Saturday, October 5, 2013

New Girl 3.03: "Double Date"

“I made up a dance so everyone will be happy!”

I’m getting to the point where I think I can almost officially say that “New Girl” is going down the road that almost all sitcoms go down after they’ve been on the air for a couple of years. Into the land of farce and cartoonish-ness. Much like when HIMYM started to go down this route, this makes me sad. I loved “New Girl” in its early days because it was a slightly heightened, twee version of my life as it was at the time. Now I feel like it is starting to drift away from that. Sure, the characters have to grow up and change (as am I), but like I said, I feel like the changes are making the show more shallow. Mostly, I have a problem with the directions that both Schmidt and Winston are taking, and since this is such an ensemble show, two of the characters being off brings the whole thing down. That being said, this episode still had its good moments. Schmidt did have a well-played emotional catharsis near the end of the episode, even if it was erased by fake evil-ness by the end of the episode.

This is the episode where Schmidt’s attempt to date both Cece and Elizabeth comes to a head. On the one hand, I’m glad that farce is finally over. On the other hand, I’m concerned that the fall out might be worse than the farce itself was. The set-up for this crisis is that Nick and Jess want to go on a double date with Schmidt and Cece. They just don’t know that Schmidt is still dating Elizabeth, too. Schmidt already has plans to watch television and eat pie with Elizabeth, but he tries to quick change those plans when the idea for the double date comes up. Winston wants to come along too, which the group allows, but they draw the line at letting him bring Furguson along. As they should. Winston thinks they should go to this hot restaurant called Pica, and he promises to get them a table, even though same-day reservations are supposed to be impossible to come by.

Cece takes Nick aside and tells him she’s worried that Schmidt might be doing drugs. He’s just been overly-enthusiastic and energetic about everything lately. Nick assures Cece that he doesn’t believe Schmidt is on drugs, but he’s reluctant to get involved in the situation beyond that. Jess, however, presses Nick to get more involved. She really, really wants Nick to talk to Schmidt about why he is acting so strange. Nick finally relents, and what he finds out is worse than what any of them probably thought. Nick has to promise he won’t be judgey in order for Schmidt to spill the beans, but when Schmidt reveals that he never broke up with Elizabeth, Nick is not happy about it. He tells Schmidt that he needs to fix this ASAP.

Nick tries to hide this from Jess to give Schmidt a chance to try and fix it on his own, but obviously this can’t be successful for long. Nick puts on a helmet so that Jess can’t see his face, and he distracts her for a little while with “no-kiss sex.” Jess still manages to figure out what’s going on, though, and she immediately rushes out into the living room to yell at Schmidt for cheating on Cece. She gives him an ultimatum. Either he needs to tell Cece the truth, or she will. Poor Nick doesn’t really know what to do with his circle of friends blowing up. He just starts dancing and acting goofy, hoping it will cheer everybody back up. Just as all this is going down, Cece arrives for the double date. Instead of telling Cece the truth right away, Schmidt just rushes her right back out, telling Nick and Jess that they should drive in a separate car.

Meanwhile, Winston has been going to now predictable lengths of crazy to secure a table for the crew at Pica. First, he tries to bribe the hostess with a I.O.U. for ten dollars. When that (obviously) doesn’t work, the hostess suggests that Winston try to find a seat at the “community table,” which is first-come, first-serve. Winston manages to strong-arm himself a place at the table, then he starts getting rid of the other diners by making them uncomfortable. He eats one woman’s meal right off her plate, which was just plain disgusting. Every time somebody leaves due to Winston’s antics, he puts something down on their chair to save the seat until everybody else gets to the restaurant. The staff at Pica are obviously not happy about this, and they come really close to kicking Winston out. I’m really surprised they didn’t kick him out as soon as he started his antics, really.

Anyway, in the car on the way to the restaurant, Cece continues to pressure Schmidt to tell her what is wrong. Eventually, he says that he has learned Nick is cheating on Jess. Cece is really pissed off about this, saying there’s no excuse for cheating, and the only acceptable response to a cheating man is a punch to the nuts. Obviously this doesn’t help Schmidt get up the courage to tell her the truth. When they arrive at Pica, Cece busts out of the car to go confront Nick, while Schmidt locks himself in the car in one last-ditch attempt to avoid the inevitable. Cece attacks Nick, punching him in the nuts right as she said she would. Schmidt, after a battle with the valet, finally enters the restaurant and admits to Cece that she’s the one who has been cheating. It’s the first real emotion from him that we’ve seen all season. He apologizes, citing the fact that he never really got over being the fat kid. Cece, however, doesn’t accept the apology.

Back at the loft, Elizabeth breaks up with Schmidt by throwing pie in his face. Cece had Elizabeth’s phone number and called her to let her know what was going on. After Elizabeth leaves, Schmidt gives a look that makes me think we just saw a supervillain’s origin story. And what a lame origin story it is. He’s going to go off the rails because he’s pissed that people found out he was cheating. You cheat, you pay the price, I say. Anyway, Schmidt is incredibly pissed off at Nick and Jess over all of this. Pie still on his face, he vows to do something to break them up when they least expect it. Nick and Jess then frantically start revealing facts about themselves to each other that they think might upset the other person. Schmidt has gotten in their heads, and this can’t possibly end well.

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