New Girl "Cooler" Review: ALL. OF. THE. FEELS.
IT HAPPENED. You guys, it happened. I didn’t really think it would. I’m a cynical bastard and I accept that. I thought the whole Nick/Jess kiss was some sneaky marketing tease and more hype than anything. Promos aren’t meant to be accurate depictions of the approaching story, you know? They’re meant to get you to tune in. So as far as I was concerned, there would be no kiss. If there was to be a kiss, it wouldn’t mean anything. It would be a joke. Jess’s relationship with Dr. Sam is going okay and New Girl isn’t desperate for ratings, which means there’s no rush to get the ol’ Jess/Nick train rolling at any meaningful speed.
But sometimes it’s really awesome-tastic to be wrong. This is one of those times.
The men geared up for a guys' night out that was blatantly dedicated to getting laid. Winston, Nick, and Schmidt are all single and sexually frustrated: Winston claimed he hadn't gotten any nookie since Labor Day. Choking his own chicken just wasn’t cutting it for Schmidt anymore. And Nick—having adopted the latest of his alter egos, “Trenchcoat Nick”—was just feeling uncharacteristically confident in his new frock, a ladies' trenchcoat that'd accidentally been delivered to the loft. It was flattering and roomy and he liked it, okay? Trenchcoat Nick does not allow his fashion choices to be dictated by gender expectations.
With Sam and Cece both busy for the evening, Jess was ready to take up the mantle of Nick’s best wingwoman, but as Nick explained, Jess is terrible at, uh, winging. Her track record of getting Nick laid is so unimpressive that he went as far as to declare her his “cooler,” an individual who either intentionally or unknowingly ruins their partner’s hot streak. Ouch, burn... freezer burn.
Jess resigned herself to a boring night full of cleaning the closet with Melon Nick—the silent, inanimate Nick alter ego that Nick himself finds creepy. What sounded like someone or something trying to get through the front door sent Jess scrambling for her phone to send an S.O.S. What’s up with sticking Jess in mortal peril all of a sudden, New Girl? J/K, it’s fine. We got a new round of True American out of it, complete with a “sexy new twist” devised by Jess to get Nick laid when her terror-filled game of phone tag forced the guys to relocate to the loft with their female pursuits. (It’s okay, Nick’s lady coat had gotten them all kicked out of the club earlier in the evening anyway.)
So things got weird, as they are wont to do during drinking games. Winston wandered off to learn the ways of the smoooooth operator with his single/not-single guru. Nick and Schmidt initially battled for the (sexual) favor of Holly, played by Brooklyn Decker of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue fame. Holly apparently gets off on sad men—yikes?—and it was a battle of the sob stories with Schmidt pulling out his Cece angst and Nick simply pointing out that he’s Nick—an existence that in and of itself is a perpetual sob story.
Jess did her part to lose the cooler label, manipulating the rules of True American to get Nick and his target behind the “Iron Curtain,” where they would be forced to kiss for the entertainment of the masses. The plan backfired when she and Nick wound up together and the drunken horde on the other side of the door determined that their cute little peck was a total cop out. The horde eventually grew to include Cece, her prospective-husband-of-the-week, and Dr. Sam as they all finally answered Jess’s distress calls from earlier in the episode, and can I just say that I know we’re supposed to be cheering for Nick here (and I totally am) but Sam really endeared himself to me when he was apprised of the kissing situation and instead of going all stereotypical jealous boyfriend, jumped right on the “KISS, YOU FOOLS” bandwagon. <3 him. <3 Nick more. But <3 him too.
It was actually a very smart move to make Dr. Sam a perfectly likeable and amusing character in his own right leading up to the great New Girl love triangle of Season 2. I typically hate love-triangle storylines. Hate them so hard. There's an entire chunk of Suits that is borderline unwatchable to me because the love-triangle hate runs so deep. There’s certainly still time for this storyline to become terrible, but for now, it’s off to a good start. Nick is The Chosen One, but Sam is an okay guy, and Jess is in a tough spot that isn’t at all of her own making, which is usually the problem with these triangular storylines: Someone is inevitably the bad guy.
If we want to make the argument that Nick should have just kissed Jess behind the Iron Curtain when it was just a game and it didn’t mean anything, we can, but I don’t want to because that isn’t the point of Nick’s gesture—not to mention I’m pretty sure the man is going to be wallowing in a mighty fine guilt trip over it the next time we see him. He didn’t want to kiss Jess without meaning it and he knew that to kiss her when it mattered would be out of line because Sam isn’t a bad guy and Jess isn’t unhappy with Sam and because Nick loves Jess, he’s willing to let her have what makes her happy—even if it doesn’t include him.
Nick lamented the loss of Trenchcoat Nick when the rightful owner of the coat claimed it, because Nick so rarely sees Default Nick as anyone worth celebrating. His alter egos let him enjoy being whatever kind of person he wants to be, doing whatever he wants to do, with little repercussion because everyone is in on the joke. Default Nick is good people though, and I like to think that once the drama surrounding that (really amazing) kiss plays out, Nick will see that for himself.
I also hope that this (best) kiss (ever) doesn’t lead to an excess of weirdness between Nick and Jess even though I accept that some awkwardness and angst is to be expected... but I love them and they’re perfect and I don’t want them to fight.
So pls don’t fight guys, love you, kthnx.
For the romantically inclined: What did you think of THE KISS? For the less-romantically inclined: How ‘bout that Zoey Deschanel spending half the episode wandering around in a bra? That was a cute bra.
– One-liner of the night: “It’s like a taffy pull on a hot summer day.” Schmidt on his difficulties with, uh, self-love.
– I know that the whole joke with True American is that it doesn’t make sense, but I felt like this time around, it was slightly more logical. I also have no idea what that means.
– Clinton Rules: PICK YOUR INTERN. Best addendum to the rule book or best addendum to the rule book?
– Jess freaking out about her Crips curtains. Priceless.
– How do you think Nick/Jess is going to play out from here?
– Schmidt and Cece kind of got overshadowed by all of the overwhelming Jess/Nick feels, but they had a moment when Cece lied/didn’t-really-lie about her feelings for Schmidt when Sad Girl started to doubt his tale of woe. Is there still hope for those two?
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