Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Girl 2.11: "Santa"

“I am so sick of hanging out with Christians. This is my last Christian Christmas.”

“Santa” didn’t quite live up to last year’s “The 23rd,” although it was still plenty entertaining. “New Girl” really has taken the place of HIMYM as the show that really tackles life as a single late 20 – early 30 something in a positive way, and I definitely appreciated this episode for that. I enjoyed the creative team’s take on the craziness that is trying to negotiate the plethora of holiday parties just before Christmas. I also liked how seamlessly Nick’s new girlfriend, Angie, integrated into the group. I mean, she’s obviously another placeholder until the creative team decides Nick and Jess can be together, but she has an up for anything attitude that allows her to just dive into whatever craziness the group gets going. Not as satisfying in this episode, however, were developments in Jess’ relationship with Sam. I really don’t understand what Jess sees in him. He’s kind of a douche, and not in the endearing way that Schmidt can be.

So the episode opens with the roommates sitting around making holiday decorations and talking about Santa. My favorite comment of the whole exchange is when Schmidt talks about how his rabbi always said that Jewish kids had to keep quiet about the whole no Santa thing until the last Christian kid at school knew the truth. It would be bad for the “brand” to ruin a kid’s Christmas. Anyway, Winston let’s slip with a “whether or not Santa’s real,” and the rest of the gang starts ragging on him for still potentially believing in Santa Claus. This devolves into a food fight of sorts, and a cranberry winds up lodged in Winston’s ear. They manage to get most of it out, but a little piece is still stuck, significantly impairing Winston’s hearing.

The roommates want to have a final “holiday hang” before everyone goes their separate ways for Christmas, and since their last opportunity to do this is on a Saturday, it means navigating a maze of potential party opportunities. The first party they hit up is a cookie decorating party thrown by Sadie and her wife. Schmidt thinks the party looks lame, so he only wants to spend five minutes there. And it doesn’t help that he’s constantly sniping with Cece over her turning him down after he said he loved her. Making things even worse is the fact that Jess’ ex, Sam, the commitment-phobe pediatrician, is at the party. Jess wants absolutely nothing to do with Sam, and she tries to have her friends shield her from him. That whole plan is ruined by Winston, though, who goes up to Sam and starts talking to him about his ear problem, most likely because he didn’t hear Jess saying she didn’t want to see Sam.

The gang moves on to a swankier party at a house with what looks like a glass wall and a DJ. Sam’s there too, much to Jess’ chagrin. Apparently Winston traded the location of their next party to Sam in exchange for an ear exam. Jess tries to think on her feet and tells Sam that she’s dating Winston. This makes Sam leave Jess alone until Sam removes the rest of the cranberry from Winston’s ear and says he’s jealous. Winston’s response is to stage a dramatic break-up with Jess, which was pretty darn hilarious. Although he tossed water at Jess’ coat, which is kind of unforgivable in my book. The coat was teal and Kate Spade and rather fabulous. So sue me. I have coat envy. And at a price of over $600 (yes I Googled the damn coat), it will continue to be envy. Anyway, Jess continues to run away from Sam, and she only pauses when he tries to give a speech about why he wants her back. Jess rightfully doesn’t believe what he’s saying though, and continues to turn him down.

The next stop on the party train is Winston’s work holiday party at the radio station. Nick and Jess have a rather sweet little conversation where they try to give each other courage to go ahead with their relationships. Nick’s a bit overwhelmed about how outgoing and forceful Angie is with her sexuality. An incident the last party where they broke a prop sleigh attempting to have sex didn’t help things. Jess convinces Nick that Angie’s adventurous side is good for him, so he sets to winning her back. By giving her the most awkward lap dance ever. Which is then followed by Angie returning the favor. And then Schmidt breaks up the fun by trying to show Nick how to improve his lap dance technique. I just laughed hysterically through this whole sequence.

Jess is driving rather erratically as the gang makes their way to the next party, not because she’s drunk, but because she’s so torn about Sam. She kind of wants to believe that he wants a real relationship, but she doesn’t want to get hurt again. Her crazy driving catches the attention of a police officer, who pulls her over. He’s African American, older, and has a long scraggly beard. Jess promises that she wasn’t drinking, and the officer decides to believe her. While the rest of the gang is whooping it up over the fact that they just saw “Black Santa,” Jess has come to the realization that she wants to believe Sam and give him a second chance. The next stop for the van isn’t going to be a party – it’s going to be the hospital where Sam works.

The gang piles into the hospital, but the (male) nurse at the reception desk tells them that visiting hours are over and they need to leave. Angie has a solution to this problem, though. She flashes the nurse, and he happily lets the gang pass through. Hey, it worked for Lily and Robin in “Okay Awesome,” so it makes sense that it would work here too. And it was another example of Angie gelling well with the rest of the group. Anyway, they don’t get very far before a security guard stops them. Jess, thinking quickly, tries to pretend they’re carolers, launching into “O Come All Ye Faithful” with gusto. Zooey Deschanel really does have an impressive voice. The rest of the gang tries to join in, but it’s pretty messy, and it’s clear that they aren’t actually madrigals caroling at the hospital. Sam hears the ruckus, though, and he vouches for them with the security guard. Then he and Jess kiss, and they’re officially back together. While the scene had an unfortunate result, I did like seeing the gang just let loose and do something stupid and silly together. As the gang leaves, they realize that Nick and Angie are nowhere to be found. I guess Nick finally decided to let go of his inhibitions. At a children’s hospital. Eww.

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