New Girl "The Captain" Review: Fifty Shades of Jessica Day
Arr, mateys! In the wake of his dual break-up with Elizabeth and Cece, Schmidt vowed to exact revenge on Nick and Jess and returned to his nefarious douchebag ways (teach me, oh great one!) with the very best and brutal kind of TV warfare: psychological. An innocent one-month anniversary cake was designed to send Nick into a doubt spirals, frustrating Jess and forcing her to turn to Dr. Schmidtty, who claimed to have a PhD in Nick Miller. Despite the initial unfortunate results of Jess's collaboration with the not-so-good doctor, let it not be said that Schmidt isn't an expert in all things Nick. And that was the problem—for his poor victims, anyway.
It seems New Girl has made it a priority, and a sort of twisted game, to see how many tired, old, eye-roll-inducing sitcom tropes it can cram into an episode that still manages to be AMAZING. From Schmidt's love triangle to this week's blender-omits-valuable-information schtick—these aren't antics that we've never seen before somewhere else. The blender's role in the mis-education of Jessica Day could easily have been replaced by a bad phone connection, a noisy construction site, a stereo, whatever. The manner in which information was kept from the audience with regard to exactly what the Captain is didn't really matter, although Schmidt's slightly unhinged smoothie offering to Jess was a perfect encapsulation of the domesticated terror that Schmidt does so well. Very Mommie Dearest. Very nice.
New Girl has proven time and time again that at its core, it's about more than just the laughs. Douchebag Schmidt returned and Douchebag Schmidt was amazing, but Douchebag Schmidt was a defense mechanism that was engaged in order to hide how truly hurt Schmidt was by the messy endings to his relationships with Cece and Elizabeth. We've all been there: sad and single and surrounded by roommates in lurve. Even if the significant others don't officially share a lease, like Nessy does, it sure feels like it, right? And you desperately want to set the happy couple on fire, right? No? Just me? Okay.
So much of New Girl's humor hinges on absurdity: Winston and his cat brothel, Nick and Jess's Mexico adventures, Schmidt and... well, Schmidt. But New Girl's absurdity is a weirdly—and delightfully—relatable, and it prevents the show from falling into the trap of being too crazy, too random, too bizarre. New Girl isn't about Jess's quirkiness or Nick's weirdness or Winston's increasing creepiness—it's about these fully realized characters who happen to be quirky, weird and creepy. They're people. I'm a freaking weirdo and so are you and New Girl knows it and uses it against us to get the lulz.
...except for when there are no lulz. Like when Schmidt left what we can assume was some kind of apology letter to Cece and she used it to dispose of her gum. I guess he didn't send one to Elizabeth. I guess that "OMG WHICH ONE???" decision wasn't so hard after all.
Schmidt's plan to destroy Jess and Nick by exploiting their inability to communicate also backfired when they sucked it up and figured out how to talk about their relationship like adults. What was meant to tear them apart inadvertently strengthened their bond—except that now, the roles have been reversed, and sometimes even the touchy-feeling chatty Jess just wants to shut up and have the sex.
And sometimes Winston just wants everyone to shut up and let his cat have the sex. His heart was in the right place, but I think someone needs to stage an intervention.
What did you think of "The Captain?"
NOTES FROM THE DOUCHEBAG JAR
– One-liner of the night: "Well, at least the sun managed to get up." That was cruel, Jess. And filthy. <3
– Schmidt WOULD have founded a Billy Zane fan club in the '90s. Zaniacs!
– Lol @ "Groundhog Day situation."
– "I've never seen this sober before." We've all had those moments, Jess. It's okay.
– Winston's Nessy survival kit was pretty great—based on what we saw. What else do you think was in there?
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