Tuesday, February 4, 2014

REVIEW: 'New Girl' Ponders Whether or Not You Can Still Be Friends with Your Ex in 'Exes'

FOX's New Girl - Episode 3.15 Exes

When Nick has an awkward run-in with Caroline (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), Jess tries to convince him he can still be friends with her, by introducing him to her former boyfriend, Berkley (Adam Brody). Meanwhile, Coach uses Schmidt's loft to impress a date, but things turn farcically disastrous when Schmidt arrives home with his own potential bedmate.

As you may remember, I loved New Girl's post Super Bowl episode. It was the perfect balance of every good thing about the show right now. The Super Bowl hasn't historically given a huge boost to the series airing as the lead-out but it's always optimistic to guess that more people will now tune into the series. If they do so now, "Exes" was another pretty strong episode of New Girl.

Well, the plot of "Exes" is pretty predictable. By the emotional climax of this story was so on-point and great, that I can forgive a little bit of predictability. You see Nick runs into his girlfriend Caroline at the farmer's market which opens up the comedy to the idea of relationships with your ex-romantic partners. Just as easily as the show put Nick and Jess together, they could break them up. Caroline acutely explains how Jess will one day be Nick's ex. The first half of the season was about Nick and Jess as a couple and in the honeymoon stage of their relationship. They were happy together but the spark that made their kiss in season two so exciting simply wasn't there as strongly. Now, the two are being forced to deal with some pretty big stuff. In "Prince," it was confronted their true feelings for one another. In "Exes," it was about learning about the other person's past romantic histories with other people.

Nick and Jess disagree over whether or not one can have a good friendship with an ex. But they both are proven wrong throughout the course of "Exes." Jess believes she has a completely platonic relationship with ex Berkley (Adam Brody). But he is still emotionally in love with her and thinks she wants to get back together with him as much as he wants to with her. Nick wants to just run away from dealing with all the emotional fallout from the way he left things with Caroline. He feels like he doesn't need to explain things or to have her as a friend. And yet, he has to give her some closure. His saying he loved Jess from the moment he first saw her felt very swoon-worthy.

The B-story involved Schmidt, Winston and Coach all using Schmidt's apartment as a place to have sex with their new lady friends. They just all went there at the same time. Hijinks and confusion ensue!

Schmidt leaving the loft was a big deal when it happen - but the show hasn't really followed through on how his leaving changes the dynamics of the core relationships. He still is around the main loft a lot and things seem to be operating just the same as they always were. His apartment gives the show a whole other environment to interact in as "Exes" proves very well. Schmidt is off his game without the multitude of social interaction he get when living with Nick, Jess and Winston. It's an interesting plot thread purely introduced in this episode but one I want the show to explore further in the future.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Exes" was written by Nina Pedrad and directed by Alex Hardcastle.
  • It's interesting how the first post-Super Bowl includes the return of Caroline, who hasn't been seen (and barely referenced) since when the show was at its height in viewership in early season one.
  • Jessica Chaffin returns and has one of the best lines of the nights: "It's me, Bertie."
  • Adam Brody and Mary Elizabeth Ellis aren't meant to be the focus of the story - but they do excellent work with what they are asked to do. Loved him acting like he was getting sprayed by water and her holding the baby.
  • The show put a lot of sexual suggestions into that B-story. It was really funny - but it also led to a viewer discretion warning before the episode started.