Tuesday, March 25, 2014

REVIEW: 'New Girl' - The Gang Plays True American While Nick & Jess Talk About Their Future Plans in 'Mars Landing'

FOX's New Girl - Episode 3.20 Mars Landing

Jess and Nick face some truths about their relationship, while Schmidt, Winston and Coach scramble to make a better second impression on their hot new neighbors (Alexandra Daddario & Steve Nelson). Also, Cece panics after she drunk-texts Buster.

"Never talk about something serious when you're hungover Jess." - Nick

Nick utters that line to Jess early into the episode shortly after a rousing game of True American the night before leaves them so hungover on the day of Jess' goddaughter's first birthday party. The two slowly start to talk about their serious plans for the future. And as much as they don't want it all to boil up into something big, it does. They argue and breakup - which is just the kind of serious thing you shouldn't be talking about while hungover.

I don't know if Nick and Jess together is the foundation or endgame of the show. It's a part of it for sure. But it's also not the be all end all. This group of unlikely roommates and the adventures that they have together that's the core dynamic of the show. As long as that is true, the show will thrive and be funny. But for the majority of the third season, the show did pair up Nick and Jess. It was mostly just to see what would happen. The two have great chemistry together and if the show didn't go there soon it would have been tiresome to see the two dance around each other forever. They made an honest go at it with a relationship this season. And that has opened the show to new possibilities.

Now, I also truly do believe that Nick and Jess honestly love each other. They passed that hurdle in the Super Bowl episode. But a relationship with someone is much more than simply loving them. It's also about being friends who make each other the fullest version of themselves. Last fall, it seemed like the two were making a lot of compromises in order to be together. They had to learn how to deal with the others eccentricities through the new context of a relationship. They managed to overcome that and build to something much more earnest and real in the 2014 episodes. Nick and Jess do work well as a couple. But they also work well as friends. It's an interesting dichotomy that the show has. And I love that it's going to try to explore that further by the two taking this time apart to be each other's supportive friend. It's not a backpedalling to the way things were in season 2. Nick and Jess have both evolved because of this relationship. So, their friendship is going to be different. But it's also an exciting kind of different. So even though I'm sad by their mutual decision to break up - that final hug really does hit you and them hard - I'm also really intrigued to see what's to come in the final episodes of the season.

"I want you to be yourself." - Jess
"I want you to be yourself." - Nick

Some more thoughts:
  • "Mars Landing" was written by Josh Malmuth & Nina Pedrad and directed by Lynn Shelton.
  • I finished this review without mentioning the Coach-Schmidt-Winston subplot at all. It basically was a nice, pleasant and funny thing for them to do. 
  • Still have no clue what the show is trying to do with Cece and this new guy. But hey, at least she got to play True American - which was just as crazy and hilarious as ever.
  • This episode also had a ton of great Nick one-liners. As you can see I've posted a few of them below.
  • Nick: "Do you know how many people are killed on a horse every year?"
  • Nick: "Science is more a belief than anything else."
  • Jess: "When did you teach science at a community college?" Nick: "I made that up. Didn't think you would fact check me."
  • Jess: "Well we live on different planets." Nick: "You're talking about the fake future."
  • Nick: "Okay first hurdle, the instructions are written upside down."
  • Nick: "How is this a children's toy?" Jess: "Why is it so brittle?"
  • Schmidt: "Once again Schmidt has found himself in a position where he is infuriated!"
  • Nick: "Because I'm not Santa Claus, I don't put toys together two weeks in advanced."
  • Winston: "My name is Winston Bishop. Welcome to the building."