New Girl has never been a show that's tried to reinvent the sitcom wheel, but that doesn't make it any less special, nor does it make it any less funny than the comedies like Friends or Seinfeld that paved the way for it. Case in point: last night's episode "Double Date" featured plenty of sitcom tropes (restaurant seating woes, revealing shocking truths, double dates gone awry, love triangles gone even more awry) but still managed to be a hilarious, refreshing episode.
Much Ado About Winston
Aside from the Douchebag Jar, there may be no longer-running joke on New Girl than the character of Winston. Despite the talented Lamorne Morris' best efforts, the show's writers has never really given him an interesting story line, instead just making him into a total crazy person. But, you know what, the latter works. Much more than, say, his babysitting job or string of forgettable girlfriends. In "Double Date," Winston's role was to save a communal table at a hard-to-get restaurant for his paired-up pals. (Winston's only love connection right now is his stolen cat Furguson). Winston spent the bulk of the episode acting – surprise, surprise – like a crazy person by accidentally eating glass, arguing with the exasperated hostess and scaring off other patrons by eating their food and speaking in tongues. I know that holding a table for his friends with story lines and significant others isn't much better than the color blindness plot or being bad at puzzles, but Morris totally committed to it and made a sitcom trope work.
Double Date, Double Disaster
The minute Jess suggested she and her old man Nick go on a double date with Schmidt and Cece (she didn't know he was still also seeing Elizabeth), you knew it was going to be a disaster. And it was. Once Schmidt confessed to Nick and Nick immediately caved to Jess, it was a race against time and each other (at one point Schmidt tried to peg his infidelity on to Nick, saying he's cheating with a "much older, deeply Korean woman") to see who could tell Cece first and who could shield her from it. It all came to a head at the restaurant and Cece dumped him right on the spot. All that wasted effort for poor Winston!
A Heartbroken, But Human Schmidt
Schmidt was already so conflicted about dating two women he deeply cared about, but it all fell apart spectacularly, as expected. In addition to Cece dumping him in public, he came home to Elizabeth who also promptly broke up with him (and smashed a pie in his face) once she found out – via a call from Cece – what was going on. At the restaurant, Schmidt looked downright gutted and stumbled to find a proper apology or explanation (such as that because his mom is possibly a lesbian and because he used to be fat and now girls pay attention to him, he doesn't know what to do around women) but none of it worked. A defeated Schmidt asking for valet money from his friends was, perhaps, the most human moment Schmidt has ever had. But, back at the loft he circled back to cartoonish when he pegged his breakups to Nick and Jess (he claimed he was going to fix it, but he was far too scared to do that and needs someone to blame beside himself) and vowed to split them up.
The Best Nick and Jess Showdown…Ever?
Now, Nick and Jess have had some epic showdowns before, but the one in "Double Date" may have taken the cake. These two are still in the honeymoon phase and learning a lot about each other. (Jess, for instance, has a crackling sound in her arm from pumping her fists too hard at a Weird Al show). So when Schmidt made it his mission to tear them apart they figured they'd tell each other everything so there were no surprises. And boy, did they let it out. Among the gems: Jess is in the Green Party (a fact that is "so annoying" to Nick), she is afraid of "pears and pear-shaped people," she is banned from Lake Ontario, she wants to get a gun, she's not done growing and she's "weirdly good at volleyball." Not to be outdone, Nick told her he is "not convinced I know how to read; I've just memorized a lot of words," he thinks the moon landing is fake (which Jess strongly disagreed with), he's sexually attracted to ladybugs, he likes the Kilborn Daily Show best and he believes horses are from outer space. On the bright side, Jess agreed with that last one, so there's hope for these two maniacs yet!
Other Great Moments and One-Liners
- Schmidt's email password is "Smithereens."
- The flashback of Schmidt falling off the deck and Nick screaming "Oh noooo!"
- Winston's (failed) attempt to disguise his voice as Toni Morrison to get a dinner reservation.
- Jess knows "So many Spaceballs quotes."
- The return of Nick's terrible dancing!
- Nick has 10,000 minutes on his phone that bought back in 1999 and is still using.
- "You broke my heart, mail me my mouth guard." Elizabeth, like Merritt Wever, is a woman of few words, but effective ones.
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