Friday, October 5, 2012

New Girl 2.03: "Fluffer"

“Forget it, Jess. I love this stuff. It’s like high stakes Legos.”

I don’t think I’ll consider “Fluffer” to be one of my all-time favorite episodes of “New Girl,” but I appreciate what it was trying to achieve, and I liked that it deepened some of the characters a bit. I thought it was good that Nick and Jess started to deal with their mutual attraction and give some thought to how they would be together, even if that thought didn’t come to a really positive resolution. Well, I guess you could consider it somewhat positive in the sense that they’re very much still both good friends, and they refuse to let their other friends define what they are to each other. Seems like that could be a healthy foundation on which to build a romantic relationship at the appropriate time in TV land (when there are one or two seasons left of the show or fans just get fed up). In the meantime, though, I just kind of felt bad for Nick. He claimed that he didn’t care that Jess was using him, but I still felt bad.

Anyway, the episode opens with Jess and Sam post-coital, and it’s awkward. Jess, always having been a relationship girl, just doesn’t know what to do after casual sex. She actually leaves and goes over to Nick’s room to ask him for advice, but he understandably doesn’t want to deal with that. The next morning, the guys sort of stage a mini intervention at breakfast. The guys say they are going to have a “date” with Jess to help her get in the mood before the next time she’s supposed to have casual sex with Sam. When it’s time for the date, however, Nick is the only one who actually bothers to show up. Schmidt and Winston are trying to get into a party that Kanye West is supposed to be attending, but more on that later. The Jess and Nick dinner actually goes pretty well, mostly because Jess brought a thermos of white wine for them to share. I thought the fact that it was white wine was a sweet, distinctly Jess touch. Anyway, the nice evening is put to a stop when Jess ges a booty call from Sam. She rushes out to get hers, and Nick seems a little sad.

Meanwhile, at the Kanye party, Winston is kind of creepily starig at some of the female partygoers. Schmidt picks up on this, and Winston is forced to admit that he and Shelby haven’t had sex in three weeks. He’s getting a little desperate, so he’s been cheating on Shelby in his mind. I think I would have tolerated this plot more if we had learned more about why Winston and Shelby had hit a dry spell. What we got just made Shelby look selfish and boring and mean to Winston. It definitely felt like it wasn’t written by a woman. Redeeming the Schmidt/Winston B story is Schmidt pretending to be a Romney. He says he’s Tagg Romney (I think) to get into the club for the party in the first place, and later he makes up a new Romney son, Tugg, and pretends to be him so he can chat up some hot Romney supporters. It doesn’t help Schmidt’s confidence that Cece is at this party too, but Winston runs interference with Cece so Schmidt can fully get into the Romney persona.

Back at the loft, Jess is talking about how she needs a new dresser, and Nick is going to take her to Ikea to get one. Winston is kind of dumbfounded when he hears Jess telling Nick he needs to take her to a farther away Ikea because they have the particular dresser she wants, and he takes Nick aside to knock a little sense into him. He calls Nick Jess’ emotional fluffer. He does all the relationshippy stuff with Jess so she’s in the mood to have sex with Sam. When they get back from Ikea, Nick gets frustrated with Jess and says he doesn’t want to be her emotional fluffer anymore. He also claims he’d never have sex with her, which Jess kind of calls him on (she says she’s thought about having sex with him once). The argument between them builds, and Jess announces that she’s going to go on a “real” date with Sam in retaliation.

Schmidt has invited the Romney fangirl back to the loft, and she in turn invites two more of her Romney supporter friends over. The three women start Googling like crazy trying to verify Schmidt’s story, because they’re pretty sure there isn’t actually a Tugg Romney. They find a photo of the Romney family, and Schmidt claims he was the one taking the picture. Then the women point out that the caption for the photo says “entire family.” Instead of admitting defeat, Schmidt doubles down (guess he’s taking after his fake dad after all) and gives this faux rousing, patriotic speech. The women still don’t believe him, which I found mildly amusing, and they finally leave the loft. In other B story news, Winston admits to Shelby that he’s been cheating on her in his mind, and she invites him over to watch SVU (seriously, when did Shelby become this horrible?), where they fight about not fighting.

Jess goes out on her “real” date with Sam and asks her what it means when a guy offers to build a dresser for you (which Nick did). Sam says he’d only build a dresser for a woman if he was married to her, which is kind of exactly what Jess didn’t want to hear. Back at the loft, Winston starts telling Nick all the things he can’t do with/for Jess if he’s not her boyfriend, especially building the dresser. Meanwhile, Cece comes over because Schmidt says he’s not okay. I guess he’s upset about the Romney girls not buying his act? It what is actually a pretty sweet scene, Schmidt talks to Cece about how his dad left and started a new family. I guess pretending to be Tugg Romney was a way of having a family again for Schmidt. Cece tells Schmidt that he needs to call his dad. I’m glad that they can still be so good together even when not in a romantic relationship.

Jess gets home from her date with Sam and sees Nick building her new dresser after all. She tells him to stop, because she doesn’t want to screw up what she has with Nick by being more than friends. Nick says it doesn’t matter. He’s tired of other people trying to define what they are to each other and what they can and can’t do. They’re good friends who are sometimes attracted to each other. He does, at least, draw the line at going on any more pre-sex with Sam dates, though (so at least he retains a little dignity). As an alternative method to get in the mood, Nick gives Jess a CD labeled “Nick’s Sexy Mix.” This just earned a big “sigh” from me, because I would prefer that Jess and Nick were just in a relationship already. Although then the writers would probably just feel the need to break them up, and that would suck. Later, Nick hears her using the mix, and he starts dancing to it out in the hallway. That’s funny, of course, because Jake Johnson trying to dance (and yelling random stuff) is never not funny.

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