S1E13: Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that never goes right on most television shows, and this week’s New Girl takes this notion and runs with it. Rather than set up perfect Valentine’s Day plans that go terribly wrong, they set up awful Valentine’s plans and guess what? They go right! Well, for everyone except Jess, but someone has to take position of comic relief. The good news is, the story progresses a little further this week – a sliver of a centimeter for Jess and Nick and a big ol’ leap for Schmidt and Cece. There’s not really much on the line on this show, but this episode dealt one of its few face cards.
”Tonight is all about what little Jess wants.” –Jess
As a newly single lady, Jess is “stoked” to spend her first Valentine’s Day trolling for dudes. She drags Schmidt along with her as she attempts to attract men with her overnight sex bag and lifetime supply of condoms. At first, Jess makes a genuine connection with a cute, nerdy guy at the bar, but as Cece said earlier and Schmidt says immediately: one-night stands cannot be based on an actual connection. She needs someone who doesn’t click with her in any way outside of the physical realm. Enter guest star Ryan Kwanten, who sadly was not making use of his God-given Aussie accent. Instead, he spends most of his dialogue trying to remember whether his tacos from Tuesday lunch had avocado or cheese.
She decides to use her giant box of condoms on the dummy, and she asks Schmidt to give the two of them a ride to Oliver’s place. Everything about this is wrong. He invites Schmidt to watch Planet of the Apes with them; he lives in a bad neighborhood and “yoothz” (Schmidt for youths, or young people) take the tires off the car; oh and Oliver’s ex-girlfriend, who is definitely the reacher in the relationship, is still living with him. Things get nuts when Jess has Cece and her shroomed out DJ (bastard of a) boyfriend try to pick Schmidt up so Jess can get it on. Next thing you know, Cece and Oliver’s ex are getting into fisticuffs over Cece’s hulking manslut and Schmidt has to carry the warring model out. Jess is finally left to get back to business with Oliver, but he starts crying because he misses his ex (who is literally sitting 10 feet away). Jess doesn’t make it happen, and we all breathe a sigh of relief. Ryan Kwanten or not, that situation was about as seedy as it gets. We had to know Jess couldn’t really pull off an overnight sex party. She calls it an overnight sex party for godsakes. But we learned one valuable lesson: something about not sleeping with hot guys because you’re too nice and they might be in love with their crazy ex-girlfriends and live in bad neighborhoods? Okay, we learned that Jess is a sweetheart who can’t take what she wants when she knows she can help someone instead. That’s better.
“I’ve got a nose strip on my face, man.” –Winston
Both Nick and Winston wind up spending their evenings with more quirky cohorts than expected. Nick surprises Julia with champagne at her office, but she’s working all night, so he’s stuck chatting up her horny little intern, Cliff. With the champagne prematurely open, Nick is a little tipsy and spills his guts about why he quit law school, causing the intern to quit in a firey display of anger. Julia’s rightfully pissed, but Nick comes back and does all the intern’s work for him – making us pretty sure that this alterna-Jess relationship is sticking around for a while. They both made each other care about Valentine’s Day, but it’s too bad Julia’s job cuts that short. And if we know anything about sitcoms, long office hours means an incoming fight and potential breakup.
Winston, who’s creeping into more relevant territory, spends Valentine’s Day with Shelby, his former hook-up buddy. She invites him over to what he thinks is a date, but it’s actually a girls night in. Luckily for Winston, living with Jess has afforded him some feminine insight and he’s able to bond with the ladies, winning him a big Valentine’s Day kiss from his lady. It may just be the sway of his romantic appeal, but if that’s what it takes to make us actually care about the usually flat character, then so be it.
”Don’t overthink it.” –Schmidt
Finally, we have the last little scene. Schmidt coaches Jess on one-night stands, saying she picked all wrong. He says it should be someone she knows and who won’t get weird about it. She immediately thinks he’s talking about himself, but when Nick catches her at Schmidt’s door with a thousand-pack of condoms he wrestles her away from the door. (This is that sliver of a centimeter I mentioned in the intro – I said it was small!) And here’s the big one: Cece is actually in Schmidt’s room after being treated awfully by Kyle the shroom king. The next morning they’re cuddly, but it seems Cece is having second thoughts. Cece and Schmidt are kind of perfect for each other, which means they’re going to drag this thing out as long as they can. Plus, Cece’s not going to keep this up without a fight – she has standards and they don't allow for a Schmidty relationship.
Do you think Winston is a flat character? Are you hoping for more Schmidt and Cece? Do you think Julia has almost run her course? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.