Friday, March 7, 2014

New Girl 3.17: "Sister II"

“I’ve got an uncle whose God-given name is Shifty.”

This episode of “New Girl,” which pretty much continued where the previous episode, “Sister,” left off, found several of our characters confronting major fears. Jess has to confront Abby about the fact that she doesn’t really want Abby living at the loft long-term, Nick has to confront a fear of disappointing Jess, and Winston has to confront his fear of being a “choker.” The latter kind of made me sad. We’ve seen Winston have some successes in his life (he got to play pro basketball, even if it was in Latvia, and he had some cool radio station jobs), so I don’t quite understand why he’s suddenly a life-long failure. Isn’t that usually Nick’s role? Winston always seemed to at least minimally have his life together. I suppose all the characters in New Girl have to be a little behind the curve in the getting their life together department, though, since they’re all in their early 30’s and need to live with three roommates (except for Schmidt).

Anyway, we see early on in this episode that, as you might expect, integrating Abby into the life of the loft has not being going especially well. She and Jess are about as opposite as siblings can get. Abby is impulsive and likes to do dangerous things. Also, while Jess is incredibly considerate, if you ask Abby to do something, she’ll do the opposite just to piss you off. We see Abby teaching a rather dangerous looking knife-throwing game to the rest of the roomies. Basically they throw knives into the ceiling and see how long they stick. It seems kind of dangerous since the knives could fall from the ceiling at any moment. Also, that seems to be a way to ruin perfectly good knives (my good chef’s knife is one of my prized possessions). That’s really the tip of the iceberg, though. Abby’s behavior is just bad in general. Jess wants to go find Abby an apartment, but she knows that this needs to be done in secret, because if she asks Abby to leave, Abby will stay out of spite. Nick is given the job of babysitting Abby while Jess and Cece apartment-hunt.

As you might expect, Nick completely fails at his babysitting/distracting Abby task. He takes her to what seems to be some sort of fancy car museum. Abby figures out something is up very quickly (she may be a disaster, but she’s pretty intuitive and crafty). She climbs up on one of the cars and refuses to get down until Nick tells her what is going on. The poor museum docent is about to spontaneously combust with irritation at Abby scratching up the car, and Nick quickly caves. He tells Abby that Jess doesn’t want her to live at the loft anymore. Abby still refuses to climb down off the car, though, I suppose out of spite. Nick comes up with one last idea to try and minimize the damage to the museum. He calls Schmidt. When Schmidt shows up, Abby immediately jumps down off the car, and they walk off together. Nick is disturbed to come home later and find Schmidt tied up with an apple in his mouth and Abby at the stove melting some chocolate. Nothing good can come of a Schmidt/Abby union.

Meanwhile, Jess and Cece go apartment hunting. Jess finds what she thinks is the perfect apartment. It’s nice and clean and renovated, and it’s in a neighborhood with very few temptations for Abby. There are even lots of churches around. Jess says that the only potential problem is a nearby Russian grocery store, because Abby has a thing for “ethnic white guys.” Cece waxes poetic about the apartment. She wishes she had moved into a similar place at age 19, because maybe then she would have married a boring guy with a stable job and been secure forever. Jess is usually one for comfort and security too, but even she is a little weirded out by Cece’s soliloquy. I’m not sure how I feel about Jess’ apartment-hunting quest, really. She means well, but she’s seriously infantilizing her sister. Abby may be a mess, but she’s a grown woman and needs to own her mess before she can clean it up. This is something Jess starts to realize by the end of the episode, at least.

Speaking of people who need to own their mess, Winston is more than a mess than ever in this episode. He’s supposed to be getting his results back from his LAPD entrance exam. If he does well on the exam, he will be invited to attend the police academy. Such high stakes news is stressing Winston out, and he can’t stand to keep watching his inbox. He goes and bothers Coach at work as a distraction, but it’s Coach who gets the news first. Winston wasn’t accepted into the academy. At a nearby coffee shop, Coach advises Winston to just take any old job for now (including being a server at the coffee shop) to make money while continuing to work towards being a cop. Winston applies for a job at the coffee shop, but he forgets to fill out the back of the application and completely bombs the interview. He’s a wreck. Winston thinks maybe he forgot to answer some questions on the LAPD exam (meaning he’s just careless), but when he and Coach go to the precinct, the cop reminds him that the exam was on the computer. Coach tells Winston that he’s really got nowhere to go but up, and this motivates Winston to decide to try the exam again.

Jess, Nick, Abby, and Schmidt all have dinner together, and Nick really doesn’t want Jess to find out about Abby and Schmidt sleeping together. Of course, the more Nick tries to get Abby to play it cool, the more she tries to be all over Schmidt. Eventually, Jess figures out what’s going on, and Abby is pissed at Jess trying to act like she knows what is best for everybody. Jess lectures Abby on how destructive she’s been, and she begs Abby to move to the apartment she found. Abby is moving out, alright, but she has other ideas. She’s going to move in with Schmidt. This can’t possibly end well.

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