Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Girl 3.05: "The Box"

“Are we ever going to get to the point where you stop working on me?”

So for most of this episode, I was rather irritated at both Nick and Jess. I was irritated at Nick for being so completely irresponsible with money. I’m an attorney and a budget analyst. That means I like to know exactly what I’m getting into, and I’m cheap. The idea of just hiding all my bills away in a box (or dating somebody who would just hide all their bills away) is just out of the realm of what I can tolerate. On the other side of the equation, I was irritated at Jess for trying so hard to change Nick. She knew what she was getting into when she started dating him. She had been his roommate for two years by that point. I know it’s the television stereotype that women always try to change their men, and that probably has some real-world basis in fact. But still, she had to know that Nick was stupid with money, and changing something that fundamental is easier said than done. All that being said, I did like how the plot resolved with Nick and Jess meeting in the middle in a way. That worked for me.

The episode opens with a very unexpected visitor to the loft. A shady character tops by looking for Nick, which of course freaks Nick out. The shady dude is there for a good reason, though. He is delivering Nick’s inheritance from his father. A paper bag full of about $8,000. Everyone is thrilled for Nick, who has had perennial money problems for the entirety of the show’s run. Winston is especially happy because he has loaned $1,900 to Nick over the years, and there’s a chance he might finally be paid back. He knows he has to be careful about getting the money, though. If he just straight-up asks, Winston knows that Nick is going to freak out and not give him the money, as odd as that is. Winston thinks that maybe he can get some benefit out of the shopping spree Nick is sure to go on. Jess, meanwhile, has discovered Nick’s box, a big box of stuff Nick doesn’t want to deal with, namely bills. Jess thinks Nick should get a bank account, put the money in it, and use the money to pay all those bills. Nick has been raised to not trust banks, so he doesn’t want to go with that idea.

Nick does indeed go on a spending spree of ridiculous proportions, including getting a fancy photo taken of himself. Both Jess and Winston are kind of concerned about this, especially Jess. Winston seems to think somehow he can use this shopping spree to get back some of the money he is owed, but Jess tells him that’s stupid. Winston has no reason to believe he’s going to get anything, because Nick gets so weird about money. Jess is concerned that the money isn’t going to be around much longer, so she starts taking it upon herself to pay the bills in the box. One that she pays is $900 worth of parking tickets, and there’s a funny little bit where she asks the parking authority if she can pay the ticket with cash. Soon enough, she’s used up most of the money paying Nick’s bills.

Meanwhile, Schmidt is still dealing with the fall-out of the big Elizabeth and Cece blow-up. He’s moved on from wishing destruction upon Jess and Nick. He’s now perseverating on whether or not what he did makes him a terrible person. Of course, it has to be all about Schmidt, not about how Elizabeth and Cece feel about the whole mess. Schmidt ends up going to a rabbi to get an official opinion on whether or not he’s a terrible person. The rabbi doesn’t really want to talk about it, and he implies that Schmidt probably is pretty terrible. On the way home, Schmidt sees a biker fall to the sidewalk and start choking. Schmidt performs the Heimlich on the biker and saves his life. Schmidt is thrilled, thinking that this rescue makes him not a horrible person anymore. Of course it’s not about the biker, it’s about how saving the biker makes Schmidt feel. Schmidt spends the rest of the episode bugging both the rabbi and the guy he saved (who is in the hospital) to tell him he’s a good person. The guy in the hospital finally says it, probably because he wants to be rid of Schmidt. Schmidt interrupts Hebrew school to get the final word from the Rabbi, and he ends up being escorted out of the synagogue by two burly-looking other rabbis. Okay, so that bit was pretty funny.

All of Schmidt’s talk about do-gooding makes Nick think that maybe he should just give the whole inheritance to charity so he can just go back to living his life the way he lived it. Jess panics, because there isn’t really any money left to donate. She has spent most of it paying off Nick’s bills. Winston knew about it, but he kept quiet because Jess promised to repay him the $1,900 as well. Nick finds Jess in his room, trying to hide what she has done. When Jess tells Nick that she went through his box and started paying his bills, Nick is furious. He thinks it’s disrespectful that Jess went through his personal stuff and made that sort of choice, and I guess he sort of has a point. Although if I were Jess, I’d think it was a risk worth taking. I’d want to know that the guy I was getting serious with was an absolute mess with money. And I don’t think that makes me elitist. I think that just makes me a recession kid who has had to work really hard to get to the point where I can finally (mostly) support myself.

Nick goes off the rails and starts throwing Jess’ vintage purse collection out the window of her bedroom. He finds this to be equally disrespectful to Jess’ going through his box. Jess storms out after writing Nick a check for the money she spent to pay the bills, and she steams about the whole thing until she gets a phone call from a bank. When she shows up at the bank, Nick is there. The bank manager thought it was strange that Nick was trying to open an account with a check from her and a paper bag of money. Jess is happy that Nick is trying to be a little more responsible, even though he swore he wouldn’t change. Both of them are upset when the manager says there will be an $8.00 processing fee on the new account, though. Jess starts spouting off some of Nick’s rants about banks, and as they both start to storm out, the manager offers to waive the fee. And so the episode resolves with Jess and Nick kind of meeting in the middle. Nick becomes a touch more responsible, and Jess starts to understand some of his rants.

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