Tuesday, October 14, 2014

REVIEW: 'New Girl' - Jess Meets a Hot New Teacher, Schmidt Has an Interview & Nick Becomes a Secretary in 'Landline'

FOX's New Girl - Episode 4.05 "Landline"

When Coach's liaison with the school nurse gets messy, vice principal Jess must enforce a new, "no fraternization" policy among the teachers. But the tables soon get turned when she finds herself attracted to the hot new science teacher. Meanwhile, Nick is enjoying being Schmidt and Winston's secretary, after the loft gets a new home phone.

One of the things I like the most about this season of New Girl so far is that there seems to be stuff happening in the lives of everyone in the loft. The sole exception being Nick, who is living life the same as he has always been. And that is a major part of the plot in "Landline." Everyone in this group of friends are evolving and changing as people. Jess has new responsibilities and guidelines she must enforce and obey as vice president. Coach is working at Jess' school and getting lucky with the school nurse (Erinn Hayes) and another teacher (Angela Kinsey). Schmidt has been focused on moving up at work - and gets a magazine interview in this episode. And then, Winston is continuing on his quest to becoming a police officer. Things are happening and the change is good for the core dynamics of the show.

"Landline" explores the relationship Nick has to the rest of the loftmates as they have people to talk to and things to do. They are all forced into his room to take their calls because of the poor phone reception they get in the loft now. He is furious by that - although it's pretty funny watching all of them try to have their own conversations at the same time. That leads to the loft getting a landline. The reaction to it is pretty great. But Nick inadvertently becomes the loft's secretary - taking everyone's calls and delivering the messages because he's only one in the loft during the day. Nothing quite beats watching Nick get up, answer the phone, walk back to his seat and then it rings again just as he sits down. More importantly though, Nick sees this as a way to better connect with his friends. He feels like they are keeping a part of their lives away from him now that they are off having their own lives at work. He inserts himself into Schmidt and Winston's lives and awkward hilarity ensues. It's weird and yet equally as great. Schmidt and Winston try to remedy the situation by getting an answering machine but even that doesn't please everyone. Nick feels betrayed by technology - and his ongoing issues with things getting replaced by new stuff continues to be great.

Meanwhile, Jess is forced to get her teaching staff to comply with a "no-fraternization" policy after she catches Coach with two different women - thanks to the landline, of course. The only complication is that she is attracted to the new science teacher (Julian Morris). I know that Morris is set to appear in a handful of episodes this fall. And frankly, I'm glad that the show is introducing a more regular love interest for Jess. They've had their fun earlier this season in getting hilarious situations out of her joining a dating app and dating a guy with a micro-penis. But by presenting a guy that she could seriously have an immediate future with is welcome character progression. You can only have her go on bad dates so many times before it becomes boring. Morris isn't asked to do much more than be eye candy in this episode. I don't know if he will be a serious love interest for Jess. But I enjoy the prospect his presence brings - even though it's made clear by Principal Foster that she can't act on her urges because she's an administrator. That's unfortunate and yet also leaves things open.

Some more thoughts:
  • I found the gang's reaction to the landline especially funny because I've had that conversation with older people who don't comprehend that people just don't have landlines anymore.
  • Winston is a smooth talker while on the phone because of course he is!
  • Cece's only moment in this episode is in recording the message for the loft's answering machine. And according to Schmidt she makes it too sexual every time. It's particularly funny when the actual machine includes both him and her. I'm hoping that will just stay as a strong running joke.
  • Flashback Nick and Winston continue to be great.
  • According to Jess, if the sexual tension is becoming too strong, you must say "Shut it down" with accompanying hand gestures. You just have to make sure you don't accidentally touch anyone's genitals in the process.