Monday, February 17, 2014

New Girl 3.15: "Exes"

“I don’t just leave mail out. This isn’t a small business!”

“Exes” didn’t really have a cohesive theme, but it was funny and made me laugh, even with Jess and Nick’s relationship as the focus. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Jess and Nick together better than I like them apart (mostly because being apart made them both kind of miserable), but their being together has resulted in a mixed bag of stories. This is one of the better ones, because it’s rooted in the characters. The B story is pretty much an afterthought, and thankfully, not much time is devoted to it, because it’s a little more juvenile than I like my comedy. The unfortunate thing about a sub-par B story in this case is that it results in a whole episode that wastes Schmidt, Coach, and Winston. On the positive sign, the fact that an episode can be overall enjoyable with so many characters sidelined speaks to the depth of talent in the cast.

The set up to this episode is that Nick runs into his ex, Caroline, at a farmers’ market. He completely freaks out because he doesn’t know what to say to her, and he knows that she must be hurt over how their relationship ended abruptly. Nick talks it over with Jess later at the loft, and she, being the bright and shiny kind of person that she is, insists that it is possible for exes to be friends. She also thinks that Nick should try to be friends with Caroline (which seems like a bad idea to me, but Jess is the eternal optimist). Jess goes on and on about how she and her ex from ten years ago, Berkley (Adam Brody) have such a good friendship. He’s married with a kid, and apparently they talk and text all the time. Nick stands convinced that exes can’t be friends, and he thinks that Jess has been leading Berkley on. He tells Jess that the only reason Berkley is keeping up with the friends thing is because he wants to sleep with her again at some point.

Meanwhile, across the hall, Schmidt has finally finished decorating his new loft. He desperately wants to show it off to Coach and Winston, and he eventually badgers them into checking it out. The guys are impressed by the modern, European-style décor, but they’re even more impressed by how Schmidt has designed the loft with furniture ideal for many, many sexual positions. He’s got spots chosen for a wide variety of sex acts, and he is extremely proud of this. Later we see Schmidt in the bar, trying to hit on some women (gotta test out that loft, after all). He’s lost his mojo, and he asks Cece for advice. Cece thinks that living alone has gotten to Schmidt, and he needs more social interaction. Schmidt takes the advice to heart, and he gets a woman to agree to meet him at his loft. When he gets home to make preparations, though, Coach and Winston have beaten him to it. Coach has a woman in the master bedroom, and Winston is with his crazy bus driver girlfriend in the guest room. They guys have a whole “no exit” plan to try and deal with this, but Coach’s lady wants a drink of water. By the end of the whole mess, the three guys and Winston’s girlfriend are the only people left in Schmidt’s loft.

At Jess’ insistence, Nick meets Caroline for coffee to try and clear the air, but he really just says a whole lot of nothing. Later, as she’s driving home, Caroline sees Nick and Jess together, and she throws a fit. She assumes Nick cheated on her with Jess, and Nick doesn’t really say anything to dissuade her of that. Caroline starts sending really nasty texts to Nick, and Jess thinks it’s time to get Berkley’s advice. A meetup with Berkley makes it pretty clear that Nick was right and Berkley does, indeed, just want to bone Jess, even though he has a wife and kid. Jess makes some remarks about how great a friend Berkley is and how lucky she is to have him in her life, and he takes that to mean he should start planning how to leave his wife. Jess tries to put a stop to this quickly. She’s mortified that Nick was right, and she certainly doesn’t want any cheating to happen. It takes quite a lot of effort to get this through Berkley’s head, though, and even by the end of the episode, he still wants to hang out and play cards with Jess and Nick. They have to kick him out of the loft. Creeper.

Before things blew up, Berkley had instructed Nick to send a text to Caroline asking her if she wants to be friends. This causes Caroline to go completely off the deep end. She comes over to the loft and completely destroys a car parked in front of the building. Then she comes upstairs to the loft itself and crazy knocks and kicks at the door. Caroline starts demanding some answers, and even when Jess explains that there was about a year between Caroline and Nick’s break-up and Nick and Jess getting together, she’s still pissed. She tells Jess that sooner or later, Nick is going to lose interest, and she’ll be the ex instead of the girlfriend. This makes Jess extremely upset, and she runs of to go cry in the shower.

Nick follows Jess into the bathroom, where he finds her sobbing. She says that this is the worst thing that has ever happened to her (although she also acknowledges she has lived “a very fortunate life”). Nick says it’s time that he finally mans up and tells Caroline why he broke up with her. And he wants Jess to hear it too. Nick says that he didn’t technically cheat on Caroline, but he might as well have, since he fell in love with Jess the moment she walked in the door. With that, Caroline finally leaves. She’s got her closure. Jess is happy to know that Nick loved her from the minute she walked in the door, even though she admits it took her quite a lot longer. I’m hoping that won’t be a source of friction for them down the road, but for now they’re happy, and that’s good enough for me.

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