Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Girl 4.11: LAXmas

“Let’s wait in the first class lounge, like the other HBOGo subscribers!”

“LAXmas was a sweet episode that almost served as a holiday-themed anthology in the tradition of “Love, Actually.” Except it takes place at LAX. All of the roomies are traveling for the holidays, and when a Midwest storm messes with the flight schedule, they all have adventures. There is more to the episode than just silly adventures, though. Jess is feeling insecure about her new relationship with Ryan. Cece and Schmidt are still figuring out what their deal is. Coach is torn between a tropical vacation and his niece. And Winston and Nick are just Winston and Nick. They need to get to Chicago! Of course, because this is “New Girl,” everybody puts their own goals aside to help Jess get to London by the end of the episode. Although the trip doesn’t exactly work out as Jess planned.

The episode opens on a rehearsal for the school Christmas pageant. While the kids are rehearsing, Jess and Ryan are making out in the prop closet. Because they are professionals. They have to hide behind some props a couple times when the principal of the school (also quite the professional) comes into the prop closet to give himself motivational speeches in the mirror. While in the prop closet, Ryan invites Jess to spend Christmas with him and his family in London. Jess says yes, as any sane person would. I would give quite a lot to spend a Christmas in London, myself. I bet it’s beautiful.

We next head to the loft where we learn that the gang all has their own separate destinations for the holidays. I guess this is because LA is substantially a city of transplants. It reminds me of the year I lived just outside Washington, DC (the District was literally across the street from my apartment, so I’m not exaggerating), which is also a city of transplants supported by one main industry. Jess, as we already established, is going to London with Ryan. Schmidt and Cece are going to New York, although Schmidt is specifically going home to Long Island. Winston and Nick are going home to Chicago. Coach has a tropical getaway to Hawaii booked, but he’s feeling a little guilty that he’s going to miss spending time with his little niece in Detroit. But who really wants to go to Detroit?

When the gang arrives at the airport, they are greeted by chaos. There is a big storm in the Midwest, and it’s messing up flight schedules all over the place. I’ve flown to Chicago once, and it was in August, not even in winter, and we still had a 1.5 hour delay because a big thunderstorm caused a ground stop at O’Hare. Those Midwest storms don’t play. Anyway, Jess takes the lead on trying to get everyone new flights. Her last project is Winston and Nick’s flight to Chicago. She encounters an especially surly ticketing agent named Barry (Billy Eichner). Every time she even starts to try to make an argument to help Nick and Winston, he bumps them down the standby list. At this point in the episode, he is really quite obnoxious.

Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece decide they want to try to wait for their flight in the first class lounge. Apparently spending time in a first class lounge is one of Schmidt’s biggest life aspirations. He equates it to basically looking at the Manhattan skyline from his home on Long Island. As they approach the entrance to the lounge, Schmidt tries to come up with a way to talk them in, considering they aren’t members and don’t have first class tickets. Cece, however, coolly steps in and buys them guest passes. In the lounge, Schmidt starts up a conversation with an old rich guy named Robert (Barry Bostwick). The conversation goes well until Robert asks Schmidt if he can have some time with Cece. Schmidt goes off on a Long Island-repping rant and tells him off. Which of course means Schmidt and Cece have to leave the lounge. The rant was pretty funny, I’ll admit.

Coach, meanwhile, is still feeling the guilt over not going home to Detroit for the holidays. There’s a funny little scene where he tries to charge his cell phone so he can talk to his family before he leaves, but the charging stands are all full. His rant at the person who has plugged in both her cell phone and laptop is pretty great. Eventually, Coach calls his sister, who won’t let him talk to his niece because she’s pissed that he’s not coming to Christmas. Needless to say, by the end of the episode, Uncle Ernie give up his Hawaiian getaway and goes to Detroit. Poor thing! I guess his sister could bring quite the guilt trip. Winston and Nick, for their part, are still just trying to get on a flight to Chicago. There’s a funny sequence where they try to convince people ahead of them on the standby list that they really don’t want to fly.

Jess is waiting for her flight at an airport bar when she gets a text from Ryan. It freaks her out because it is a fancy estate, Downton Abbey-style. She doesn’t think she’s ready for an encounter with such fancy folks. While still at the bar, Jess strikes up a conversation with a guy who looks like Santa, who just turns out to be really pervy. Surprisingly, she’s saved by Barry, the grumpy ticketing agent, who makes the Santa leave. When she has calmed down, Jess realizes that pervy Santa stole all the presents she was taking with her to London. Barry says this means, of course, she can’t go to London now. Can’t meet fancy Downton Abbey folks without presents, of course.

Jess and Barry bond over further bar conversation, and when he tells her he’d be happy to help her out with anything airline-related, she gets him to put Winston and Nick in first class seats to Chicago. Ironically, this bumps Robert the rich jerk from the flight. When we last see him, he’s screaming to a gate agent about his frequent flyer status. Winston and Nick don’t get to enjoy those seats for long, though, because Nick continues to be stupid when it comes to Jess. Jess texts Nick that she isn’t going to London anymore, and he rounds up the whole gang for one of those typical “New Girl” rally-around-Jess moments to convince her to go to London after all. Winston and Nick do eventually go to Chicago, just in the crappiest of crappy seats. As for Jess, when she gets to London, she finds out that Ryan flew back to Los Angeles when he found out her original flight had been cancelled. Oops!

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