New Girl "Table 34" Review: Surviving the Morning After
It’s like Nick said: Everything’s back to normal on New Girl, or at least that's the case on the surface. Dr. Sam was super cool about Nick and Jess kissing as part of True American, but once he found out they'd smooched for realsies after the game ended, he was less happy-go-lucky about things and more it's-not-you-it's-you about ending his relationship with Jess. The jury's still out on whether or not that was conveniently sudden of him, but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to their star-crossed love taking up an excess of screen time to die its slow, but certain, death. However: Taylor Swift, boo? That’s your coping music? Jess, you can do so much better.
Winston revelled in his rediscovered mojo after hooking up with that chick from the Disney Channel last week and his confidence soared when the host of an Indian arranged marriage convention singled him out from the herd to keep him all to herself. Sure, she was totally creepy, but she responded well to Winston’s “arranged bang” substitute—which is another point in his favor because it meant that he read a woman well enough to give her what she wanted. Epic win!
And finally, Schmidt’s ongoing pursuit of Cece came to a head when he got the gang together to infiltrate her arranged marriage party and stop her from claiming a brown husband of her very own. Dressed like a bad Mike Myers impersonation, Schmidt tried to do things Cece’s way, with the ice breakers and the speed dating, but the system worked to keep them apart. Schmidt ended up with quite a following of wannabe Mrs. Schmidttys while Cece, due to her resume and the responses she offered on the pre-conference questionnaire, ended up at the reject table—the episode-titling number 34—with Nick. And weirdly enough, Jess and Schmidt ended up sitting together. Or maybe not so weirdly; it was a very self-aware night on New Girl. Nick and Cece are polar opposites. She’s a successful model, he’s a trainwreck with anger issues. They’re both impulsive, though, and as Cece pointed out, they both have a history of hurting people with their decisions. Schmidt and Jess, meanwhile, are thoughtful. They plan things out and they like things a certain way. They’re both kind of neurotic.
Nick confronted Jess and apologized for the kiss, claiming that it meant nothing—which is total B.S. and Jess called him on it. It was too late to save Sam/Jess from sinking, but after a bottle of wine and a good long cry, Jess admitted that she didn’t like Sam’s morning fistbump habit. It’s the little things that can make or break a relationship, you know? Also big things: Earlier, she'd admitted to Cece that she saw space and time move when Nick kissed her. SPACE. AND. TIME.
But after witnessing the destruction his impulsive move wrought, and knowing Winston’s fear that a Nick/Jess hook-up has the potential to ruin the entire living situation at the loft, moving forward, Nick seems perfectly willing to panic-moonwalk himself away from a potential relationship with Jess and let everything revert to its previous state. They’ll pine from afar and carefully dance around the issue until someone slips up again. The ball’s in Jess’s court, if anywhere.
I think, with all the ice breakers at the conference, and the way they revealed Jess to be compatible with Nick, New Girl's writers were trying to make it pretty explicit that Jess and Nick are meant to be our COUPLE. I don't know that they can really "go there" yet, though. But I also know that personally, I'll get bored if the show keeps dangling it. It's weird, because I still love last week's episode but I'm nervous about the position it puts the show in for the long run.
However, there IS precedent for these things to boomerang: Jess rationalized her way out of pursuing Nick by pointing out his habit of breaking things (whereas Sam “fixes things you don’t even know are broken”) just like Cece talked herself out of Schmidt earlier in the season, citing his late (and drunken!) arrival at their getting-back-together date and general Schmidttiness as reasons to run far, far away. But despite finding herself flung back into the realm of desirability after a heartfelt Ode to her Awesomeness from Schmidt, Cece ultimately returned to the love guru himself and all was right with the world.
C’mon, Jess. Make a play.
What did you think of this episode?
– One-liner of the night: “I’m a man, Jessica. Pink robes are my catnip.” —Nick
– Cece’s “Whaaaaaaaaaat?!” leading into the opening credits was great.
– The Jess/Sam break-up: too soon? Too convenient?
– How do you think this episode "handled" the aftermath of the kiss with regard to where Nick/Jess can feasibly be as a couple? Was "Table 34" a good way to get New Girl back to will-they-won't-they sitcom basics after subverting our expectations by having them kiss each other halfway through Season 2? Or did you want to see one or both of them admit their feelings more honestly?
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