Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Girl 3.14: "Prince"

“Besides, anything beautiful is worth getting hurt for.”

“Prince” was an episode of “New Girl” that was light on plot and heavy on stunt casting, but it served its purpose, I think. This episode followed the “big game” this past Sunday, which is quite an honor in television land. The last time a favorite show of mine got the nod was back in 2006 with the infamous “Grey’s Anatomy” bomb in the body two-parter. Post big game episodes have to be a bit broader than the typical episode of the show. There are going to be millions of people who are seeing the episode just because it’s on after the game and they don’t feel like getting up from the television, and the episode ideally will grab them and keep them in their seats. So when I say that “Prince” served its purpose, I mean that I think people unfamiliar with the particular crazy of “New Girl” would find it a fun half hour. I don’t expect more than that from an episode under these circumstances.

The episode opens with a bit that plays to the lowest common denominator, the type of people the creative team probably thought would be the most likely to have been watching the big game. A pair of Jess’ panties gets mixed in with Winston’s laundry, and the guys really don’t know what to do about it. They say it’s different now that Jess is dating Nick. Winston, Schmidt, and Coach are wary of touching the panties of their buddy’s girlfriend, you see, even if it’s for a perfectly innocent reason. Nick doesn’t seem to want to deal with the situation himself, either, so all four of the guys transport the panties together, draped over a stick. That’s the scene Jess and Cece walk into when they arrive at the loft. It doesn’t even really phase them, though, because they have huge news. Prince’s assistant almost ran over them, and she felt bad, so she offered to get them into a huge party Prince was throwing that night.

Schmidt is all excited and wears his best suit, because he thinks the invite to the party is for the whole gang. The other guys set him straight, though. The invitation was just for Jess and Cece. Schmidt is disappointed, understandably. Prince sends a limo to pick up Jess and Cece, and Nick decides that when the limo is pulling away, it’s the right time to tell Jess he loves her. Jess isn’t exactly upset by the declaration, but she doesn’t know what to do with it, either. Her only response is to do “finger guns” at Nick, and she quickly regrets it. Nick doesn’t quite know what to make of what happened, either. He’s not ready to break up with Jess over something like not saying “I love you” back, so he comes up with a solution that only makes sense in his special, Nick Miller brain. He wants to take the “I love you” back, and he wants to crash Prince’s party to do it.

So the guys do indeed try to crash the party, and they’re mostly successful. Winston and Coach do some stupid bit where they distract the bouncer by staging this big, showy reunion. They pretended they were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while. Schmidt and Nick try to imitate this play, but they don’t fare nearly as well. They pretend to get into a fight as their distraction, but the bouncer sees right through it. Nick manages to get into the party by hiding in the middle of a pack of women, but Schmidt isn’t so lucky. He gets into the party later, when he climbs a tree and basically launches himself into Prince’s back yard. Cece speculates that Jess might be so averse to telling Nick she loves him just because she’s scared, but Jess is having none of that. It becomes pretty apparent that Cece is right, though. Nick finds Jess, and Jess is happy that he made it to the party, but the passes out from a panic attack before she can tell him she loves him. That doesn’t exactly leave Nick feeling very good.

Later, Jess and Nick find themselves sitting next to Prince, and he hears all about their recent drama. Prince thinks he can help Jess, so he takes her away from Nick for a little while. Nick should be worried about this, but he’s not especially. Prince is on a mission to get Jess to the point where she can tell Nick she loves him. His impromptu therapy includes dressing Jess in fancy outfits, pancakes, ping pong, and butterflies. It’s all rather silly, and it speaks to what I said earlier about post-big game episodes being kind of shallow versions of the show in question. Watching Zooey Deschannel and Prince riff off each other comedically was pleasant and fun, but there wasn’t a ton of depth to it. The one aspect of this bit that really stuck with me was the Quote of the Episode. Anything beautiful is worth getting hurt for indeed. I think that’s a lesson I need a refresher on every once in a while, and I have to believe I’m not alone in that.

Somehow Prince’s magic works. Jess rushes back into the party and tells Nick that she loves him, and Nick most definitely still loves Jess (even though he was threatening to take it back for a little while just to stop the awkward). To celebrate, Prince gets up on stage and starts performing, and he invites Jess to join him. Zooey being Zooey, the musical result was pretty great. The rest of the gang is all out in the audience, dancing their asses off. It’s a typical almost-too-sweet “New Girl” episode ending, just turned up to eleven. Everybody happy and dancing to Prince music is just engineered to bring the warm fuzzies. I don’t usually like my television to be that blatantly manipulative, but for an episode like this, it works.

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