Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Girl 4.01: "The Last Wedding"

“Why does everybody get to have a party for everything in their life? Why can’t I have a party for really dedicating myself to knitting this summer?”

“New Girl” is entering a very precarious time in the life of a comedy. Does the creative team try to evolve the characters, or do they stick to just making jokes. I guess I’m a little sensitive on this issue because of the implosion of “How I Met Your Mother.” I’d say that at one point HIMYM occupied the same spot in my television-loving heart that “New Girl” does now. That show had a stumble in its middle seasons, very briefly recovered, then plummeted to lows I couldn’t have even imagined in its final two seasons. I’m not going to lie, seeing the destruction of a show that meant so much to me hurt. So can you blame me if I’m a little wary of continuing my love for “New Girl?” This episode left me cautiously optimistic. I’m concerned that the creative team might be heading down the “let’s make everyone a cartoon version of their original selves” road since last year bombed critically, but on the bright side, this episode actually made me laugh.

Summer is winding down, and the five roomies are still living together despite any potential Jess/Nick breakup awkwardness. Apparently the whole group has been spending the summer going to a ridiculous number of weddings. Eleven, to be exact. I’ve always said that weddings seem to come in waves (I once had a summer of three weddings, two of which are still surviving marriages today). Jess has also been doing a lot of knitting, apparently. Schmidt thinks it’s time for Jess to finally get back in the saddle after months of getting over the Nick break-up. Only Schmidt and Coach have gotten any sex out of the previous weddings of the summer, and Schmidt thinks that’s wrong too. The roomies all make a “sex fist” (no comment) pact that they are all going to go home from the wedding with a hook-up.

As you might expect, gradually throughout the wedding reception, all of the hook-up prospects of the roomies diminish. The first to go down is Coach. He’s done so much wedding hooking-up that pretty much all the single ladies at this particular wedding have already been one of his wedding hook-ups. None of them are happy to see Coach again. Winston is too sore from the police academy to put much effort into his search. Complicating things is the appearance of Cece. She was supposed to be in Australia all summer with her young-ish boyfriend Buster, but Cece and Buster broke up, so she’s back in LA early. The catch is that Schmidt doesn’t know they broke up yet, and when he finds out, he’s going to start obsessing over Cece again.

Schmidt and Nick decide to go after two especially attractive wedding guests. These ladies are interested in Schmidt and Nick, but there’s a catch. They want to have a foursome. Schmidt is in favor of this just because he wants to bang two ladies, but Nick is squeamish. When Nick finds out about Cece’s single status, however, he starts to feel really guilty. He wants to make Schmidt feel better, so he says he’s up for the foursome. Schmidt accidentally touches one of Nick’s hands, however, declares said hand rough like a “hoof” and calls off the foursome. In explaining why he agreed, Nick accidentally lets it slip that Cece is single. Schmidt seems to take the news reasonably well, although I have no doubt he’ll explode eventually.

As the evening progresses, Jess is the last woman standing with a chance at a hook-up. Her quarry is the best man, Ted. Jess and Ted seem to be getting along well enough when they are interrupted by Kat (Jessica Biel). Kat is an accomplished scientist who thinks extremely highly of herself. She pretty much tells Jess straight up that she (Kat) is the better choice of woman with whom Ted should procreate. Strangely, Jess ends up taking advice from Winston of all people. He tells Jess to just “be there.” If she constantly follows Ted, he’ll eventually relent and hook up with her. Jess decides to call this tactic “Bidening,” which I found kind of amusing. Unfortunately, Kat knows the tactic of Bidening, too, so the two ladies find themselves in a stand-off, both following Ted around and neither relenting.

Jess then decides to go for some “Extreme Bidening!” by following Ted into the men’s room. Ted finds this really awkward, and Kat blocks the door so that Jess can’t immediately escape the awkward. Jess ends up sitting in a toilet stall for a while, wallowing in her humiliation. Eventually Nick finds her, and they have a heart-to-heart about how she’s the last roomie with a chance at a hook-up, and she deserves to try and move on. As much as I appreciated the creative team trying to recapture the pre-season 3 Jess and Nick vibe, I didn’t find it realistic. I don’t think that a couple in Jess and Nick’s situation could go back to being friends and be that comfortable with each other. It will be what it will be, though, I suppose.

Anyway, Jess and Kat both try to plead their case to Ted, and he just can’t make a decision at all. After waiting until almost everyone else has left the reception, both Jess and Kat end up giving up on him. Kat then ends up going home with the minister (her standard back-up plan). The roomies realize that although none of them scored a hook up, they aren’t going home alone. They have each other. Which is kind of cheesy as hell and has more of a place in season 1 of the show than season 4, but again, it will be what it will be. I did, at least, really enjoy the final scene. The roomies and Cece gather around the loft refrigerator and dispose of all the wedding invitations that have been cluttering it. They come across an invitation for a wedding that hasn’t happened yet, and they end up throwing that out too.

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