice. She grabs the massive box of condoms she purchased for the occasion and heads towards Schmidt’s door. Just as she’s about to knock, Nick gets home and stops her. Like Schmidt earlier in the episode, he literally carries Jess away from Schmidt’s room. Inside Schmidt’s room, shocker of all shockers, Schmidt and Cece are having sex. The next morning, Jess calls Cece to tell her she almost slept with Schmidt, and speaking from Schmidt’s bed, Cece can only offer a noncommittal response. I love that Schmidt and Cece are sort of together now, because I think they’re an interesting pair, and inside the douchebag exterior, Schmidt has a good heart. I just worry that because they got together so early, we’re going to have to go through several break-ups and make-ups with them, Rachel and Ross style. Here’s hoping for a more interesting (and less frustrating) ride than that!

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