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New Girl S03E20: "Mars Landing"

New Girl, what have you done

What started off as a crazy round of True American followed the game's tried-and-true pattern of insanity and borderline alcohol poisoning before thrusting its players into some awkward positions—hangovers, mostly. The thing is, the hangover is almost always worse than the drunken antics that caused it, and that was absolutely the case in "Mars Landing." Hangovers make people weepy and irritable. They lower inhibitions, but not in the fun way, because they encourage honesty without the understanding that sometimes, people say silly things after crushing a bottle of gin in ten seconds flat (it occurred to me this week that True American must be really freaking expensive to play). 

Nick and Jess felt the first sparks of their relationship during the drunken haze of a game of True American, and while the blissful ease of a shiny new pairing has kept them drunk and happy for the better part of New Girl's third season, they've been slowly sobering up in recent weeks, finally reaching for the Advil in "Mars Landing" when Jess soberly announced that if she was always honest with Nick, they'd never stop fighting. 

Even in the face of new love, it took a lot of effort for Nick and Jess to lower their inhibitions enough to fully embrace their budding relationship, and while I'm personally not looking forward to the impending cycle of on-again-off-again this break-up will almost certainly start, I'll concede that New Girl is certainly taking a realistic path. Relationships are hard. Nick and Jess haven't exactly had it easy in the early months of their coupledom, but their problem-solving methods have occasionally been unhealthy, particularly with regard to Jess's occasional quests to change Nick and his own willingness to let her.

It was inevitably going to blow up once the buzz wore off, and New Girl opted to let that happen in both the literal and figurative sense. Jess's hungover status, paired with the stress of sleeping through her godson's birthday party and Nick's documented resistance to change, created the perfect storm for the S.S. Nessy to take on water and sink. 

Fantasies for the future are often a touchy subject in a relationship, even when both parties agree on what the future should look like; having such a detailed and specific image of what your shared life should look like in three, five, 10, or 20 years can become quite the stressor. What if things don't work out? In "Mars Landing," the weird wisdom of Nick Miller countered Jess's idealistic vision when they argued about their future, covering everything from Nick's career goal of becoming a long-haul space trucker to the merits of building on Earth versus Mars to Nick and Jess's differing philosophies on education to the question of whether Nick and Jess are actually obligated to name their first-born Reginald Veljohnson after the actor who played the dad on Family Matters because Nick once made the mistake of betting he could flip a giant pancake. And when Jess freaked out because Nick didn't have a plan (let along a plan that lined up with her's), Nick countered with, "You create a plan for your life and then crazy things get thrown at you and that is the closest thing I have to a plan." 

Between the two of them, that's actually probably the healthier approach, but Jess's take is also understandable. It can be worrisome when you find yourself in a relationship that you can actually see tearing at the weak spots. New Girl did a great job of illustrating that Nick and Jess's break-up was a shared responsibility, and that it came about due to a mutual feeling of incompatibility. Jess is allowed to have her fantasies, and Nick is allowed to have different ones, or none at all. The strength of a relationship is rooted in how those differences are handled. Right now, Jess and Nick just don't have the strength to deal; it's easier just to be friends with awkward sexual tension. 

Elsewhere, some hot chicks moved into the building and Coach, Winston, and Schmidt dragged themselves out of their hungover stupors to schmooze and help the ladies schlep their stuff with the understanding that their good deed would be reciprocated in the form of at least one one-night-stand apiece. The situation didn't end well for anyone, but there was a great moment when Winston saw that Schmidt and Coach had smashed some of the women's belongings out of frustration and irritability (which seemed a little extreme and out-of-character for them, but okay) and totally threw them under the bus, while somehow also managing to be the bigger person. Basically, he brought out the brutal honesty and told their new neighbors that yes, he was also totally just helping in order to get into one of their pants, but even when the likelihood of that happening seemed low, he was going to help anyway because he was just a nice guy like that. Aww. Winnie. (Of course, I'm not going to argue that his confession may've also been a calculated effort to further elevate himself above the competition.)

Cece also drunk-texted her "child bride," Buster, and while I'm admittedly amused that her errant messages were actually the least-traumatic aspect of the gang's night of binge-drinking, but that's just the way these things pan out sometimes. In the meantime, what do you think the future holds for Nessy? And how is that whole sharing-a-room-but-not-being-a-couple thing going to pan out?


– "Drink up, Checkers, forget what you saw." —Winston as Richard NIxon.

– Are the Ellis Island rounds of True American new? I don't recall them from previous games. 

– I'm so glad Nick and Jess's break-up wasn't bitter or anything. They presented some hard criticisms of one another, and the fact that they didn't get defensive and mean says a lot about the potential for their relationship to work... eventually. 

What'd you think of "Mars Landing"? Do you think New Girl's decision to break up Nick and Jess was a good one? 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/5/2015

Season 4 : Episode 22

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