S1E9: Just because it’s Christmas, that doesn’t mean every show needs to put on a grand, musical spectacular. Some series are perfectly fine with letting Sexy Santa be the only spectacle in a perfectly normal, yet holiday-themed episode. That’s what New Girl did this week. It may be Christmas, but there’s no reason to stop those storylines from rolling right along. Plus, for once, Jess does something other than be cute and lovable. Our New Girl’s getting all grown up.
“I can say that to someone on Christmas…and then it’s New Years and then it’s Valentine’s Day and then whoa it’s President’s Day.” -Jess
“I can’t argue with that logic.” –Nick
After giving her roommates matching roller skates and taking pictures of them all wearing them while adorably falling over to stop her from capturing their images with her dreaded tiny camera, Jess asks them to help her find a gift for Paul. This sends them to the mall where her real life alter-ego, Zooey Deschanel, is singing songs from her band’s (She and Him) Christmas album through the loudspeaker. Kind of eerie, no? We like the show, we’ve probably already listened to the album on Spotify. Chill, marketers.
Anyway, Nick sees that Jess is planning on getting him a gift certificate for their own brand of weird nerdy sex and teases her relentlessly – they are really driving this friend-mance into us here. Jess ends up getting Paul a mechanical toy model of a heart – it’s anatomically correct and everything! And Paul gets her two tickets to Vienna and says he loves her. She says “Thank you.” And here comes the end of Justin Long’s short-lived arch on the show. To be fair, I’ve thought he’s too Jess-like for her own good anyway.
It turns out I was actually kind of right, because Jess laments that being the over-interested party is her thing. It’s not said expressly, but I’m pretty sure the reason this little relationship fizzles is because Jess can’t date herself. Nick convinces her to tell Paul the truth, but she ends up hiding in the bathroom with Cece instead, leaving Nick to accidentally spill the beans to Paul. And this is my favorite scene from the episode. Paul accepting the unexpectedly bad news like a little puppy who’s just been spun in circles before being left home alone while its owners go to work. Nick fumbling to try to make it better while digging himself deeper and deeper is no new sitcom stunt, but Jake Johnson’s presence makes these classic bits work.
Finally, Jess yells at Nick for busting her and she and Paul decide to end things – though not before Nick tries to involve himself by saying Paul’s an idiot for not taking up Jess’ offer to just slow things down. It wasn’t exactly an explosive, emotional breakup, but it’s more about the way her friends help her deal with these things than the relationship itself.
”Sexy Santa’s dead. I killed him.” – Schmidt
And just like that, it’s over before it really began. Before Nick misses his flight home (as usual) and Winston heads off to see his family, the gang all gathers at Schmidt’s office Christmas party as a tradition. It’s there that Schmidt dresses up as sexy Santa and lets all the ladies in his office (and his office is all ladies) grind up on him and drunkenly say and do things they’ll regret later so he can hold it over their heads forever. Or he does it because his scary, pushy boss says so.
Before the party, he gives Cece a perfume he created for her, only to witness her latest Fabio-light douchebag licking the roof of her mouth. At the party, she realizes what a sweet guy he is (though he’s a terrible perfumer) and tells him to stop letting his boss push him around, he listens because in the course of her encouraging speech she calls him hot, and tells his boss “no more.” But then he takes it over the line with a sexist remark and gets dropped right back down to copy boy. I’m really loving the little flirtation between Cece and Schmidt. She’s oddly lovable and constantly getting screwed over by bad guys and Schmidt seems vapid, but he’s really a cuddly sweetheart under all of that. I doubt anyone is dying for them to get together, but it’s a cute little background diversion.
Finally, Winston befriends the VP’s son and ends up getting himself a job – though not the 9-5 he was thinking he’d land. The VP wants to pay him stupid amounts of money to watch her son. Well, that was swift and oddly convenient.
With all these stories tied up, they all pile into the car to get Nick to the airport and he takes a detour, meaning he completes the part of his storyline where he misses his flight, yet again. He drives the car (wait, wasn’t he just drunk?) to Candy Cane Lane to cheer up Jess, but all the lights are off so they start yelling to get everyone to turn their lights on. Finally, the nicest neighborhood in all of Southern California turns all the lights on like some sort of Christmas miracle – ended swiftly by a threat to call the police.
It was sort of the perfect end for a New Girl holiday. Just enough of a touch of that magical, childlike wonder, capped off with a grumpy old man swearing and yelling threats as they dash away to more She and Him Christmas music. Yep, that’s about as tailor-made as it gets.