Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Girl 3.09: "Thanksgiving III"

“Look, my parents were super divorced and they never took me camping. I always thought that I would be incredible at it.”

“New Girl” always does Thanksgiving episodes well, and this was no exception. While I didn’t quite love the Nick/Jess conflict going on here, the fallout had its funny moments, and the ending was the sort of heartwarming scene I expect from “New Girl,” especially at Thanksgiving. This episode takes the gang out of the loft and into nature, as Nick decides that they should do a camping Thanksgiving. The camping scenario brings everybody together and forces everyone to confront other characters in ways they had been avoiding before. Obviously the Schmidt/Cece/Coach triangle is a big piece of this, and Nick and Jess have to take a good, hard look at their relationship, too. Poor Winston just gripes a bit about how he never gets a say in anything the group does. And he’d be right. You take that pottery class, Winston! You take that pottery class!

Coach is the one who really starts all the trouble that leads to the Thanksgiving camping trip. I suppose that is some additional value to bringing back Damon Wayans, Jr. Adding Coach back into the mix makes the characters confront things and interact with each other differently. I think it may prove to be too many characters if he stays really long term (like beyond this season), but temporarily, I think it could be a healthy shake-up for the show. Anyway, Coach gets an animated e-invite to Thanksgiving from Nick and Jess. He thinks it’s incredibly lame, and he tells Nick so. He basically accuses Nick of being whipped by Jess, and he questions Nick’s manliness. Nick, as you would expect, doesn’t take this well at all, and he has a chat with Jess about it. Jess insists that all she wants is to have everybody together for Thanksgiving. He can try to man it up if he really feels that’s necessary.

Nick’s solution for making the Thanksgiving celebration more manly, however, isn’t exactly what the group had in mind. The other guys, for their part, prefer your standard issue beer and football Turkey Day. Nick, however, thinks they should all go camping. Nobody is at all enthusiastic about this idea, although Jess tries to be positive for Nick’s sake. She reiterates that all she wants is for the whole group to be together and to have a nice dinner. She doesn’t care about the details, and if camping is what it takes to get everyone together, then camping it will be. Schmidt is the first of the guys to give in. He wants the chance to camp because he never got to as a kid, and he thinks he’d be “excellent” at it. Once Schmidt gives in, Winston does too. And the rest, as they say, is history.

On Thanksgiving, Coach and Cece round out the camping crew. This of course means that there’s going to be hella awkward Schmidt/Cece/Coach material to mine. Schmidt, understandably, thinks Coach had a really hot date with Cece, and he’s seriously jealous. The situation gets worse when the gang is trying to build a fire and Coach, who steps in and starts the fire with ease, reveals that he is an Eagle Scout. This kind of throws a damper on Schmidt’s “I’m instantly going to be the best at camping” thing and just makes their rivalry even more tense than it was already. Eventually, Coach admits that the make out session Schmidt saw at the end of the last episode was all that happened between himself and Cece. Cece wouldn’t take it any farther than that. Schmidt just smiles, remembering all the times Cece played hard to get with him.

At the camp site, Nick turns the crazy up a notch. Not only do they have to camp, but the only sustenance he brought along was beer. He wants everybody to hunt and forage for actual food. They’ve got to stick to traditional gender roles, too. The guys are going to hunt and fish, and the girls (and Winston) are going to forage. The fishing doesn’t go as well as Nick hoped. The best he can find is an already dead fish. The foraging team doesn’t have much better luck. They really have no idea how to tell which plants and such are edible (even with the help of a book). Jess knows there’s a small grocery store nearby, so they decide to hit that up instead. Which I probably would have done, too. Actually, I don’t think I would have agreed to the camping trip in the first place (ew…dirt…outside…I’m a Scots-Irish/Danish/German vampire, don’t you know!), but if I did, I’d definitely nix the whole foraging idea.

For a few minutes, Nick actually believes that the awesome fruit and veggie spread he’s looking at was actually foraged. How can someone so charming be so freaking stupid? Jess just keeps telling him they found everything “on a bush.” Eventually, though, he finally wises up, and he’s really not thrilled that Jess undermined his many Thanksgiving of manliness. Jess feels really bad about this, and she tries to make it up to Nick by eating a bite of the fish he “caught’ and pretending to like it. Nick only manages to tell her it was already dead once she’s taken that bite, though. Jess considers it and tries to spit it out, but it’s too late. Something about the dead fish makes her start hallucinating, and she ends up falling into a bear trap Schmidt had built. Nick, perhaps sensing an opportunity to be manly, tries to rescue Jess and ends up at the bottom of the bear trap, too. It’s Cece who ends up saving the day by having the guys make a “pants rope” to help Nick pull a still hallucinating Jess out of the pit.

Jess ends up in urgent care, and when she wakes up, Nick tells her that she’s been diagnosed with giardia and Legionnaire’s Disease. Which is a bunch of crap, really. Let’s just say she was sick with mysterious illness from eating something she definitely shouldn’t have eaten. Jess and Nick make up, and the rest of the gang arrives to give Jess her Thanksgiving wish with just minutes to spare. They have vending machine food, and they’re all going to eat a meal. It isn’t fancy, but they’re all together, and that’s really what Jess wanted. It’s a perfect “New Girl”-style ending to the episode.

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