New Girl "Table 34" Review: Surviving the Morning After

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Feb 06, 2013

New Girl S02E16: "Table 34"

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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  • joy9585 Feb 11, 2013

    Am I the only one that doesn't find Dr. Sam to be a douche? Or that his break-up was "conveinent" or "sudden"? He announced his commitment to Jess, and affirmed it during the cabin trip when he turned down the stripper while drunk on absenth. We don't know what exactly Jess said while she supposedly admitted to the kiss during the "speed dating" portion of the night. It could've been numerous different things- ranging from "I think I'm really having feelings for a different guy" to "So...Nick kissed me. And I didn't hate it." or anywhere in between. I didn't feel that Sam was being either hasty or a douche. If a girl had been in the same position,we would've bee chastising her for NOT breaking up with the guy! That being said, I love Dam and I love the actor, so I do wish he could've lasted a little longer. Sam sort of karate chopping Nick in the neck was funny, and then he told him he to treat it- again adding to his coolness, and not-a-douche, quality. I really find it hard to believe that a character would break up with his/her significant other because he/she essentially cheated on him/her! If Sam had cheated on Jess, even if it were just one kiss, would you all be saying the same thing?

    I'll leave you with one last question: if Sam had been a main character and Jess a minor, guest-star character, would you still be calling Sam the jerk, or Jess the one for cheating on him?

  • moviemanic Feb 11, 2013

    I love that they threw us a bone and finally had some fire between Jess and Nick. I want them to get together but I'm willing to wait it out. I think they'd be hilarious together, can't wait to see what happens.

  • JayAtkinson Feb 10, 2013

    Unfortunately, time and busy-ness prevents me from doing a full and eloquent review in the style of the perpetually-brilliant FringePsychotic(!!), but I really enjoyed this episode, forming a great double-header with last week's edition. I have already stolen the panic-moonwalk for my own....

    I'm not sure I agree with Sam's decision to bail on the relationship being hasty on his part. Being a stickler for show and character history on a pretty general/generally obsessive basis, I recall he revealed his womanising and non-committal player ways were due to a 'girl really messing him up'. Jess was the first girl since then that he had formed a bond with and with whom he once again willing to open up and commit to. Remember also his display of loyalty even when high on absinthe. Given that, I don't think it can be classed as strictly convenient and rushed that he would flee at this sign of betrayal.

    On another note, I am starting to wonder if time and space didn't actually shift during Nick and Jess' kiss. Did nobody else find it weird that this was the morning after the night before....not only their interlude, but Schmidt begging CeCe to declare her lingering love for him so he could 'move on' and sleep with a bar random, only to wake up in the morning, slip into his Indian outfit and declare that he has been planning for week to win CeCe back that day? Either the continuum was actually knocked out of balance (allow future Nick to travel back perhaps?!) or he now owes a serious amount to the douchebag jar!

  • NicholasCampb Staff Feb 09, 2013

    Future Nick told Present Nick that he was going to have to apologize to Jess for something. I don't think it was breaking up her relationship with Sam. I have a feeling whatever he's going to apologize for is something he can't panic moonwalk his way out of.

  • mac94102 Feb 09, 2013

    TIME AND SPACE!!! Those crazy kids will work it out eventually.

  • tv_gonzo Feb 08, 2013

    Given that both Nick and Jess are very bad at dealing with their feelings i wouldn't have expected for one of them admitting anything to themselves, let alone to each other. I absolutely loved the panic moonwalk.

  • anneso129 Feb 07, 2013

    I want them together really... but the akward relationship is really funny and if they get together it could be a little bit the end of the show.... or it is the new chandler/monica ??? I think it is too early for them to be together!

  • ChanX95 Feb 07, 2013

    It can't happen just yet cause its a little too soon but if they drag that shit out they'll end up writing themselves into a corner. The issue of unresolved sexual tension can either make or break a show - Moonlighting, Bones, Castle have all had the issue of dragging stuff out for too long and their response has in every case been less than stellar.

  • shootingstar609 Feb 07, 2013

    I feel like if they got together right now it would be because they kissed one time for the heck of it and now Jess broke up with Sam because of it. There are definitely feelings there between the two of them, but neither of them is ready for this relationship right now.

  • PaulaGonzalez Feb 06, 2013

    I really liked how the writers handled this situation. Nick and Jess are not ready for each other just yet, and I knew they had to be awkward and weird and avoidy. Nonetheless, they still acknowledge their feelings, their whole dance with the "admit it meant something to you - no, admit it meant something to YOU" is pretty much self-explanatory (it meant something to both of them). And a few lines thrown here and there ("I saw through space and time for a minute. - It was a fairy tale kiss, it was the best kiss of your life") clearly demonstrate that that kiss is definitely in both of their minds. So, yeah, I'm kinda happy they are not together YET. The show has done very well in showing a slow but steady progression in their relationship, and in order to continue down that road, Nick and Jess have to try to be friends again. What I'm actually excited about is the fact that Schmidt hasn't learned about the kiss just yet, and I'm dying to see his reaction, he'll probably make a huge deal about it, ensuing more awkwardness.

  • shootingstar609 Feb 07, 2013

    I didn't even think of Schmidt and Winston not knowing about about the kiss yet. They'll probably find out at an time that is inconvenient for both Jess and Nick. Probably being when either Nick or Jess is not present when the kiss is found about and awkwardness will ensue when the one has to find out that someone else found out. It will be good :-)

  • PaulaGonzalez Feb 07, 2013

    Nick already told Winston about it, the only one still in the dark is Schmidt.

  • radiumgirl Staff Feb 06, 2013

    OMG Schmidt HASN'T learned about it yet! You're right! I can't wait for that. :D

    I really like how the writers are handling it so far too. The awkward is there. The awkward HAS to be there, definitely, but it's not an annoying, drawn out awkward.

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