Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New Girl 4.13: "Coming Out"

“I’m not gonna sit around here all day like an off-duty ice cream truck driver!”

“Coming Out” was an interesting meditation on several of the roomies deciding to really seize what they want from life. I still don’t buy Jess and Ryan’s relationship (yeah, I know he’s adorable and British, and while that’s a great start, I don’t see what else Jess likes about him), but I appreciated Jess taking charge and owning her supervisory position as vice principal. It’s a lesson I feel like I need to work on myself. When you’re a supervisor, you can’t please everybody all the time. You can only do your best and own your decisions once you’ve made them. I think it was an important breakthrough for Jess, and I thought it was kind of cheapened by her declaring her love for Ryan in front of the whole faculty. Schmidt and Nick also had to learn how to achieve a better work/life balance. I’m definitely more on the Schmidt end of that spectrum, so there were lessons in abundance there too. The less said about the “Winston and his crystal necklace” plot, the better. Poor Winston needs to get more plot love!

The episode opens with the aforementioned Winston and his crystal. Winston’s new LAPD coworkers are having him wear the crystal as a sort of hazing ritual, but Winston actually likes it because it makes him feel powerful. He discusses this with Nick and Kai, who haven’t moved from the living room couch since Thursday. Have I mentioned yet how bad I think Kai is for Nick? She enables his laziest tendencies, when he could be much more. Schmidt enters the room and is clearly having stomach pains. Nick and Kai convince Schmidt to go to the doctor, where we learn that Schmidt has had ongoing stomach ulcer issues, but he hasn’t been taking his medicine. The nurse at the doctor’s office tells Schmidt that he needs to take some time off work, but he really doesn’t want to. He thinks Gina really needs him, and if he just keeps at it, he’ll get the more challenging accounts (like “red potatoes”) that he really wants.

That same morning, Coach walks in on Jess and Ryan in bed. He’s done a bunch of research, and he doesn’t think Jess and Ryan need to keep their relationship a secret. He found a court case that says someone in Jess’ situation can’t be punished. Coach is invested in the situation because he wants to be the “hot teacher” at school again, and currently all the ladies on faculty are fawning over Ryan. Jess goes to the principal and tells him about the relationship. He says he’s good with it, but he warns Jess that once they find out, the other teachers are going to tear Jess apart at any hint of favoritism. Jess is tested immediately when, after she announces the relationship to the faculty, she has to evaluate field trip proposals. Ryan’s proposal is clearly the best by a long shot, so Jess chooses it, but the rest of the faculty are in an uproar over favoritism.

Back at the loft, Schmidt is trying to leave for work against doctor’s orders, so Nick and Kai ambush him. Schmidt keeps protesting that Gina needs him, but eventually they swaddle Schmidt to get him to take a nap instead of going to work. Schmidt takes one day off, but after that, he’s really itching to get back to work. He takes an old school (seriously...from the 1980s) Macintosh into the bathroom (Nick calls this computer his “word processor”) and tries working on that. Nick finds Schmidt and gets upset that Schmidt isn’t resting. The two have a big fight over their respective work habits. Schmidt is disappointed that Nick has become a lazy bum when he used to always have good ideas and want something more out of life. Nick is disappointed that Schmidt is working himself into health issues for a boss who doesn’t really care about him. Each of them have valid points. The scene ends with the old school computer playing the theme of the old PBS game show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” 8-bit style. Which is awesome, although the old Carmen Sandiego computer games never (unfortunately) used the theme song from the TV show.

Jess holds her usual office hours, and instead of nobody showing up, she’s got a long line of very angry teachers to deal with. Jess offers to hear their concerns one-by-one, but none of them really have anything substantive to say. They’re all just angry. To get everyone to calm down, Jess offers to switch the field trip to the creepy biology teacher’s foliage viewing idea. Ryan is upset by all of this (since Jess was clearly upset enough to change the field trip), and he offers to find a different job to improve the situation. Jess tells him not to do that. The field trip itself is a complete disaster. It turns out to just be a chance to have all the kids do the massive amount of yard work at the creepy biology’s teacher’s farm. Jess calls the trip off, and in the chaos, the biology teacher disturbs a wasp nest. Everybody ends up stung pretty badly.

Even with Jess and Ryan’s relationship out in the open, Coach is still not getting any love from his coworkers. Apparently the ladies have all decided they want someone like Ryan. We finally harken back to a characteristic we learned about Coach way back in the pilot – his tendency to yell even when he doesn’t really mean to. Winston, of course, advises the use of a crystal necklace. Coach instead tries dressing like Ryan (although Winston still recommends the crystal). Coach eventually decides to just be himself around the ladies, and they do show a little more interest, but the whole thing gets derailed when Coach admits that he has a wasp sting in his crotch area. Guess that’s kind of a buzzkill!

After their argument, Nick and Schmidt each try to change their ways a bit. Nick actually gets up before noon and tries to be a little productive, which completely freaks Winston out. Schmidt goes back to work, but the ulcer is still bothering him. He finally flat-out asks Gina for the red potato account, but Gina says she wants to keep him right where she can find him as a mid-level employee forever. He’s good at what he’s doing right now, so why would she want to sacrifice that? After work, Schmidt and Nick apologize to each other. They decide they want to try working together again, although a “jamming ideas” session, doesn’t exactly go well. Nick really wants to build some sort of robot, but Schmidt thinks that could be a bad idea.

At the bar, Jess talks with Cece and Coach about the disastrous field trip. Cece says that jess needs to own her decisions, and she can’t please everyone all the time. The staff doesn’t need to always like Jess, but they do need to listen to her. Jess takes this advice to heart and has another staff meeting where she tells it like it is. She says she’s going to make some decisions folks don’t like, but they’re going to have to deal with it. She loves her job and she loves Ryan (again, where the heck did that come from?). She finally earns the respect of her staff, and Ryan is quite pleased, too. At the end of the day, the gang is back at the bar, and Winston gives Coach the crystal necklace. Then they all line dance to some country music playing on the juke box (apparently country line dancing was Coach’s biggest fear, and by the power of the crystal, he is now able to overcome it). I do always like it when a “New Girl” episode ends with dancing.

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