S1E11: This episode of New Girl brings up a rather delicious and until tonight, undiscovered notion: Lizzie Caplan is the anti Zooey Deschanel. This week, the guest star hanging around as Nick’s girlfriend (or whatever) proves that she’s like fire to Deschanel’s little daisy-shaped ice cubes. Julia (Caplan) is spending a lot more time at the apartment, which makes Jess want to befriend her and Schmidt angry about all the extra estrogen in the atmosphere. This leads to a face-off between Jess and Julia that isn’t entirely funny, but it’s pretty entertaining. And then there’s the bonus effect of Schmidt’s douche one-liners. Sure, Winston tries to edge his way in there with a storyline about his lack of game, but his character is just so (I hate to say it) boring.
“Blah blah, yawn, yes, I use sculpting chut-en-ney.” –Schmidt
Because I love little Schmidty so much, let’s start with him first. He is tormented by the amount of women constantly in the apartment, though mostly because he sees their presence as the culprit for his constantly damp towel. Because everyone knows estrogen prevents terry cloth from drying properly. Then, Jess begins parading Cece and her lesbian friend who I don’t exactly recall meeting around the apartment, which only drives Schmidt more crazy. Finally, he breaks it down for us (but we could have guessed): he’s still after Cece, he now knows Jess will never submit to his “charms,” and he just looks at Jess’ lady-loving friend as a treasure trove of information. He though living with Jess would mean more sex, but it only means wet towels.
And to drive home his hilarious overreaction, Jess suggests they get towel bars so they dry properly. Boom. I did enjoy the chuckle-worthy twist that Schmidt and Nick have been using the same towel and that’s actually why it was damp. It’s a little much that Nick doesn’t care – or wash towels or understand that sharing underwear isn’t a thing. If you’re reading this and you’re a man, please tell me that isn’t a thing so I can sleep at night.
“So far, Nick Miller’s list of fears is: Sharks, tap water, real relationships.” –Jess
“And blueberries.” –Nick
Nick is very clear about not labeling his relationship with Julia, but then Jess gets involved. First, she tries to befriend her and leans on Julia for help in escaping a traffic ticket. Jess does all her usual nice things for Julia, like bringing her a blanket and a homemade cupcake, but Julia is not amused. They look over her traffic ticket, which has a photo of her running a red light (she was trying to help a bird) and the court date she missed (her ex-boyfriend didn’t send her the ticket on time). Julia says she’ll try, but unless a judge buys into Jess’ “whole thing” she’s not going to win. And while I do appreciate the joke about Deschanel’s “big, beautiful eyes like a scared baby,” Caplan becomes unlikable really quickly (which is difficult because she’s generally pretty awesome). To top it off, she uses the occasion to try to figure out if Nick is bringing home lots of girls. Jess wisely decides it’s not right for her to answer that, but then Nick comes home and Julia bolts to his room. She says Julia doesn’t like her, but Nick brushes it off.
Of course, Jess’ girlfriends all agree and we’re forced to hear about the “Jess, you rock a lot of polka dots” comment that ended a friendship. Girls, we’re petty, but please tell me we’re not that petty. The “answer” is that Julia is intimidated by Jess’ girlieness, and I’m sorry but wearing a hat made of ribbons is not typical girl behavior; that’s a tendency of a woodland creature made completely out of candy canes who’s trapped in the body of a living Cupie doll. Jess tries to explain girl-fighting to Nick to prove that Julia doesn’t like her, but Nick insists Julia’s just so upfront, and doesn’t play girlie games. Jess then says she asked her about whether or not Nick is dating other girls. Ooh, ooh, I spy a girlie move! Plus, Julia said she didn’t need to label it: classic girl move to see if a guy wants a relationship. This freaks Nick out because it’s not easy anymore and because he’s – SHOCKER – a commitment-phobe. Really? The guy who wouldn’t finish law school or pick a career is a commitment-phobe? No way. Julia drops by Nick’s bar, and he confronts Julia about asking Jess about his potential other girls and Julia says she asked because she’s sleeping around and she feels guilty, this descends into a one-upmanship battle to see who’s sluttier (which is something Caplan is pretty great at – see: Party Down), but it’s obvious they’re both lying.
“I had a lot of endorsements, but that was probably the biggest endorsement of all my endorsements.” –Winston
The guys decide Winston needs to get laid because he starts dancing around like an idiot with Jess – yes, because choosing to throw all his efforts into getting laid generally makes a man act LESS like an idiot. He calls up a girl he slept with before he left for Latvia, talks about himself all night and then asks her where they’re going to do it. Needless to say, she is not amused – or tempted. He suddenly realizes he doesn’t have game and that’s he’s only been successful in the past because of basketball. Winston tries again with his former booty call and she tells him off, but he turns it around by finally being honest. He says he’s bad at this, and she’s out of his league but he hopes she’ll give him another chance.
This miraculous turn of events ends with Winston walking his lady home, at which point he asks her for another date instead of trying to jump her bones and when she says yes, he does an embarrassing happy dance. It was pretty bad, and an example of why I can’t get on board with Winston. He can’t even do an entertaining awkward dance. I was just embarrassed to be watching it.
“I never said the word blankie. I don’t talk like Teddy Ruxpin.” –Jess
Julia hides in the bathroom after her slut-off with Nick and Jess tries to talk to her, but Julia is worried that Jess’ cute “act” is going to win Nick over some day and that her tough lawyer chick persona will get her kicked to the curb. This prompts her to tell Jess how much she doesn’t like her, and as she starts to cry, she kicks Jess out. In a funny little bit, Jess is forced to cry in the hallway because the mens’ room is occupied by a misty Nick.
At her traffic court date, Jess accidentally pleads guilty because she’s so angry at Julia. As they leave, Jess lectures Julia in the hallway for assuming she’s not smart or strong because she’s cutesy and spends all day with kids. She does manage to work in the valuable part about how she’s not trying to interfere with Nick and how Julia should talk to him, but I enjoyed the “I don’t talk like Murphy Brown” and “I wish your pant suit had ribbons or something to make it cuter” parts just a wee bit more than the necessary parts.
Consumed by guilt, Julia comes by to see Jess, but her friends are over for crochet time. Jess invites Julia to join even though she doesn’t do girl things, and we find she’s a hard-ass because she went to an all girls school (are you listening, parents?). Nick comes home, and she decides to have the talk. They both want the same thing! Oh my gosh! No way! They make out like adorable little label-hating kittens and all is well.
This episode was cute and funny as usual, but it seems they’re really trying to squash the Nick/Jess connection they built up in the beginning of the series and all that suppressed sexual tension just seems unnatural. Then again, they keep waving the shiny distraction that is the hilarious Schmidt in our faces, so I’m sure we’ll survive.
Are you hoping for a Nick and Jess union in the near future? How long do you hope they keep Lizzie Caplan around? Do you think Winston is boring? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.