I enjoy New Girl for a number of reasons. I’ve long enjoyed Zooey Deschanel, I think the cast and their chemistry is fantastic, Nick Miller is a hilariously unique leading man character, the writing is smart, the romances well-earned and the laughs constant.
But one of my little, favorite things about the show is the innuendoes. The innuendos are fantastic.
Realistically that’s not my most legitimate favorite aspect of the show (or maybe it is) but it showcases a writing team fully embracing the ages of their characters and their relationships all the while skirting around the censors, which I can’t help but applaud.
That and the developing friendships, laughs and physical comedy by Deschanel and Johnson make this a fantastic episode of New Girl. The premise is simple: Jess wants to connect with Coach through his love of basketball and the team she supports due to it leads to a sex-off between her and Nick.
Plotline A begins with Jess at the start coming back from a grocery run with Coach where she once again failed to connect with him in any substantial way. She tells Schmidt and Nick that he called her his buddies’ girlfriend to an acquaintance he ran into on the way back, a comment that she finds immensely rude. (This writer agrees 100%)
Jess reasons that she managed to force her way into the other guys lives easily enough, she got Nick with food, so getting Coach should be easy enough too once she decides that basketball will be her “in.” Nick objects to the idea that food was the reason he became friends with her. He names five others all pertaining to her body because Nick Miller has never learned a lesson in subtlety and simply tells it as it is.
Nick tries to warn Jess about looking too deep into a possible sports bond. He tells her that there is no deeper meaning to enjoying sports, it’s about the game and rivalry and that’s it and to not expect some sad childhood backstory to come pouring out of Coach’s mouth.
Jess ignores Nick’s advice and goes to Coach’s room to try and get her “in” and while in the middle of climbing underneath his bed for a lost olive proving yet again Deschanel’s knack for physical comedy, she tells him that she’s a fan of basketball too—in fact, she loves the Detroit Pistons, Coach’s favorite team and the rival of Nick’s favorite, the Chicago Bulls.
I didn’t even know those were names of basketball teams.
Jess has successfully bonded with Coach and Nick catches them butt bumping (literally touching butts which apparently is also a thing) and Nick immediately gets put out, asking what’s going on. They tell him that they’re just watching the game and it’s the Pistons and then proceed to make fun of the Bulls until Nick leaves the room.
Later when Jess goes to lay down with him she’s wearing a Pistons shirt that Coach gave her and Nick, very seriously, says that she can’t be in his bed with that shirt. He tells her that the Bulls mean something to him and as his girlfriend she should be supporting his team as well and forbids her support of the Pistons. She tells him that he can’t forbid her to do anything and he tells her that if she doesn’t stop, he’s turning off the tap.
Yes, the sex tap.
Jess asks him where she’ll be “getting her vitamin D” and he tells her that until she relents and stops supporting the team he loathes she won’t be getting sex with him.
And let the sex-off begin.
Jess the next morning finds him in the bathroom as he tries to seduce her (by brushing his dirty teeth) and Jess tells him that she can resist him, that all of her sexual energy went into knitting in high school and it will be much easier to dispel of it when she’s aiming for a new friend.
This doesn’t stop Nick though who during Coach and Jess watching the latest game comes out decked out in basketball gear, splashing water on himself and trying to turn Jess on. The result is he accidently just turns himself on and has to leave the room.
There’s one win in this situation, however, when Coach offhandedly calls Jess his friend and Deschanel’s dopey smile sells the goofy, well intentioned moment.
Later, Jess tells Nick that she’s tired of all of the games and the two do a lot of posturing at one another, trying to get the other to crack in their typical, offbeat fashion that shows how well suited they are for each other. It seems they’re about to call it when Jess Paula Abdul’s him with her shoulder movements and hair swishes and just as he goes in for a move Jess pulls away and says the ball is in her court now.
Nick’s next plan consists of sending sexy pictures to her via disposable camera which corresponds with Jess beginning to tire of the charade she’s putting on for Coach especially when he suggests rewinding the entire game to watch the highlights again. So she sabotages the television and tells Coach that instead they should just sit and chat over coffee. She’s about to get her way when Coach offers to go and talk over food out somewhere and they end up at a sports bar.
Jess can’t keep up the rouse anymore and she tells Coach that she doesn’t like basketball and was only faking it to be friends with him. Coach hurts her feelings and she leaves upset, just before Nick shows up in a Pistons jersey to make amends with Jess, unable to keep up the competition any longer. He finds Coach alone and finds out what happens and tells him what he needs to do. He says the way to get a friend for life out of Jess is as easy as making a comment about an offhand thought of his that day. It’s a funny moment because it tells us that Coach thinks about how he’s never seen a baby pigeon before, and it shows just how well Nick knows Jess without getting overtly sentimental when there’s no reason to.
Nick returns back to the loft where Jess is waiting, in a Bulls jersey, and the two go at after days of pent-up frustration.
The B plot is funny, if unmemorable, as Schmidt finds an advisor in an old man Ed, a new employee at his work, who he has been told to show around the workplace. Meanwhile he’s also allowing Winston to follow him around and observe how he does his job to encourage him in his own career plights. Ed ends up stealing Schmidt’s idea about micro-marketing and pitches it at a meeting, stealing the limelight.
Schmidt feels at a loss and at the bar—where Cece is still working so I’m glad it wasn’t a one episode thing—and he’s telling her and Winston about how he might as well throw in the towel and the two of them tell him that he can do it and will be fine.
So Schmidt turns up at work to one-up Ed, turns the presentation into a powerpoint, the technology is too much for Ed and in the end, despite Ed’s apparent heart attack, Ed tells Schmidt that he’ll win in the end.
So we’ll see if that actually turns into anything.
Later at the bar as he, Winston and Cece chat they learn about all of the notes that Winston had taken while following Schmidt and they realize he’d make a good police officer. It’s another plot development that we’ll have to wait and see if it actually turns into anything at all. It will be interesting how they handle this season’s crazy Winston with a legitimate storyline.
This was another strong episode for New Girl because they keyed into what makes the show so good. The Jess and Nick relationship had tension of sorts but it was fun and playful rather than anything that was supposed to cause trouble in the relationship. They played up the chemistry and allowed for Johnson and Deschanel to utilize their comedic strengths. And while typically I enjoy the episodes that have the group hanging out collectively and all playing off of each other this week the split ups seemed natural rather than forced for storytelling purposes. It was mainly a Nick, Jess and Coach storyline with a Schmidt B-plot, but Winston and Cece both got their moments as well.
When I watch this show I want to laugh, like any comedy while I appreciate heart and character moments I also am looking for an easy half hour that allows for a lot of comedic moments and this episode I got that.
New Girl is great when they play to their strengths and this week the show made sure to monopolize on all of them. With the past two episodes and the Super Bowl time slot it will be interesting to see what direction the characters take next.