New Girl "Cabin" Review: Green Fairy, White Guilt

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Jan 09, 2013

New Girl S02E12: “Cabin”

When Nick described his relationship with Angie as “anarchy” rather than “dating,” he managed to put his finger right on the word that I needed to describe them. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Angie as much as that I didn’t feel completely honest in saying that I did like her. And sure, maybe I was counting on the fact that of course they’d break up eventually because... well, because they would.

So anarchy, eh? Anyone who has spent some time in a cabin chugging absinthe like Gatorade knows that anarchy can be a helluva good time, but it’s unsustainable in the long run. Eventually, someone is going to yak in the fireplace. Eventually, you just want colors and the sounds to match again and birds to stop flying out of their frames to peck your face off, Hitchcock style. Nick and Angie and Jess and Sam’s double date at Dr. Sam’s boss’s cabin became a microcosm of Nick and Angie’s relationship: chaotic, fun, and exciting with just enough unease running beneath it all to taint everything with reality.

"Fantasy" and "nightmare" collided when Angie found the guns and totally felt Jess up while helping her formulate a backstory for the beer can that loved her so she could justify shooting it. Jess, in turn, missed the can completely and accidentally shot a transformer outside the cabin, dooming the group to candlelit absinthe-fueled mayhem. I guess no one thought to call the power company and explain the my bad? Well, at least they left a Post-It on the fuse box upon departure. How considerate!

Regardless, that's when the absinthe came out. Copious amounts of social lubricant in the dark? What could possibly go wrong?

It depends on how you look at it.

After an intense game of one-woman charades, Jess opted to leave her offering at the porcelain altar early, and in her budding sobriety, admitted to Nick that she rather liked Angie. This was, of course, before they both walked in on Nick’s ladyfriend drunkenly trying to kiss drunk Dr. Sam, who was drunkenly trying to turn her down. Nick realized that sobriety sucks and proceeded to chug the green stuff. Oh Nick, darling, you know that they typically cut absinthe with sugar and water, right? I mean, there are fancy spoons and everything. FANCY SPOONS!

Thus began the portion of the evening where the awkward booze-soaked truth-telling came out. All in all, relatively painless. Jess and Dr. Sam ended up passing out on good terms and it appeared that Nick and Angie had managed to add some sort of structure to their anarchic whatever-relationship when Nick admitted that he’d rather be in an exclusive coupling than an open one. It was a big moment for them, but big moments aren’t always pleasant moments and in the morning, Nick woke up to find that Angie had bailed, leaving only a note on the bed because passive-aggressiveness is awesome.

So it’s back to my general lack of feelings regarding Nick and Angie. I felt bad for Nick for being hurt when he woke up next to the letter, but given their opposing natures, there’s also the sense of relief that they quit now rather than let things escalate to a far worse break-up. Angie managed to pull Nick out of his cautious, grumpy shell on many occasions and and certainly, that’s a good thing. Nick rarely does anything outside of his comfort zone without provocation. No matter how many times Nick is convinced to ride a motorcycle, have sex in public, or engage in an open relationship, there will always be a level of discomfort on his part. Certainly, part of being with Nick requires an understanding that, given what we know about Angie’s characterization, it wouldn’t really be fair to expect her to completely give up who she is in order to make Nick happy. Still, we’ve seen Nick make concessions for Angie—I can’t think of many (if any?) that she’s made for him.

Back at the loft, Schmidt latched on to the idea of letting his friends “be themselves” and threw it into overdrive when a case of what Winston later diagnosed as "white guilt" led him on a mission to make Winston “let his black light shine.” Jake Johnson and Hannah Simone’s faces were absolutely priceless during the entire “White Nick, Brown Cece” sales pitch.

This could have been a cringeworthy storyline if not for the brilliant decision to let Winston in on Schmidt’s intentions. Once Winston realized what Schmidt was up to, he turned the plan on its head in the name of punking the hell out of the loft’s resident douchebag. However, Schmidt is not a creature so easily controlled and Winston was quickly proven wrong when he assumed that asking Schmidt to go buy him some crack would put a stop to Schmidt's plan. Did you learn nothing at Thanksgiving, Winston? The man has never met a line he won’t cross.

Much to Winston’s horror, it was off to the projects to buy some crack—and not the crack that'd been laying around all day neither, Schmidt wanted the fresh crack. Kudos to New Girl for making fun of the stereotype that going to the “bad” part of town means an instant carjacking. Also: Winston story! A good Winston story! A good Winston story where he came out on top! After giving that nice man his accidentally pilfered wallet back, Winston came clean about his pranking of Schmidt who still... didn’t get it. His insistence that they eat ribs for dinner rather than the Indian food Winston sincerely wanted, purely because Winston is black and should always want to eat soul food “because that’s what black people eat” is just as bad as those “Welcome to America—now speak ENGLISH” bumper stickers, even though Schmidt’s intentions were born out of a genuine desire to make his friend feel comfortable in his skin, rather than, you know, out of xenophobic douchebaggery. The thing is, Schmidt never bothered to ask Winston if he was comfortable or happy, he just assumed... and you know what they say about what happens when you assume. (It’s a really cheesy and patronizing quip that unfortunately makes a valid point.)

Winston’s blackness means something different to Schmidt than it does to Winston himself. For Winston, “Being black means whatever I want it to mean,” and ultimately, it’s Winston’s definition that matters—not Schmidt’s, or “Brown Cece’s,” or even that guy they accidentally almost robbed. Winston is a black man who likes Indian food. He’s also a black man who likes soul food. But he doesn’t like soul food because he’s black.

An identity is made up of so many pieces that it’s impossible to know who a person is based on their skin color, or the cut of their suit, or their profession. In a single episode, we saw Cece go from a career-oriented model to one who'd begun to seriously consider starting a family, but if you bumped into her on the street, you might never know that. Likewise, the opposing stances that Angie and Nick took concerning open vs. exclusive relationships changed just as quickly.

What do you think? Is this the last we see of Angie?


– One-liner of the night: “I’m gonna poop weird tonight!” —Nick. It’s funny cuz it’s true.

– Nick and Angie’s break-up: awesome or awful?

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  • LukeTaylor0 Jan 11, 2013

    His name is Robert. (Paulson?)

  • un0rmal Jan 11, 2013

    The breakup = awesome! That relationship just felt weird to me. Unnatural in a way. Jess and Nick all the way, I just want them to kiss or something! I think the awkward episodes after they realise they have feelings for each other, but don't want it to be true, are gonna be awesome. I want some awkward Nick and Jess moments!

  • abdulay31 Jan 11, 2013

    Great and an amazing episode
    - Loved the Black pitch to Cece and Nick and their expressions too,
    - Winston's crack story
    - Drunk Nick

    I am glad that Nick broke up with Angie cuz he aint that type of guy and i hope he hooks with Jess in the forthcoming episodes

  • Mjuh Jan 10, 2013

    I'm glad Nick and Angie broke up. I thought there wasn't any chemistry. Nick is much more funnier when he's being his grumpy old self rather than trying to be something way different. Though I think it's a good thing he at least tried something new. Just for the experience.

    Now we just need for Jess and Sam to break up. Which will happen 'cos inevitably Jess and Nick will end up together. Whether in this season or the next (or the next... or the next... or the - well, you get my point) but it is going to happen.

    For me the highlight of this episode was Schmidt. I know he's not the total douchebag he acts like but when he actually tries to be sensitive and understanding and what not he just does a really bad job. It was awesome to see that Winston instantly knew what was going on. I found it hilarious when he was trying so hard not to laugh after the crack story.

    As a total off-topic: I can't get over David Walton playing the annoying, idiot, moron, douchebag Dr. Rick in the movie "Fired up!" I keep expecting him to act like his previous role. It kinda bothers the whole New girl -experience.

  • hbf716 Jan 10, 2013

    Favorite moment - Winston telling his crack story. Liked that Nick and Angie broke up. I think that if a couple are obviously not meant to be together then they shouldn't be and I just didn't feel any chemistry with them. Square peg, round hole - why waste your time. Nick is a one woman guy and I believe wants marriage and childeren, etc. If he knows this why mess with formulas that don't work and just make you (and me) miserable? I feel the same way about Jess. I know eventually she and Sam won't work but at least he redeemed himself for the time being. Love every moment with Nick and Jess. They seem like they are best friends and I just wish having couples that obviously belong together get together was the exciting thing to do on TV.

  • bicelis Jan 10, 2013

    Fantastic episode! And a great review, MaryAnn!

    - Loved the Winston storyline and Schmidt's accidental racism was super funny, because he was just trying to be a good friend.
    - Loved how Nick and the episode itself dealt with the break-up. Especially the after-break-up. Nick "I'm fine, let's go" *drinks absinthe*, the end.
    - As MaryAnn mentioned, faces of Cece and Nick were priceless. Laughed so hard, the douchebag jar should be filled just for this one thing.

    P.S. I once drank absinthe and since we were on a beach, we had no other liquids and only cucumbers (only now, when I think about it, I understand how weird is that), we drank absinthe and ate cucumber. Did not end well. Also what's the English expression for when you drink some coke after a shot of vodka and such, or basically anything after a strong drink? Drank with so many Erasmus students, can't believe I don't know this...

  • FringeFanatic Jan 10, 2013

    I don't know what Erasmus students call it, but we Canadians call that a "chaser."

  • coutterhill Jan 10, 2013

    "Being black means whatever I want it to mean," Best line of the night that meant something real. We all need to stop putting people in boxes and expecting them to act a certain way. Loved that part of the episode.
    and poop weird tonight was very funny.

  • MunirRahool Jan 10, 2013

    Ah! Truth is yes I know they will break up but I liked her since the day they met and like her more as her character grows over few episodes. I am really not happy to see her go, specially like this, but this could be worst so. Part of me want to see Nick go to her and grab her back, or hopefully she misses him and returns.

    Winston part was fun and very serious at same time. Assumption is bad, and on top of that no listening, very bad.

  • gpgurl50 Jan 10, 2013

    I really liked the episode. Not only was watching Nick and Jess get high fun, watching Schmidt and a secretly reluctant Winston try to get high was also fun.

  • Gilda Jan 10, 2013

    Angie wasnt around long enough to form any attachment. So i didnt really care. :/
    Over all i found it to be a fun episode. I loved the winston storyline this week, also like the fact that he is getting fun story lines and isnt just the token black guy in the background (which i thought his character was becoming, based on the season 1 eps).
    I think the best line was from shmidt about how they should let "Winston's black-light shine"

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