Sunday, February 2, 2014

REVIEW: 'New Girl' - Prince Helps Out Jess and Nick's Relationship in the Very Funny Post-Super Bowl Episode 'Prince'

FOX's New Girl - Episode 3.14 Prince

Jess is ready to paint the town purple when a chance encounter finds her and Cece invited to a once-in-a-lifetime mansion party thrown by music legend Prince. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Nick, Schmdit, Winston and Coach are determined to crash the festivities, building toward an unforgettable ending.

Post-Super Bowl episodes typically go for either a big and flashy special guest star, a hugely dramatic event or a big moment for the show's mythology. New Girl actually goes for two of those things - by welcoming music legend Prince to the comedy as well as having it be the first time Nick and Jess say "I love you" to each other.

New Girl has always struggling with how to balance the silly with the real emotions of its characters. Episodes like "Prince" show just how brilliant this show can be when all the various plots are working together.

It's a fun role reversal to have Nick be the one to first drop the L-word - since Jess is always blurting out her emotions. The two then are allowed to process it and freak out over it - Jess with her finger pointing and the guys talking to Nick about how he should take it back. Then, they all come together for the party at Prince's house.

Once there, the pure magic happens. Nick and Jess both met Prince and understandable freak out - "Okay, I didn't give you enough time to react" - before he whisks Jess away to coach her into saying "I love you" back to Nick. It's a very fun sequence to watch - between the eating pancakes, the ping pong, the butterfly landing on his shoulder, the finding-a-dress sequence and him magically appearing in the closet. It was all well executed comedy while still being very much thematic on point with the journey that is Nick and Jess as a couple.

In the end, the two reunite, declaring their love for each other and kiss. Just like we all were expecting. But dang, did the show have fun in this episode. They let Prince be funny and self-deprecating while also remembering what the essence of our love is for all of these characters - whether it's Jess' uncertainty with her emotions, Nick's general awkwardness, Schmidt realizing he's at his happiness when with these guys, Coach and Winston actually working together or Cece's general assertiveness in her sexuality. Everything about this episode worked for me and I'm super glad FOX gave this comedy the added boast of the Super Bowl. So hopefully, we can have more episodes like this for the final part of the third season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Prince" was written by David Feeney & Rob Rosell and directed by Fred Goss.
  • Schmidt mispronouncing things is never not funny - even when it's "panties." That opening scene was just to draw Super Bowl male viewers into the show. It's a strategy that almost never works but it was also a great way to immediately introduce these characters with an excellent payoff at the end.
  • Driving to Prince's house in the Ford was clearly product integration. New Girl does handle that stuff - which helps pays the bills - better than most shows - but it still does feel like product integration.
  • We're also introduced to the Fire & Ice combination. An excellent pairing of Coach and Winston - who've frequently been opposed to each other but got to work very efficiently together.
  • Emmy consideration for Prince's guest spot doesn't sound too out there for me.
  • Coach: "This whole time you've been waiting for better friends?" Schmidt: "Yes, of course."
  • Schmidt: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to celebrate this thing called Schmidt."
  • Prince: "I said stop being afraid." "Boo."
  • Jess: "I think Prince is magic."