Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Girl 4.02: "Dice"

“Never date a man with pets. The only acceptable pet for a man to have is a saltwater fish.”

And so we’ve seen week two of the “New Girl” creative team’s attempt to retool the show. It was, indeed, very funny. It even had some heart and made strides towards making Schmidt more like a human being. It seemed to be lacking a sense of overall purpose, though. I prefer my comedies to be a little more ambitious with longer-term storytelling. Overall, though, it was fun to watch, which I guess is more than I could say for many of last year’s episodes. I am definitely hoping that after a few “reset” type episodes, we go back to more long-term storytelling, but with some of the changes made in the reset intact. Like the humor and Schmidt no longer being a cartoon. My wishes for Barney on HIMYM to not be a cartoon were never really heard, so I can at least hope that Schmidt will be able to evolve.

The main plot of this episode involves a dating app called Dice, which is basically the “New Girl” version of Tinder. The app shows you other users nearby, and you swipe up or down to indicate interest (or non-interest). Jess knows in her head that since it’s been a few months since the break-up with Nick, she needs to get back in the dating game. She is finding it difficult, though. Schmidt, on the other hand, seems to have pretty much a parade of ladies spending time in his bedroom. Which, now that I think about it, must suck for Nick considering Nick and Schmidt are sharing a room these days. Jess asks Schmidt how he is getting so many dates, and Schmidt mentions Dice. He tells Jess not to try it, though. Her temperament is too sweet and innocent for a hook-up app.

Meanwhile, Nick, Coach, and Cece don’t really know what to do with themselves, so they decide that they should get stoned one last time before Winston (who is in the police academy) can arrest them for it. Cece offers to bake some brownies, and they’re good to go. Before the brownie consumption, though, Winston complains that he’s not fitting in socially at the academy. His fellow cadets haven’t even given him a nickname. Winston thinks he has an in with his classmates, though. He’s going to crash a party they’re throwing, and he wants to bring all the roomies (and Cece) with him. Considering they’re all baked at the moment (or testing out Dice…more on that in a bit), it might not have been the smartest idea. Nick, Coach, and Cece agree to go to the party because they think they can be cool and act normal.

Eventually, Schmidt realizes that Jess is going to try to use Dice despite his warnings, so he agrees to teach her how to use the site. The lessons that follow are designed to show exactly how naïve Jess is. It’s almost like she has learned nothing over the past three years! She didn’t realize that a guy would plan a date hear his house so he could take her back to his place. He starts small by setting up hypothetical dating situations, and Jess fails them all. It’s basic personal safety stuff, really. Anyway, once he’s done with the hypotheticals, Schmidt reveals that he has arranged ten Dice dates for Jess. He calls it the “Dice Diez.” The idea is that Jess can get over a lot of dating awkwardness and totally level up in dating all in one day.

So, when Coach, Cece, and Nick arrive at the party, they realize that going to a party where there are wall to wall cops while high may not have been the smartest move ever. They try their best to be cool, but they really fail miserably. Nick kind of tries to be the stoned guru, giving advice to Coach and Cece about how to act normal. He’s not really acting normal himself, though. Which you’d expect considering, you know, he’s high! Coach has never had pot before, but surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly because TV rules), he is best able to pass as normal. Nick keeps telling Coach that the way he’s speaking sounds off, but like I said, it’s not. Cece at one point finds herself pouring out her life story to a random.

The first of the Dice Diez short dates happens at the bar the gang all frequents (where Nick and Cece work). Jess tries to indulge the annoying guy Schmidt set her up with, but Schmidt is trying to teach her how to reject guys. The first one is difficult, but through a montage, we see Jess having an easier time using really obvious blow off lines. She reads them off a piece of paper, too. It would be kind of hilarious if it didn’t infantilize Jess so much. It’s really a regression for her character. This plot in season one would have been awesome. Anyway, the final date is with a guy whose picture Jess thought was hot earlier in the day. She thought he had dreamy eyes. He makes the mistake of saying he lives near the restaurant where they are eating, though, and he gets offended when Jess says she doesn’t want to go back to his place (he apparently didn’t mean it that way).

Nick, Cece, and Coach end up hiding in a closet (so they don’t get busted) having the giggly, existential conversations that high people on television so often have. The party is broken up when a bunch of cops and cadets stage a raid on the closet. The roomies think they’re being busted, and they freak out. It turns out it’s all a joke though. The cops thought their being high was funny, and they think that they must be difficult roommates for Winston to deal with. The roomies, meanwhile, have run away (and Nick kicks over the grill on the way out). In sympathy, they finally give Winston a nick name. Toilet. Because he has to put up with a lot of crap from his roommates. Winston is thrilled.

Meanwhile, Jess is upset that she drove off Mr. Dreamy Eyes. She and Schmidt have a really sweet conversation about what they each want out of dating. Schmidt talks about how he thinks dating is just something you do over and over again and never stop. Jess wants a relationship. Schmidt tells Jess that on a dating site like Dice, she’s the prize, not the guy. Jess is encouraged to go apologize to Mr. Dreamy Eyes and ask for a second chance. He turns out to be kind of an idiot and a douche, but Jess is committed to at least giving him a fair chance. Schmidt decides to try for something longer-lasting with one of his more recent conquest, but she’s not interested.

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