Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Girl 2.23: "Virgins"

"I just want to make sure you don't miss out on the things in life that happen when you're not thinking. Because believe you me, those are the best things."

“Virgins” is the episode of “New Girl” that, unsurprisingly given the title, tells the story of how each of the characters lost their virginity. There was, as you would expect, some awkwardness, but the episode maintained that distinctly “New Girl” vibe which made it worth watching anyway. The creative team managed to take a topic where stupid humor could abound unchecked and add enough heart to give it substance. I think that’s why I like “New Girl” so much in the first place. There’s a certain quirky quality to it that is hard to put into words, but when you see it, you instantly know you’re watching an episode of “New Girl.” And to top it all off (spoiler alert), the episode ended with Nick and Jess finally having sex. After so many teases, I was kind of surprised it actually happened in this episode, but happen it did. It will be very interesting to see how the characters move forward from that, but this past season has given me confidence that the creative team can handle it.

There comes a time in the history of every successful sitcom where we get the big flashback episode, and, as I mentioned in the introduction, that’s what this was, complete with long past chance meetings between characters. The frame for all this is a text message Jess receives in the present day from a guy named Teddy. The text comes while the gang all happens to be in the bathroom (even Cece) all happen to be in the bathroom at the same time, which was kind of silly, but since that wasn’t the point of the episode, I can forgive it. Anyway, Nick is a little peeved that Jess is talking to another guy, so he asks Jess for some background information on Teddy. Jess says that he was the guy who took her virginity, and needless to say, that doesn’t make Nick any happier. This leads to all of the gang telling their first time stories, some of which were significantly more embarrassing than others.

Jess’ story is spread out throughout the episode because it’s actually a sequence of events involving three different guys, one of which is Teddy. We start out on prom night, where Jess tells the guys that her date was the other member of the Gender Equality Club. After prom, they’re in a hotel room freak dancing to Lisa Loeb and having gender equal foreplay (the date constantly asking Jess if she feels safe). I’ve got to interject on the music choice here, which is representative of one of the few issues I have with New Girl. The flashback pop culture references are always a tiny bit older than they should be, even though Liz Meriwether is only a year older than me and pretty much the same age as Jess. I listened to some Lisa Loeb in college in 2002, but even by then she was considered kind of old school. I think someone like Jess probably would have listened to Jewell in 2000.

Anyway, Jess’ homemade dress doesn’t have a zipper, so she and her date are having some trouble. Jess’ request that her date just rip her dress off makes her date feel uncomfortable, and the whole thing just becomes an embarrassment squick fest. Jess ends up crying out in the hallway when a mysterious guitar playing guy shows up and sweeps her off her feet. Then the prom date shows up in the hallway and sees them singing together, and drama ensues. That’s not the end of the story, though. Several years later, Jess and Cece are in a bar in Los Angeles, where Nick, Winston, and Schmidt are also partying, but they obviously don’t know Jess. Although Schmidt does make a really pathetic attempt to hit on Cece. Anyway, the guitar playing guy shows up and propositions Jess, and she’s eager to take him up on the offer.

Before we wrap up Jess’ story, let’s talk about the other guys for a minute. I found Winston’s first time story to be the most disturbing of the bunch. Walt took Winston and Nick to New York City when they were teenagers, but Winston and Nick were spending all their time in their motel room watching movies and porn. Walt decides that the boys need to live a little, so he buys them some rather rough looking prostitutes. Winston and Nick don’t quite realize they’re prostitutes. Winston and one of the prostitutes (her name is Mysteria) have very brief sex, but Nick can’t bring himself to go through with it with his prostitute, Octopussy (yeah, real classy). Walt is kind of disappointed to hear this, and he tells Nick that he thinks too much. He has some very sage (even if it comes from a disturbing place) advice for Nick when he tells him that the best things in life happen when you aren’t thinking. In the present day, there’s a funny bit when Nick finally breaks it to Winston that yes, those women were prostitutes.

Schmidt’s first time was pretty much all slapstick comedy. Fat Schmidt is in college and wants to have sex for the first time with his girlfriend, Elizabeth. He asks Nick for some advice, but Nick is high on shrooms in preparation for a Dave Matthews Band concert, so he’s not much help. Nick is so high that he never actually makes it to the concert, and he’s still in the dorm room when Schmidt and Elizabeth return, ready to start their tryst. Because Schmidt didn’t get good advice from Nick, both he and Elizabeth are completely covered in lube. Nick gets out of bed to see what’s going on (he probably thinks he’s hallucinating), and he and Schmidt keep hitting each other and Schmidt keeps slipping on the floor on his way to the bed. Like I said, not much to that one other than slapstick. Oh, and there’s not much to Cece or Nick’s stories, either, since they weren’t embarrassing. Cece’s first time was with Mick Jagger of all people, and Nick’s was a rather unremarkable romp in the woods.

So, back to Jess. She and guitar guy try to have sex in a plastic castle at a playground, which is most definitely not at all a good move. To make matters worse, guitar guy is on antidepressants and, to put it indelicately, has some issues getting it up. Jess and guitar guy end up getting stuck in the castle, and a bunch of little kids see them half naked. Like I said, definitely not a good move. Teddy ends up being the fireman who rescues Jess. So her first time wasn’t really all that bad, afterall. She got to be with a hot firefighter- what more could a girl want? It only becomes embarrassing when she goes too far back in the chain of events that lead to it. Jess shouldn’t be so hard on herself. Anyway, after story time is done, Winston leaves to go have sex with Daisy, and Schmidt leaves to go have sex with Elizabeth. Cece leaves to go sit in a bed and watch television with Shivrang. Jess is about to leave to meet up with Teddy when Nick finally gets his act together and stops her. Nick says they need to stop thinking, and they head straight for his bedroom. Afterwards they start laughing about how badly they may have messed things up. I’m definitely interested to see where this storyline is going next.

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