New Girl "Clavado en un Bar" Review: Re-Launch II

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Jan 08, 2014

New Girl S03E11: "Clavado en un Bar"

Oh New Girl, how do you win your admirers back after an abrupt holiday hiatus that followed such a lackluster beginning of the season

Flashbacks. Bitches love flashbacks. 

It would be easy to accuse New Girl of plying us with a time-tested gimmick—after all, who doesn't love seeing Schmidt in a fat suit? Even sucky episodes featuring Fat Schmidt are instantly rendered less sucky with his goofy, neurotic presence. We haven't had a new New Girl since before Thanksgiving (I KNOW, RIGHT?!) and I doubt that such a long, unceremonious hiatus paired with a premiere steeped in guaranteed crowd-pleasers was an accident. That was some shrewd planning... and solid writing. Welcome back, New Girl! I missed you!

"Clavado en un Bar" was a fast-paced episode that featured absolutely nothing related to New Girl's more serialized bits, which was great, because the main storyline this season has been pretty hit or miss with Nessy getting occasionally (I DON'T EVEN WANT TO SAY IT) annoying and the fallout from Schmidt's botched love triangle lasting forever and ever and ever. In fact, "Clavado en un Bar" almost achieved bottle episode status, with the majority of the action taking place in Nick's bar and featuring only our main cast as they tried to talk Jess into taking one career path over another as a clock literally ticked down to decision-making time. The result was an episode that managed to avoid distraction and really dig into the meat of who Jess, Schmidt, Winston, Nick, Coach, and Cece are. Every now and then, a show just needs one of those episodes. 

And who are they, exactly? 

There was never any real question of which job Jess would choose, but the revelation that Cece considers herself to be Jess's first student—and the fact that Cece was the success story Jess chose to cling to when her certainty was shaken—was a nice touch, particularly for bringing Cece back into the fold. I'm still a firm believer that Cece/Schmidt has a place in New Girl's future, but New Girl itself has made it crystal clear that there's no hurry to get back to the status quo with those two. That's fine, but the first half of this season featured an obvious lack of Cece, and even when she was around, she just didn't get to do very much beyond avoiding Schmidt. In short: Aging model/bartender Cece has a lot of potential. While nearly everyone else in "Clavado en un Bar" seemed to find a sort of peace with who they are, Cece's career was essentially rebooted.

Winston also opted for a re-branding by quitting his job once he realized that he's never made a single decision for himself in his life. This will probably backfire for at least the next episode or two, but the current plights of Cece and Winston aren't necessarily negatives. People reinvent themselves all the time, and for a variety of reasons. Starting over doesn't have to be a low point—especially for Winston, who actually had legitimate reasoning for ditching the day job. 

Even those who were presented as firmly (and happily) planted in their current careers showed signs of mild discontent. Schmidt has worked his way up the ladder so that he's making spreadsheets instead of shivering his ass off selling Christmas trees to the masses... but it's clear that he's a born salesman who once found delight in getting that random schmuck "into a spruce." Nick ditched the prestige of a law career to tend bar, but he still felt compelled to show Jess that he passed the California bar exam to prove that he didn't quit because he couldn't hack it. Nick loves being a bartender, but doesn't love the negative connotations that go along with it. 

The message was clear, and for New Girl, timely: People often reinvent themselves based on priorities, opportunities, and values, but the squishy pink center tends to stay the same, and that's the most important part. In a way, TV shows do the exact same thing. New Girl has done the exact same thing—they even called the Season 2 premiere "Re-Launch," and the New Girl's second season was very different from the show that Fox originally launched. The third season has struggled to reach the bar that was raised so high in Season 2, but now it's a shiny new year full of shiny new potential and at their ooey-gooey cores, New Girl's cast of characters are still the same bunch of weirdos we grew to love, and that's the important part. 


– One-liner of the night: Schmidt ruled nearly the entire episode with his declaration that "When I think of teachers, I think of two things: Jessica Day and pornography where the characters are teachers," but then Winston quit his job, and I'm paraphrasing, because most of what made it so great was Lamorne Morris's delivery and the fact that Winston said it, "Things got weird. Things got racial. I used a lot of swear words. Then things got sexual." I mean, it's Winston. Can you imagine? Isn't it amazing? 

– LOL @ Nick trying to give career advice. You know what, though? Sometimes the screw-ups give the best advice. Por ejemplo: My BFF called me when her little brother graduated from college and begged me to talk him out of freelancing. She knew that with her bourgeois salaried position, benefits, and actual tangible retirement plan, that he would tell her to go DIAF. MY FAILURE MAKES ME VALUABLE, OKAY? 

– Excellent use of "Gangsta's Paradise."

– How do we feel about Bartender Cece?

– And potentially Principal Jess? 

– Awww Nick and the tea!

– "I don't volunteer. I'm a man. I have a job. In marketing."

– The debate over A League of Their Own sparked a similar debate in this house: What are your thoughts? 

– OMG I love A League of Their Own

– Sooo "Clavado en un Bar" is a song. About being stuck in a bar. It was at the end of the episode... And it's pretty catchy

What'd you think of "Clavado en un Bar"? What are your hopes and dreams for the rest of the season?

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  • No1Slayerette Jan 10, 2014

    This wasn't a bad episode, but the major developments to come from it (Cece's now a bartender and working with Nick, Winston quit his job, and Jess setting her sites on a principal position) all seem a little abrupt and I felt that, except in the acception of Winston, all of these changes were spur of the moment decisions that weren't really grounded in the events that occurred in the episode.

    That being said, this is quite obvious development for Winston and Cece,, two characters I've constantly bemoaned that the New Girl writers don't know how to use, so here's hoping this is a step in the right direction for them.

    Nick was great in this episode, I love it when he can bring something to the show that is heartfelt and meaningful that almost makes him look like the voice of reason. Coach is not easy to warm too, that's for sure, and it felt weird that yes wouldn't turn to Cece first for guidance and that she was sort of shoehorned in at the end of the episode.

    I loved how ridiculous the first school Jess taught as was, and yes, that was excellent use of 'Gangsta's Paradise'.

  • JesssLeee Jan 09, 2014

    I absolutely love this show. The characters are just so funny and unique. I mean the facial expressions of Jess and Nick. The show never fails to entertain me.

  • pa-tan Jan 09, 2014

    Damn I want the scene of Winston quitting his job! please New Girl? pretty please?

  • Grumpyclown Jan 09, 2014

    It was a step in the right direction, hopefully it continues

  • JulioRodriguez0 Jan 09, 2014

    Love the use of a Mana song in this episode. It was a good episode after a streak of bad ones.

  • RachaelChan Jan 09, 2014

    Only half watched it while at work, and didn't get it at all. I think I need to watch it again.

  • JesssLeee Jan 09, 2014

    I agree. I have found it's a show you have to watch from beginning to end with no multi-tasking. I think I will be re-watching this weeks episode myself.

  • irehawk20 Jan 08, 2014

    Cece looked 100% attractive in her turquoise skirt at the bar scene!

  • PsicNina Jan 08, 2014

    The thing that stuck with me the most was Nick's dreadlocks on his first year of college.... hahaha so good.

  • gzeigler3 Jan 08, 2014

    So Nick is a lawyer...A FREAKING LAW-YER!!! WOW...

    Bartender Cece, surprisingly, seems just about right for this show. Principal Jess...not so much. But hey, such a position could produce great New Girl foolishness. So, I'm on board.

    I love Fat Schmidt. He looks like a big cuddly teddy bear.

    And yes, MaryAnn, screw-ups know what not to do and what paths not to take from experience.

  • MrToohip Jan 08, 2014

    I really enjoyed this episode. I had a smile on my face the whole time while I watched it.

    "The call is coming from inside the house." That is the second reference to the classic Canadian thriller Black Christmas I have heard this week.

    My favourite line of the night was Schmidt telling Nick, "Your job could be done by a vending machine."

    Schmidt looks awesome in the Tour de France collection. And the grin on his face while Winston explains his career choice of basketball was priceless. To me, it was one actor admiring the talent of another.

    Nick's hair in first year law school. Yikes!

    This episode took me back to earlier episodes that were set in the loft and the laughs were driven by the quirkiness of the characters. That is essential New Girl to me.

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