Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Girl 1.16: "Control"

“It’s like you’re ripping the side block out of my mental Jenga.”

When I first watched “Control,” I thought it was one of those middle-of-the –road episodes of New Girl that I call out so often here on the blog. You know, even though it’s not a favorite, it was still fun and that means the show is awesome? I ended up enjoying it a lot more when rewatching it to write this. It’s still not in the very upper pantheon of “New Girl” episodes, but I laughed a whole lot. And I’ve come to the conclusion that my own apartment really needs a Schmidt. Maybe then we’d clean the kitchen more than once every few months! This really was a great episode for Schmidt overall. We got to see why the rest of the roommates tolerate having him around despite his intrinsic doucheyness. We also saw why getting Schmidt to lighten up a little is a very, very bad idea if you ever want to have a clean apartment or snarky, on-point fashion advice. Schmidt embracing his (very deep) inner drum circle hippie provided a great showcase for Max Greenfield to show off his comedic chops, and Greenfield certainly rose to the occasion. Schmidt really is the role of a lifetime for him.

The episode opens with Cece and Schmidt in a car. They’ve had their tryst for the evening, and Cece is trying to drop Schmidt off about a mile away from the loft. Her reluctance to be seen with Schmidt is kind of starting to border on the ridiculous here. I mean, yeah, he’s a douchebag, but he’s a self-aware douchebag, and he treats Cece well. Anyway, Schmidt is seriously stressing out, because Cece just summons him for sex whenever she wants, and he feels like she has all the control in the relationship. Schmidt is the epitome of a control freak, so this is not working for him at all. He takes out his frustration on Jess when he finally gets home. She found a pine hutch she liked out on the street and brought it into the apartment. This isn’t okay with Schmidt because 1.) it’s not furniture he picked out; 2.) pine is for outhouses; and 3.) street furniture could be germy. He threatens Jess that he’ll reinstitute his “ban on high-waisted shorts” if she doesn’t get rid of the hutch.

Meanwhile, Nick and Winston are in the bathroom. Nick has random stuff written all over himself in marker, and we soon find out that the boys got rather wasted at a poker game the night before. The upshot is that Nick owes Winston $480. And we all know how rolling in cash Nick is. Jess interrupts by bursting into the bathroom to complain about Schmidt, and she leaves with a newfound determination to stand up to Schmidt in the apartment wars. Schmidt comes home to find that Jess has changed even more things in the loft since the last time he came home. There’s a lamp and afghan Jess found while dumpster diving. To really twist the knife, Jess has also put some of Schmidt’s stuff in the hutch. Schmidt wants the hutch gone more than ever. He tries acting like he’s had a change of heart, and he apologizes to Jess, but when she walks away satisfied, he knocks the hutch over and breaks it. This is the big realization that Schmidt has gone to far with his control freak/compulsive tendencies.

Instead of getting mad, because she’s Jess after all, Jess decides to take Schmidt to Venice Beach to see if she can get him to lighten up a bit. Instead of enjoying the ocean and the quirky people, though, all Schmidt can see is a dead bird and syringes on the beach. He’s not having fun at all. Jess tells Schmidt that he needs to learn to be a bit spontaneous. At the perfect moment, Schmidt notices a drum circle. A woman motions for him to join, and it looks like Schmidt is actually going to take her up on the offer. Very un-Schmidt-like.

Sitting on a park bench, Winston tries once again to get his poker money from Nick. He’s got a prepared written-out speech and everything. It’s kind of adorable. There’s even a pre-written response for when Nick tells Winston to “relax.” Winston offers to call it even at $200, but even that isn’t good enough for Nick. He starts listing stuff he’s paid for recently that Winston has also used, and he tries to subtract it all from the $200 balance. Back at the apartment, Winston retaliates by giving Nick a bunch of receipts for stuff he’s bought, and they keep sniping about what they owe each other. The capper is Winston seeing Nick’s mom naked in 8th grade. Nick’s reaction to this part of the conversation is pretty hilarious. Jess and Schmidt arrive at home, and Jess starts enjoying showing off the new Schmidt. He’s super chill and doesn’t even get upset when Nick spittakes beer all over the table. Winston and Nick both warn Jess that she has upset the fragile ecosystem of the loft.

Sure enough, without Schmidt keeping things obsessively in order, the apartment quickly devolves into chaos. Schmidt is just drumming all day, and the place is a serious mess. Jess offers to do the cleaning if Nick and Winston go grocery shopping. Nick and Winston hem and haw about having to do a chore until Schmidt waltzes in and tries to give them necklaces that he made. Then they’re only too happy to go. And let me tell you, Nick and Winston trying to grocery shop is pretty priceless. They put way too many groceries in the cart for the $100 they have to spend. They have to realize that they don’t actually need multiple bottles of catsup. This, of course, makes them start talking about the money again. Winston smirks that they’re even because he’s seen Nick’s mom’s boobs. This devolves into a slap fight, which is never not funny.

Jess, realizing the error of her ways, goes to the beach to try and get Schmidt back, but he’s not interested. He doesn’t want to leave the drum circle. Back at the loft, Nick and Winston make up over sharing a frozen bagel as an ice pack to recover from their fight. Jess comes home very upset, and she admits that she did indeed upset the ecosystem. She just wants to be part of the loft “family.” Nick kind of adorably assures Jess that yes, she is part of the family now. Schmidt arrives home from his day of drumming, and it’s time for the roommates to stage an intervention. Nick offers to let Schmidt clean his room, which Schmidt calls the “White Whale.” Jess gives Schmidt a brand new pair of Calvin Klein trousers. The leave the room, and the Calvin Klein does its work well. Soon enough, Schmidt is back to obsessively cleaning and unintentionally insulting his friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment