Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Girl 3.02: "Nerd"

“I came here because I’m your old man now. And if you’re going to do something that’s obviously very stupid, then I’m going to do it with you.”

“Nerd,” while not an all-time classic episode of “New Girl,” was a step above the season premiere for sure. There were some good laughs, and it was an interesting exploration of Jess and Nick trying to explore how their relationship will work back in the “real world” of the loft. They’re still figuring things out, but they seem to be working on it in a more positive way. I’d consider anything that is not running away to be positive, really. I don’t have quite as good things to say about the two secondary plots in this episode, which is probably why it doesn’t reach all time classic status. Winston’s only characterization continues to be crazy person.” At least he kind of showed a spine by the end of the episode, though. The Schmidt tries to date both Cece and Elizabeth plot also continues, and it really can’t end soon enough in my opinion. It’s cheap. Anyway, with that, on with talking about the details of the episode!

In this episode, Jess suddenly has a new job. She’s back to teaching middle school. After how Jess’ job search and move into adult education was such a centerpiece of last season, it would have been nice to see how Jess got this new job. Anyway, there’s a clique of cool kid teachers at Jess’ new school, and for some inexplicable reason, Jess really, really wants to be part of the clique. I would have expected Jess, who always thinks the best of everyone, to just automatically assume she was part of the clique. I’m not sure if this is mischaracterization or character growth, really. Anyway, because acceptance in the clique is what Jess wants, acceptance is what Nick wants to help Jess get. Because she’s his “old lady” now. I don’t know why Nick seems so relationship inept in this episode. We certainly know from the first two seasons that Nick is not new to relationships.

Meanwhile, Schmidt’s big conundrum in this episode is that his company is having an office party. He plans to have Cece be his date to the party, but Elizabeth spoils that plan by stopping by the office earlier in the day. Schmidt’s kind of annoying coworker Beth sees Elizabeth, and she takes it upon herself to try and derail Schmidt’s dating both women plan. She tells Elizabeth about the party, so of course Elizabeth expects to be invited. Oh, by the way, Schmidt’s gotten a promotion that comes with his own office, and he’s turned his office into a “2/3 replica” of Don Draper’s office from “Mad Men.” Anyway, Schmidt stops by Cece’s latest modeling job to tell her that the party is now employees only, no “sig oths” allowed. Cece is surprisingly cool with it because she thinks her job is going to run late.

As I already sort-of mentioned, Nick is determined to help Jess in her quest to become a cool teacher. He starts by buying the cliquey teachers school supplies, then he offers them free drinks at the bar. The free drinks turns out to be the winner. Jess and the cool teachers drink…a lot. So much that Jess gets the nickname “toilet pants” for trying to sing and dance in the toilet. She is officially a member of the clique, though. Like any good high school popular girl wanna-be, Jess is of course willing to do something stupid to maintain that status. The something stupid in question is breaking into her principal’s house to mess with his “jacuze.” The principal is a weird dude, and at a staff meeting, he mentioned how he solved the school’s budget problems by taking a long soak in the “jacuze” that also gave him baby soft elbows. If only it was that easy.

The final sub-plot that this episode tries to keep going is (spoiler alert) the end of Winston and Daisy’s relationship. Daisy wants Winston to watch her cat, Furguson, for a couple days, but when he goes to pick the cat up from Daisy’s apartment, Winston hears somebody in the bathroom. At first, Daisy tries to play it like she just left the shower on, but then the shower turns off and the toilet flushes. And there’s a very large basketball shoe in the living room. Back at the apartment, Winston starts to become unhinged over this, and it gets to the point where he is trying to figure out how to kill Furguson in retaliation. Winston’s first idea is a noose, but then he quickly escalates to wanting to bash Furguson’s head in with heavy metal tools. There’s an especially funny sequence where Nick is trying at the same time to both keep Jess from vandalizing the jacuze and keep Winston from killing the cat. You know things are bad in the loft when Nick has to be the voice of reason. Nick doesn’t quite know what to do with himself in that role, which is pretty hilarious.

Jess ends up not heeding Nick’s advice, so she finds herself at the principal’s house with her cliquey coworkers. They hoist her over the fence, but they don’t follow. Nick shows up, and the teachers hoist him over next. Jess is surprised that Nick showed up, and he explains that since he’s her “old man,” he’s going to be there with her when she wants to do something stupid. Nick and Jess do indeed get caught by the principal, but Jess doesn’t get in trouble. He assumes that they want to enjoy his awesome jacuze. Jess gets the punishment of having to take a soak with Nick and her principal. The cliquey teachers appreciate Jess taking one for the team, but Jess doesn’t really want to hang out with them anymore. She’d rather hang out with Nick. There’s a cute resolution where Nick (who was a popular stoner hackey sack player in high school) assures her that if he and nerdy Jess had gone to high school together, he would have noticed her.

Schmidt finds himself in a bit of trouble when both Elizabeth and Cece show up at the party (Cece decided to drop by when her modeling job ended early). Beth revels in the impending chaos, but Schmidt actually manages to get through the night with both relationships still intact. He convinces Elizabeth that he wants to play out a fantasy where she’s a disinterested businesswoman who wants to leave the party early. When Cece sees how coldly Elizabeth treats Schmidt, she’s not worried about Elizabeth anymore. Schmidt needs to get called on this foolishness soon, but clearly that time has not come just yet. Winston, meanwhile, doesn’t actually kill the cat. He goes to Daisy’s apartment and calls her on cheating. She admits it and doesn’t seem to think much of it. Winston has had it with her ditzy attitude, and he says he’s done. And he’s keeping the cat.

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