Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Girl 3.20: "Mars Landing"

“You can create a plan for your life, and then crazy things get thrown at you. And that, by the way, is the closest thing I have to a plan.”

So yeah. That happened. Between this and the HIMYM finale, it’s been a bad month for couples I like on television. While I don’t love the fact that (spoiler alert) Jess and Nick are no longer together, the break-up makes sense considering where they both are in their lives at the moment. Jess is a super planner while Nick is afraid of making plans. Jess wants to live by a lake in the Portland metro area while Nick wants to live on Mars (literally). They love each other, but the timing just isn’t right. Oh the timing. There’s a bunch of other silliness going on with the other characters that really isn’t terribly important compared to what’s going on with Nick and Jess. None of the other subplots are really a stage for character growth or anything. I’m nowhere near giving up on “New Girl,” but I’ll be watching very closely to see where the dynamic between all the characters goes from here.

The impetus for all the drama in this episode is an especially spirited game of True American. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before, I feel like True American is one of those things on “New Girl” that could have been downloaded from my brain. I’m definitely an American history and politics nerd, so the fact that the roomies and their friends have a favorite game that it based around those things just makes me very happy. If I played drinking games (I’m not a teetotaler, but drinking games aren’t really my thing), True American would definitely be my go-to choice. I worry, however, that True American in the context of “New Girl” might be one of those things that was awesome and innovative in the early days of the show that becomes stale with time (like the slap bet on HIMYM, for instance).

Anyway, the copious amount of True American (and resulting drinking) the gang indulged in leaves them all very hung over the next morning. Jess and Nick are supposed to go to the birthday party of a friend’s young child, and this becomes a source of much friction between them. Nick was supposed to put together a very complicated plastic-based toy so they could bring it to the event assembled. Nick being nick, however, waited until the last minute to start the assembly, and it was much more difficult than he anticipated. Being hung over didn’t help matters, either. In her hung over state, Jess starts projecting all of her fears about her potential future with Nick onto the birthday party situation.

Meanwhile, the roomies have new across the hall neighbors, who both happen to be women that Schmidt, Coach, and Winston find very attractive. One of them has a boyfriend in the military who is currently on a deployment, but the other is completely single. The guys all start trying to help the girls move in with gusto, and it’s pretty darn embarrassing. Schmidt and Coach keep fighting with each other through the whole thing, while Winston just gets in there and gets the moving job done. I guess things are off with Winston and Birdie? I don’t quite get why Winston is entering this particular fray if he has a lady. Also in tangential plot news, Cece is now dating the 20-year-old Australian dude, Buster. She sent him some embarrassing texts when she was drunk from True American, and she spends most of the episode being embarrassed about it. By the end of the episode, Buster is actually the more mature of the pair, because he wants to talk things out with Cece in person.

Anyway, working on the toy for the birthday party (and being hung over) gets Jess into serious contemplating the future mode. She’s kind of devastated that Nick would be so careless as to leave the toy assemblage until the last minute. Nick doesn’t really understand why the toy needs to be assembled before giving at all. Wouldn’t the assembly be a fun family activity (not really, but I understand the sentiment). It’s pretty clear that Jess is a super-planner while nick is…not. Like I mentioned, Jess has this elaborate fantasy future while involves potentially moving back to Portland and living near a lake. All Nick has to say is that he lost a bet to Schmidt, so their child would have to be named Reginald. Everything else he has to say is completely unserious. He talks about how he’s sometimes wished he could be a long haul trucker, and he’d really live to live on Mars. Jess accuses Nick of just living in the silly stories he writes, and Nick admits that he really can’t find any value in planning ahead, because life will always throw you curve balls. I have to admit that he does kind of have a point there.

At one point, the arguing gets so bad that Jess and Nick jokingly bring up the possibility of breaking up. Then they decide to dive head-long into assembling the toy, the idea being that if they can pull that off, they really are a functional couple after all. Suffice it to say, they don’t get the toy assembled. It’s kind of a disaster, actually. They work well together for about 30 seconds, then they can’t figure out some of the directions, and they start fighting again. Jess and Nick take a step back and start wondering if there’s enough between them to sustain a relationship. They both love each other very much, but they argue all the time and want very different things out of life. They each admit how much they’ve been lying recently to avoid fights, and they start thinking that maybe it’s a good idea to stop lying. To Jess and Nick, love isn’t enough, and they decide to break up. The actual logistics of the break-up will be complicated, though, as Schmidt now lives in Jess’ old room. Jess discovers this to her chagrin by walking in on Schmidt doing naked yoga.

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