New Girl "Exes" Review: Let's Be Friends

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Feb 05, 2014

New Girl S03E15: "Exes"

Oh man, randomly running into exes is the worst. I once spent half of a dinner hiding under the table of an admittedly not-terribly-nice restaurant, and even though Nick managed to avoid having to file a restraining order against Caroline—somehow—I feel Miller's pain. There's the initial shock of seeing them, then the futile hope that they didn't see you, then the panic when you realize they did, then the sheer terror when they're coming at you with a cement block and the crazy eyes. It derails a nice trip to the farmer's market real fast. 

But then there was Jess and Berkeley, the counterpoint of "Exes," the supposed ideal relationship between two mutually understanding former-lovers-turned-friends. Not gonna lie, I was initially a little peeved that they didn't get to retain their place at the top. I do believe that you can be friends with your exes. Some of your exes. Not the ones who require restraining orders, but the other ones. Maybe. 

Okay, fine, I'm friends with one of my exes and I really just wanted Jess and Berkeley to vindicate me with a positive, non-skeevy, exes-being-besties relationship on TV. It was too much to ask for, fine, I get it. 

"Exes" was still pretty great, though.

"Exes" was a nice example of a "meddling Jess" episode done right. Unlike the one where Jess essentially stole Nick's money and everyone was awful, "Exes" allowed Nick and Jess to grow together. Neither one of them was absolutely unfailingly correct about where they stood with regard to their respective exes. Nick needed to face Caroline in order to gain closure for himself and to provide it to her, but Jess also needed to take a hard ook at her own relationship with Berkeley and confirm that the closure they each thought they had at the time of their break-up still stood, that it still meant the same thing. Relationships change and evolve when you're an active part of them. You can't just point at some random blip in time and say, "No, see, five years ago we decided to just be friends and so therefore, we are just friends." 

I'm also not saying that Jess led Berkeley on, and I kind of hate that New Girl went there, especially since we know that Jess is a naturally (over)friendly and flirty character and in "Exes" itself, New Girl did a good job of establishing that Berkeley isn't really a douche, he's just unhappy with his marriage and saw Jess as a way out. (Okay, and he's kind of a douche.)

I also forgot that Schmidt never actually moved back into the loft, so his antics with Coach and Winston were a lulzy reminder that Jess and Nick aren't the only ones working some STUFF out in this second half of Season 3. Living alone is making Schmidt weird and creepy—weird enough that not only did he give Coach and Winston keys to his pad with the instructions to treat it like their own, but when that plan backfired and turned Schmidt's swanky loft into a den of sexual WTF-ery, Schmidt was rather okay with it. SOMEBODY HELP HIM. 

I love that, out of the three of them, Winston was the only one who got laid, because of course he did. Also: Did my eyes deceive me or was that Hamster Lady? HI HAMSTER LADY! <3

I'm sure it's hard to take the stage after Prince, but Adam Brody and "Exes" and the three Schmidttys' sexcapades next door put on a good show and continued to keep my enthusiasm for Tuesdays going, which is more than I'd hoped for back in the dark days of fall—may we never speak of them again. You know, unless plot forces us to remember that they existed. 


– "I'm a relatively good guy, but even I'm a sicko." Aren't we all?

– "Winnie the Bish!"

– Winston took the police department entrance exam. Any predictions on how he did? 

– On that note: Bad Cop/Bad Cop. And can we talk about Winston's amazing facial expressions for literally this entire episode?

– Va-dragon? Sure. Va-donkey? NO.

– Nick said he fell in love with Jess the minute she walked through the door. Awwww. I'm glad Jess was more honest, though. 

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  • bubbbaaa Apr 30, 2014

    I thought it was cool how they showed that "adults" while viewed by kids as knowing everything, are actually still lost and confused. And that everyone is still trying trying to find their way in life, even though kids view most adults as almost omniscent.

  • CT0760 Mar 05, 2014

    Saw the title of being friends with exes on the side and it made me think of a saying, (dont have exact words):

    "Being friends with an ex is like your mom telling you after your dog died that you can keep it..."

  • CharlieFurtek Feb 11, 2014

    Please give Adam Brody more work! Damn I miss The O.C.

  • chartah Feb 22, 2014

    As do I! :(

  • jjafargi Feb 07, 2014


  • vcivi Feb 07, 2014

    I have to say that this episode the EXES ruled it..instead of the standard characters of this show....Both of them were so funny...!!!
    Schmidt was so funny when he was eating his grapes and crying..poor thing...!!!

  • CaitlinRice Feb 06, 2014

    I'm friends with one ex, but we dated in like 6th grade when holding someone's hand was a big deal. We realized we worked WAY better as friends and that's what we've stayed. But that is the only one that I still talk to. I don't actively try and avoid the others but I don't go out of my way to make my presence known either.

    Again, this was New Girl taking a nice spin on a common sitcom situation and making it work for their show in a way that didn't feel completely forced.

    And our loveable douche is 100% back and that makes me very, very happy. :)

  • FoxZerro Feb 06, 2014

    Have you not been watching the show that have been calling Winston "Winnie the Bish" since about the second episode after coach returned, just a little surprised that it took like 8 weeks for it to make it into the Notes section...

    Also of course that was Bernie, ever since "Longest Night Ever" she and Winston have been a couple... as evidenced by her sitting next to him at the theatre on Jess' birthday. This is just the first time she's gotten some actual lines.

  • ErinSchmidtmann Feb 06, 2014

    I definitely heard "Bad Cop/Black Cop"...

  • mochadude Feb 06, 2014

    i also heard "Bad Cop/Black Cop"

  • alyxkay Feb 06, 2014

    Shall I compare Caroline to a Summer's day? No, because a Summer's day is not a BITCH.

  • nunopires100 Feb 06, 2014

    I liked to see the connection jess and her ex had, showed a different part of jess, of course he would still like her, just by having the connection, turns to be important. i liked to see that nick told caroline the truth, and finally told jess what he wanted to say from the start. it was a good ep! :D

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