Tuesday, September 23, 2014

REVIEW: 'New Girl' - Schmidt Teaches Jess About Dating Apps While Nick, Coach & Cece Spend Time in a Closet in 'Dice'

FOX's New Girl - Episode 4.02 "Dice"

Schmidt tutors Jess in the not-so-fine-art of dating via mobile apps. Meanwhile, Winston is desperate to make a good impression on his fellow police cadets, which backfires when Nick, Coach and Cece show up at a party thrown by fellow officers.

To an extent, Jess has always been a little bit naive. It's because she's a hopeless optimist. That's one of the most endearing traits of her. And yet, it doesn't exactly gel with the current dating scene. She's looking for emotions, connections and a relationship when it comes to dating while Schmidt and the rest of the mobile dating app community are looking for hookups. It's hilarious watching Schmidt teach Jess the tricks of the trade so to speak. But the true heart of "Dice" is in examining what each of these characters are looking for out of life right now. Jess wants to just get back out there. She wants that connection. Schmidt is living in the world of instant reactions that never have to be thought about again. Winston wants to be treated just like his fellow police cadets. Cece doesn't know what direction her life should take and needs to find something.

While it's extremely funny watching Jess go on a dozen dates and slowly master Schmidt's techniques and for Nick, Coach and Cece to be high at a party thrown by cops, "Dice" also wisely has a handful of strong moments of introspection. Jess tries doing the dating app by herself and ends up in a very awkward and creepy situation. Schmidt is right that she shouldn't be on Dice because what she's looking for and the app's ideals don't exactly mix. She comes to that realization eventually. But it is somewhat unfortunate that the one guy who seemed like the perfect fit for her - while also on the app - was also just another guy she wanted to run away from. It is difficult getting back in the dating scene and that struggle is all too real for Jess right now. Every guy is either a loser or too weird or just not right for her. That doesn't mean there isn't someone out there for her but the current options aren't that encouraging.

Meanwhile, Schmidt is more than happy doing the one-night stand thing with multiple ladies a week. That's all he's really looking for. That is until Jess starts asking him some of the bigger questions. Doesn't he want to know if there's an actual connection with any of them? That makes him a little bit more open to the idea. But just like Jess, when he tries to practice it, he's just frankly told that he doesn't understand the point of Dice. The app really isn't for anyone looking for honest emotions and meaningful relationships. But perhaps now, that's what Schmidt is open to as well.

Elsewhere, Nick, Coach and Cece try to get high one last time before Winston becomes a cop which then leads to hilarity once they are asked to leave the loft. Nick is always funny. But Nick high takes things to the next level. He makes even less logical sense and it's wonderful - especially his bit about the policemen knowing they're high if they don't go to the party. And then, he just kicks over the grill. Wonderful. The gang simply isn't there for Winston - who's stuck trying to explain the plot of Charlotte's Web. And yet, Winston gets exactly what he wants (a nickname) at the expense of his friends. Additionally, Cece is trying to figure out what's next and Coach suggests the idea of school. The best part of that exchange was Nick bringing up the practicality of it all. I'm not sure if it's an avenue the show will commit to exploring. But I do enjoy the possibility of it.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Dice" was written by Matt Fusfeld & Alex Cuthbertson and directed by Lynn Shelton.
  • Love Schmidt's "Welcome and good morning" sign as well as the back-and-forth over whether or not Jess should be taking any notes during this session.
  • A bar in the morning really is a depressing site.
  • That buzzer. That should definitely make a return soon.
  • Coach finds people guilty of being sweet and needing a hug. How wonderful!
  • Really enjoyed Schmidt being perplexed by how the outdoor restaurant was able to offer so much diverse food and execute it all well.
  • So which of Jess' prospective dates was the worst?