S1E2: This week’s New Girl was almost like a second pilot thanks to the fact that the series had to replace one of the main characters between episode one and episode two. Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) is out and Winston (Lamorne Morris) is in, and the explanation is fairly smooth, which I guess means Coach isn’t much of a loss. The episode delivers the ultimate roommate bonding experience when Jess is forced to confront her ex and take back all her stuff, and the result is more irresistible, adorable antics and of course, the glue: the boys’ affinity for their mind-boggling new roommate.
“I haven’t talked to him since he cheated on me with that ho. Okay, that’s not fair; she might be a really nice…ho.” –Jess
Our heroine is still not quite over Spencer, her long-locked ex boyfriend, but when she joins in a friendly game of indoor basketball (which was a bad move from the start, boys) she mutilates the flat screen television. When Nick can’t even muster actual sentences thanks to his devastation at losing the TV, she’s forced to confront her ex so can take back all the stuff she left at their old place – including a flat screen TV.
When she meets up with him the first time, she’s put under his spell (like wizards and mages or some nerdy analogy I didn’t quite follow but still giggled at) and the rest of us are left wondering, “Really? This guy?” He really is a swamp creature, but he manages to be Jess’ kryptonite – which tends to be the usual dynamic in these situations in real life. After he says about a million hurtful things, she demands her stuff back. He reluctantly says yes as long as she drive his cheatin’ ho to the airport – which of course, she does. There are few things more painful than watching Jess drive the duo to the airport while they duet “Bust a Move.”
"That's the wizard? He's wearing a scruchie." -Nick
After she fails to steal a crappy television from a pawn shop, Nick sits Jess down and convinces her to get mad so she can take her stuff back. This relationship is probably one of the biggest draws for the show – even if they don’t end up romantically entangled, the friendship built on their respective heartbreaks is infinitely likable. CeCe and the boys go along with Jess to Spencer’s house, where she continues to pull touch-and-gos until Winston’s pregame playlist delivers Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last.” She runs up to the house, gets angry and throws a plant like a spindly little Incredible Hulk, and storms out with the TV and her eclectic hat collection. As he tries to stop her and she almost drops her TV, the boys file out to come to her defense. All donning her ridiculous hats, they force Spencer to relinquish the t-shirt of Jess’ that he’s wearing. This is what makes this show.
Jess finally tells Spencer off, and while I think the excessive mentions of “love” for her roomies freaked the dudes out a bit, it was a grin-inducing scene. Who doesn’t want to tell off their ex-boyfriend when they’ve got three attractive dudes to move on with?
“Put your shirt on, it’s the morning.” –Nick
Because we have to reestablish the chemistry with the new (old) roommate, Winston (who lived with them years ago before he went pro), the boys engage in a little bit of a territorial game. When Coach left, Schmidt took his room – the larger room – and left the small one for Winston. Nick is a pot-stirrer – and the douchebag jar seems to be missing – so he plays along, inflating Nick’s ego by calling him the top dog and then insinuating that he needs the big room because he’s compensating for something. It’s a pretty subtle message, so of course Schmidt, the ditz, doesn’t get it and keeps the big room.
The mind games continue and Schmidt eventually (thinks he) figures it out, but not before the top dog moniker lends him the guts to purchase a skull ring. Seriously, where is the douchebag jar when you need it? Eventually, Schmidt thinks he cracks Winston’s code when Winston just tried to come clean about his little game, and tricks himself into taking the small room. It was a simple device, but it worked to create a bond between Schmidt and Winston, who honestly seem more likely to be buds than Nick and Winston.
All in all, and considering the big change the show had to undergo, episode two of Fox’s new hit show proves to be equally as charming. Will it ever break beyond charming and become great? Probably not – at least not without the return of the douchebag jar.