Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Girl 4.19: "The Right Thing"

“Can I get an alcohol?”

“The Right Thing” was one of the more entertaining episodes of this season of “New Girl.” There wasn’t a lot of substance to the episode, but I laughed, so it wasn’t all bad. I don’t look to “New Girl” for examples of television as art anymore, unfortunately. In this episode, several of the characters were struggling to, as the episode title would suggest, “do the right thing” in some awkward situations. There was some dark humor in Jess’ situation in particular, which I appreciated as a change of pace. We also got to meet Schmidt’s mother, which, I’ll admit, was a little disappointing. She was a bit too over-the-top for my taste. I like my television characters to be a little more complicated. Schmidt’s mom was pretty much just completely obnoxious, although she does have a bit of a change of heart by the end of the episode.

Jess has been seeing a guy named Pete who goes to Coach’s gym (Coach set them up). Jess is just having fun because she doesn’t think that Pete is the kind of guy she intends to marry. As part of that fun, she decides to sext him. Jess being Jess, though, the sext is kind of lame. It’s her in a t-shirt and a bra (over the t-shirt) holding a sign that says “Property of Pete.” As the episode progresses, Jess gets annoyed that Pete is over an hour late for a planned brunch date. It turns out that he had a pretty darn good excuse for standing Jess up, though. Jess and Cece pay a visit to Pete’s apartment, and they discover that Pete has died. Jess then fusses over whether or not she should go to Pete’s funeral. She thinks it could be awkward because they hadn’t been dating for that long. She’s convinced, though, that attending the funeral is the right thing to do, so she drags Cece and Coach with her.

Meanwhile, Schmidt’s mom, Louise, is coming to town, and this has Schmidt on edge. She’s hyper critical of everything Schmidt does, and it stresses him out. Louise is played by Nora Dunn, who I had never heard of before, but she’s a respected SNL alum, and I read a really interesting interview with her on earlier today. Before his mother arrives, though, Schmidt has something else to think about. At the bar, Nick pitches Schmidt on an investment idea. His coworker is willing to sell his 10 percent ownership in the bar, and Nick wants to partner with Schmidt to buy it. They don’t have the $20,000 they need to do the deal, though, so Schmidt decides he will try to ask his mother to finally hand over his bar mitzvah money.

There is a small (as per usual) Winston plot in the mix as well. Winston is perplexed why his partner, Aly, doesn’t want to hang out with him and the rest of the roomies socially. He asks her to drinks after work multiple times, and she turns him down. She says she wants to keep things strictly professional. By the end of the episode, Aly and Winston are sharing pints at the bar after he has dragged her into the gang’s wacky hijinks (more on that in a bit), and she reveals that when she got to close to her last partner, he fell in love with her, and she can’t have that happen again. Winston reassures her that that won’t be the case with them. She then chugs her entire pint in one go, and I can’t quite tell if Winston is impressed or horrified. Maybe some of both?

Louise has lunch with Schmidt and Nick, and she’s completely obnoxious. She makes Schmidt kiss his “brother,” aka a photo of a small, yipey dog on her phone (I’m a dog person and I find this ridiculous). Schmidt finally gets up the courage to ask for his bar mitzvah money, but Louise says he can only have it if he finally writes out all his bar mitzvah thank-you cards. Back at the loft, Winston, Schmidt, and Nick watch Schmidt’s bar mitzvah video and contemplate how Schmidt can possibly figure out how to write all these cards so many years after the event. Winston ends up calling Aly (claiming he needs help with something work related), and she and Winston do a good cop/bad cop interrogation of Schmidt until he remembers everyone’s names. Aly also helpfully looks everybody up in the police database so Schmidt has current addresses (or death notices).

Jess hopes that Pete’s memorial will be a big affair where she can just blend in, but when she, Cece, and Coach arrive, they see that this won’t be the case. It’s a very small group, and of course they want to know how Jess knew Pete. When Pete’s girlfriend introduces herself, things become even more awkward for Jess. She decides to lie and say she knew Pete from work. Since Pete was a sports agent and Jess knows nothing about sports, this is a problem. Coach tries to feed Jess sports buzz words, and things go okay until Pete’s sister suggests that Pete’s girlfriend take Pete’s cell phone for the memories. The cell phone that still has Jess’ sext on it. Coach and Jess run out to the garage to try and find the phone before Pete’s girlfriend gets to it, but they are stopped by J.J. Watt, who is also trying to find the phone because he is embarrassed by the fact that he recently fired Pete as his agent by text. All three of them are busted by Pete’s girlfriend, and silly singing about sports-related food ensues (don’t ask). Jess calls Pete’s phone to find it, but Pete’s girlfriend already has the phone, and she’s not thrilled to see Jess’ sext picture.

Louise gets super critical of Schmidt’s thank-you cards, and Nick eventually takes Schmidt aside to convince him to stand up to his mother for once. Schmidt does not do well at this until Louise starts insulting Nick, and then Nick finally asserts himself for once. Unfortunately, he takes it too far and says they don’t need her money. Louise has a change of heart when she goes to the nail salon and meets Cece (who she doesn’t realize knows Schmidt). They have a heart-to-heart, and Cece convinces her to loosen her grip on Schmidt a bit. She arrives at the bar just in time to help Schmidt and Nick buy the 10 percent share. Jess excitedly tries to befriend Louise, but it doesn’t go well. Louise thinks Jess tries too hard.

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