I had mixed feelings about "Clavado En Un Bar", the first new New Girl of 2014. While it made me chuckle at times (and that has barely happened during this disjointed season) and strayed away from making Jess and Nick's relationship the focal point, it still tied things up a little too tidily -- even by sitcom standards -- and relied on way too many flashbacks. Granted, this is a show that uses flashbacks almost to a fault, but unless it uses them in as stellar a way as in the Season 2 episode, "Virgins," it can feel as lazy and uninspired a trope as a clip show.
Last night's episode found Jess at a crossroads in her career when she's offered a gig at a children's museum and is left to ponder whether she can leave her passion for teaching behind. (After all, she still loves it, even if her school is a mess and she has taught some of the future Madoffs of America.) This ultimately leads the entire gang to reflect about their career choices and makes some of their own changes. (Oh yeah, and Coach was there, too.) By the end of the episode, no less than three characters had either left their jobs, or laid the groundwork for a new career completely without giving it a second thought or having any real consequences. No wonder we all want to live as characters in sitcoms. Here are the do's and don'ts of "Clavado En Un Bar":
Do: Find creative ways to describe Scotch
In the words of Schmidt, it has hints of, "cedar, vanilla, tabacky, hunting, shooting, fishing, fatherhood, bonding, sadness, please don't leave me."
Don't: Make Winston such a quitter
It's not like I was attached to Winston's current job (in fact, it took me a few moments to remember what it was) but the whole Winston-looking-for-work thing has been done to death on this show. Romance doesn't work for Winston, basketball flashbacks don't work for Winston and various career paths don't work for Winston. It's all kind of a bummer. But hey, at least he's not even remotely as useless as Coach (sorry, Ernie), whose primary function is to randomly pop up and make jokes about nicknames and timing things.
Do: Have discussions, at length, about A League of Their Own
I could have listened to Nick, Jess, Cece and Kevin97 discuss the 1992 sports/war/female bonding film classic for the entirety of this episode. Sure, Nick's line to Jess that "The hard is what makes it good" was lifted directly from the movie, but in the words of Jimmy Dugan, "That's good advice!"
Don't: Keep relying on Fat Schmidt
Fat Schmidt pops up a lot on New Girl. Like, way more than Fat Monica ever did on Friends. And really, all Fat Schmidt is used for (other than a sight gag) is to remind us that Schmidt actually used to be this caring, sweet guy. (He was a volunteer candy striper!) He also, apparently happened to be one hell of a Christmas tree salesman ("For a Jewish giant, I had a knack for carrying Christmas trees") and that memory sparks Schmidt's interest in going back in to sales, which could be something exciting and new, but Fat Schmidt sure isn't anymore.
Do: If you have a good idea write it down and/or execute it
Nick Miller's pals really underestimate/ignore him, but if you listen to him, the man's got some good ideas (like replacing booze with tea water... or, if you're going to get all fancy here, tea.) And okay, some not-so-good ideas (spaghetti sandwiches sound legitimately disgusting.) Still, the guy is worth listening to. More on that in a bit.
Don't: Give Cece the same job as Nick
While Cece has always been the most detached from the group (though Coach is quickly climbing the ranks) it makes little sense to give her the same job as Nick, other than to make her a bigger part of the show. Cece's complaints about her career as a model (apparently she can't find work as a knockout thirtysomething) feel as out-of-left-field as the knee-jerk decision to turn her into a crappy bartender. That said, out of all of the flashbacks from this episode, I liked the one of young Cece and young Jess studying together at school the best.
Do: Listen to the entirety of Nick's stories
Nick may be just a bartender (the world's oldest profession, aside from prostitution) but he's got one hell of a backstory. Turns out, Nick had passed the bar exam, he just ultimately found more happiness behind a bar and stayed there. Nick knew -- better than anyone else in the whole group -- to follow your true passion. It's all pretty profound for a guy who has some pretty impure principal fantasies. Oh right, so then because of that epiphany/guidance from Nick, Jess decides to turn down the higher-paying museum gig to stay at her school, and then decides she is going to vie to be the new principal.
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