The hardest part of saying you're sorry is admitting you were wrong. So I'll say this right now: Winston/actor Lamorne Morris who plays him, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've doubted you for so long. I'm sorry the New Girl writers haven't known what to do with you since you took over for Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) after he got freaked out by Nick and had to go live with a different group of white people. I'm sorry it took this long to have an episode to call your own. But I hope, now that you've finally been given some substance, we can all move on and all the doubts and criticisms can be a thing of the past.
Phew. That feels better. You see, it all happened during last night's episode of New Girl called "Cabin". In this particular episode, raging moron Schmidt felt compelled to have Winston get in touch with his blackness, to let his black light shine (his words, not mine).
Of course, Schmidt did that in the only way he knew possible: the racist way. He bought Winston a Rastafarian hat, he offered to eat soul food with him, he wanted to share his "people's culture" with him. Winston, who damn well knows his friend much better than his friend apparently knows him, decided to have fun with this opportunity.
Winston messed with Schmidt by telling him the most cliched, stereotypical things possible. That his family wound sing around a burning trash can while enjoying the sweet taste of crack cocaine. By now this should have stopped Schmidt cold and realized he was being teased and that Winston, clearly, never was and never has been a gangster from the projects.
The whole thing ended in an amusing enough misunderstanding in "the hood" with a man named Robert with a nice smile. But it wasn't this part of the story line that did wonders for Winston (though him laughing at Schmidt with his back turned was delightful.) Instead, it was when Winston confronted Schmidt after all this absurdity.
Winston tells Schmidt that not only does he know who he is, but he's comfortable with himself. That he is a black man who just happens to live with three white people, nothing more, nothing less. Winston/Morris is not a sight gag or filler to boost his white friends' lives, he's an actual, realized person. It just took us halfway through the second season to get there.
While Winston and Schmidt dealt with their own set of friend revelations, "honky as hell" Nick and Jess had their own messes to deal with.
When Jess got invited to a cabin in the woods with her handsome doctor boyfriend Sam (David Walton) she panics that everything won't be perfect and invites Nick and his wild stripper girlfriend Angie (Olivia Munn) along as a buffer.
What could possibly go wrong in this sitcom scenario?! Well, for one Jess accidentally shoots out the electricity after wildly, recklessly swinging around a shotgun Angie found (I wouldn't know what to do with a gun, but I'm smart enough, as are most people to not do that).
Then the foursome gets drunk on enough absinthe that could have killed them all, Angie makes a pass at Sam because she thought they were doing a couple's swap scenario, Jess freaks out about her relationship, and Nick confesses his feelings to the hot, but reckless Angie, who takes off in the morning with some of his possessions and a lot of his dignity.
Now, all of this stuff we saw coming from a mile away. Jess fretting over what a boy thinks of her (though I am glad they aren't glazing over the fact that she lied about who she was when she first met Sam) and Nick getting himself into another dead end situation.
Not exactly new material for either of these characters or the stars who play them, but it was really all worth it to watch Sam violently throw up his absinthe into the fireplace, wasn't it?
Here, now, are some of the other best moments and lines from "Cabin":
- "You were so light and charming, you were like Pixar Winston"- Schmidt, to an understandably offended Winston.
- "White Nick, Brown Cece, I'd like to have a frank discussion about race" - Schmidt, to an understandably offended Nick and Cece.
- "There’s nothing like the feel of a fire and a fresh-baked cookie and that sweet, sweet taste of crack in your lungs"- Winston, messing with Schmidt so hard.
- Jess needing a "back story" about the cans she's shooting.
- Jess' fear about drinking absinthe: "[It] has killed so many of our famous painters."
- "I suppose we could get out and ask some of these street youths"- Schmidt, trying to buy "crack cuck-ane" with Winston.
- "I like dogs more than cats. I like chipmunks more than squirrels. I believe in UFOs. I once had a bass teacher when I was younger who did the standing bass, and he had a very weird smell, and I still remember that smell. His name was Mr. Hilton."- Nick's drunk confession to Angie.
- Nick has his own form of currency called Nick Bucks, which can be redeemed for hugs or something from his nightstand.
- Schmidt vowing to order racially sensitive vanilla and chocolate swirl frozen yogurt.
[Photo credit: Patrick McElhenney/FOX]
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It's really quite fitting that Fox has been airing back-to-back episodes of New Girl on Tuesday nights, showing a new episode at 9 PM followed by one from much earlier this season. When you tune into the rerun after watching a great new episode, like last night's hysterical and heartbreaking "Backslide", you can't help but immediately realize how far this show has come. The overkill of Zooey Deschanel's Jess' girlie quirkiness has made way for an aware, confident, relatable woman and the rest of the characters have evolved right along with her. Well, except for Winston, who is essentially a prop.
Of course some things, like how one handles a breakup, never change. Even the most together person can crumble when a good relationship comes to an end. Prior breakups have prompted Jess to move into a loft with a trio of kooky strangers, watch Dirty Dancing close to a thousand times, and attempt to court Ryan Kwanten. A post-Russell Jess couldn't peel herself off her bedroom floor, wondered if she was perhaps a self-sabotaging Cylon and, much to the dismay of her roommates, didn't stop listening to Joni Mitchell's "River" for 18 hours. ("I get it! It's a river!" Nick sarcastically cried from the next room at one point.)
But the worst side effect of a broken heart, and the one that hits nearly everyone, is the backslide. That time when you fall back into the arms of an ex, any ex, for the comfort and familiarity you just lost. Sometimes the backslide is immediate, sometimes it sets you back to the start after you've come so far (ahem, Nicholas) but if you're not careful you'll backslide hard and fast. Despite her friends' best efforts to stop her from backsliding (well, Schmidt and Cece anyway, as Nick was in the midst of his own terrible backslide and Winston was busy being a prop wearing other props) Jess wound up right back in the arms of….Paul Genzlinger!?
Yep, old Genzel Washington/Mercedes Genz/It's The Genz of the World As We Know It was back, but not without some serious backslide baggage of his own. After taking up Jess' drunken late night proposition, Paul (the delightfully goofy Justin Long) was back in the picture. For once it seemed like maybe this seemingly perfect couple had gotten their timing right. Well, except for the whole Paul having a serious girlfriend who he wants to propose to. If that wasn't horrifying enough for Jess to find out, she came face-to-face with Paul's lady who looked exactly like an Asian version of herself. Asian Jess, if you will.
After briefly toying with the idea of telling Asian Jess about Paul's tryst with Caucasian Jess because she knows how awful it is to be cheated on, she wisely opted against it. (After all, no one wants to see Paul's ugly cry, which could only be described as a "slow-motion sneeze.") Instead, it was Paul who came clean to Asian Jess, while Caucasian Jess was there, no less. Now, a backslider can notoriously make some bad decisions. You figure, I've fallen this far, I might as well keep falling. And maybe Jess would have done that a while ago. Maybe she would have broken into a song or depended on the guys to bail her out of another wacky misadventure, but she took care of the situation with grace and ease in the most awkward ex situation known to mankind, helping them get engaged to their current love. But even a Jess capable of backsliding knows herself well enough now that when it's right with someone it's right, and when it isn't it isn't.
When it's right, it looks like Schmidt and Cece. Two people so right for each other because of their hyper-attractive exteriors and surprisingly vulnerable interiors. Two people who can endure broken penises ("It looks like a knotted wizard staff"), visiting one anthers "Bubbys" at an old folks home despite an unreasonable fear of the elderly ("They look like giant walking raisins") and intentionally dressing like "women's studies major" to help the other in a time of need. It's right when their families see there's something special brewing ("She needs you, you are exactly what she needs" Cece's grandmother sweetly told Schmidt) and they can put their egos aside (and boy, when you've got a model and Schmidty, have you got some egos) and admit they just want happiness with each other.
When it's wrong, it looks like Nick and Caroline. Two people so wrong for each other because of their uncanny ability to forget how painful their past was, their willingness to lie to each other (Caroline mentioned off-hand that she's actually 33, not 30) and themselves about what they really want in their life. When it's wrong your friends force you to watch a sad sack self-made video confessional about how much torment your ex made you endure and you still ignore them, and your bearded, tear-collecting former self and backslide all the way back to the start. When it's wrong you decide to move back in with your abusive ex with no care about the person you've become, and more importantly, the person you have the potential to be. Even if that person dresses like an unsponsored professional skateboarder. (Kudos to this show for somehow making the very handsome Jake Johnson look so utterly undesirable.)
Jess knew that she wanted what Schmidt and Cece were heading towards (who would have guessed that after the whole "Secrets" debacle) and didn't want what Nick and Caroline were falling back into. She didn't want it for herself, and she certainly didn't want it for Nick. After returning home from her Paul-induced life revelation, Jess told Nick just that. In fact, she told him "You deserve to be happy…If you really love someone, its simple….You deserve something amazing and you deserve love" and silenced the Tom Waits in his head and told him in a new, reassuring Tom Waits voice, "We don't have to settle Nick, you're the best."
You hear that, Nick? "We." Sadly, the Tom Waits in Nick's head that tells him he's a failure that looks bad in hats is louder than the Tom Waits standing right in front of him and it was all white noise. And if Jess' amazing confession wasn't enough to break your heart into a hundred pieces, it probably happened right… about…. here when Nick told her that he'd just signed a lease to move in with Caroline. Excuse me while I Paul-Cry this one out, not just because I, like so many other New Girl fans want to see Nick and Jess eventually get together. But because as happy as we can feel that Jess is evolving and changing and feeling optimistic despite how hard life can be, Nick simply isn't there yet. Once again, timing is everything. Of course, maybe his timing will come next week, during the first season finale.
Here are the best moments and lines from last night's New Girl episode "Backslide":
- "The economy is dying, movies are pretty much all sequels…. and I have a broken penis" - Schmidt's argument to a sad Jess that things could be worse.
- "These people are disgusting, I've never been more flaccid in my whole life"- Schmidt, at the retirement home.
- "I thought you were Asian Jess, I was just Caucasian You"- Jess, to Paul's fiance.
- Nick and Caroline's booty shaking routine to Joni Mitchell's "River." (Enjoy this while it lasts Caroline, I will never put you on a Best Moments list again, unless it's Nick kicking your ass to the curb.)
- Schmidt's declaration that "humans are going to be immortal by 2026."
- Schmidt getting turned on by birds ("Do I have to say it? Eggs") and emotional intimacy (so much so he passed out.)
- Schmidt lighting up at the thought of his own "Bubby."
- Paul's ugly cry was officially a contender for Best Cry Ever.
- Everyone's digs at Winston's earrings could rival the beard slams from the guys in Knocked Up. Among the gems: "When's it coming out by the way?…The smooth jazz album you're dropping," "Captain Black Sparrow," "Black George Michael," "Mr. T called, he wants to punch you in the face because that earring looks stupid," "You look like you're standing in line to get into Shaquille O'Neal's birthday party."
- Nick's poem to Caroline: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? No, a summer's day is not a bitch."
- The utterly brilliant nod at Damon Wayans Jr.'s departed Coach when Past Nick tells future Nick, "Be nicer to coach or he's going to take off and live with other white people." You hear that Happy Endings? You take care of Coach or else you'll get stuck with a Winston!
What did you think of last night's penultimate season one episode of New Girl? Are you officially warmed up to sweet Schmidt? Will Nick actually go through with this terrible idea? Will all this cause Jess to backslide and become more of a pessimist? Can we get Coach back? Please, Happy Endings!
[Photo credit: Fox]
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We got a chance to speak with two of the stars of ABC’s secret weapon sitcom Happy Endings: Zachary Knighton, who plays the listless, somewhat clueless, but good-natured Dave, and Adam Pally, who plays the sardonic underachiever Max, about their experiences on the show and what is in store for their characters and their fans.
Knighton teased of a possible big development in his character Dave’s love life: “There’s a bit of a twist coming, but I don’t think I can talk about it…no spoilers for that one, but there’s some big stuff comin’ down the line for ol’ Dave,” further stating that, “I think fans will be supportive, for sure.”
On the topic of romance, Knighton and Pally confirmed that former guest stars Megan Mullally, who played Penny’s (Casey Wilson) perpetually upbeat mother, and Damon Wayans, who played Brad’s (his real-life son Damon Wayans, Jr.) emotionally distant father, will be returning to the series and will be “involved with each other in some capacity,” further elaborating that it will be “something parental-themed, or something very sexual and weird.”
Other guest stars we have yet to see include Fred Savage (who works on the show as a director) and Saturday Night Live star Bobby Moynihan.
After joking (repeatedly) that his character Max would become romantically involved with a rake in the future, Pally touched seriously on Max’s developments in this area: “I think Max is starting to get a little lonely, and is looking to find that special someone. He may or may not be out there, because Max has very specific criteria.”
The discussion of Max’s love life evolved into the character’s unique design as a gay character in comedy television. As fans know, Max is a far stride from the gay stereotypes regularly employed by sitcoms. Pally confirmed that Max’s uniqueness in this vein is part of what drew him to Happy Endings, stating, “I think Max is an interesting character that I hadn’t seen before. It’s really fun to play something that is against type.”
The original music on Happy Endings has been a consistent highlight, from Dave’s “The Power of Love” rock ballad in the Season 2 premiere to his homemade commercials for his steak truck -- which we will be seeing on tonight’s episode or right now on Steakmehometonight.com. When asked about what further musical exploits in which we’ll be seeing his or other characters get involved, Knighton proposed, “I think that Max and Dave should start a jug band.” Pally immediately got on board, proclaiming that “[Max will have] some ripped dude standing there, and he’s playing his abs with a spoon.”
Both actors touched on the idea of developments with their characters, and how they have changed and will continue to change over the course of the series. Knighton in particular was happy with Dave's changes since the show’s inception:
I wanted to move away from all the ‘left at the altar,’ relationship stuff, and really start to have storylines with everybody else, which I didn’t really get so much in the first season. That was definitely a goal of mine, and luckily it was the same with the writers. We’ve gotten to have a lot more fun with Dave this year. We’ve acknowledged [the Dave and Alex situation] like once so far this season. I think the same goes for Elisha [Cuthbert]’s character. Now that she doesn’t have to deal with trying to buy back the audience and let the audience know that she’s okay, she gets funny stuff to do. I’m sure she’s having fun with that.
The topic of parents got the actors to talking about an idea that Knighton and his father came up with for the introduction of Dave’s as of yet unseen father: “My dad had a really funny pitch [in which] me and Pally are walking down the street one day, and my dad walks by. And we just stop and sort of stare at each other, examine each other up and down, and then just keep walking. Like Dave has never met his father.”
Pally then put his own spin on Knighton’s idea: “You won’t know if that guy is your dad or some kind of Legend of Baggar Vance. He walks through a wall after giving you great golf advice.” Naturally, the conversation eventually turned to the fan-favorite zombie apocalypse episode of Happy Endings’ first season. When posed with the question of who among the cast would fare best in a real zombie apocalypse, both men suggested Knighton to be the ultimate survivor, and pinpointed Wayans, Jr., as an early victim. However, this brought Knighton and Pally to explore the idea that “in the next apocalypse, it’s not going to be zombies. People will be turning into Wayans. Everybody starts making dance flicks and White Chicks.” Finally, Pally expressed his desire to do a Happy Endings crossover with the AMC series Breaking Bad, wherein, as he puts it, “we all get hooked on meth.”
Happy Endings airs Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.