There’s an existential crisis among this generation of TV comedies about late twentysomethings and early thirtysomethings having existential crises. Do they — or, more importantly, their viewers — want sheer escapism from their own stressful, cash-strapped, lovelorn lives or do they want to see characters going through the exact same heartaches and struggles as they are? The latter has most certainly worked for the edgy cable darling Girls, but what about network sitcoms like New Girl?
I must admit, I was an avid How I Met Your Mother fan up until last season, when grownup drama replaced, you know, actual fun and comedy. Every episode seemed like it was ending on a cliffhanger that would put Grey’s Anatomyto shame. This was not the show I had fallen in love with — and laughed my ass off at — back in 2005.
New Girl is no stranger to exploring the perils of the Broke Urban Single Girl, but this week’s episode “Eggs” (yep, that’s exactly what you think it’s referring to) veers dangerously into late HIMYM territory, tackling the topic that is the exact opposite of sheer escapism: fertility. (Last season on HIMYM, Robin discovered she was never going to be able to have children of her own in a moment so sappy and manipulative it was as if a Coldplay song had exploded all over the formerly hilarious CBS comedy.)
Jess has her early thirtysomething freakout of the week after her lesbian gynecologist pal Sadie (June Raphael) — or as Schmidt so lovingly refers to her, a vagenuis — and her partner Melissa announces they are having a child together, and that women their age have no time to waste in the baby-producing department. In the words of another brilliant comedy June Raphael appeared on, “Are we having fun yet?!”
Jess promptly panicks (she even goes so far as to scream, “Fertilize me, Los Angeles!” out her window), and brings Cece right along with her for the misery. Will she ever be able to have children, or is her reproductive system, as Jess suggests, “a 1930s Dust Bowl”? Jess eventually gets the good news from Dr. Sadie that she’s a totally Fertile Myrtle, and won’t have to spawn with Winston or Schmidt (both of whom offer up their, er, services to their pal). Cece, on the other hand, finds out she’d have to have a baby much sooner than later, if she ever wants to have one at all. Even more concerning, her Average Joe boyfriend Robbie (Nelson Franklin) doesn’t want kids for at least another decade, whereas her ex-boyfriend Schmidt nearly proposed when she had a pregnancy scare last year.
Even more conveniently however, especially for the New Girl writers, Schmidt comes to the very obvious realization that he can no longer enjoy NSA sex as he is very much in love with Cece. Schmidt (who should pay a hefty price to the douchebag jar for having loud, raunchy sex while his roommates and their dinner guests were all within earshot) figures this out when he can’t achieve satisfying nookie (despite being a vagenius himself) with his 50 Shades-inspired boss Emma (Carla Gugino). Sound familiar? That’s because Neil Patrick Harris‘ Barney couldn’t find sexual competency with a cougar played by Jane Seymour on HIMYM for the same reasons.
While Schmidt can’t finish his sexual duties with Emma, Winston (happy at his new job, having somewhat of a semblance of his own storyline) calls Nick out on the fact that he couldn’t finish anything, not even the zombie novel he always promises he’ll write. Upholding New Girl‘s ongoing M.O., Jess’ plot borders on grating (she cries and sings when facing a crisis), Schmidt’s is a temporary distraction until his inevitable reunion with Cece, and Nick’s is the all-out funniest. Seriously, is it too late to change this show to New Boy? Or in the case of Nick, Aging Cranky Procrastinator Boy?
This week, Nick attempts to get in touch with his inner Ernest Hemingway in order to find himself and become inspired as a writer, when in the end he really just winds up drunk at the zoo. Still, despite his perfect track record of not being able to finish anything (including, as Winston pointed out, law school or more than three episodes of Downton Abbey) finally completes his long-gestating zombie novel. Sure, it is actively terrible, and he spells the word “rhythm” wrong 37 times, but he finishes the damn thing! Nick’s ongoing quest to find purpose is the perfect example of everything New Girl should be right now: tapping into the existential crisis psyche without making it melodramatic. Oh, and Emmys, give Jake Johnson his due next year, you clowns.
Some of the best moments and lines from this week’s New Girl episode “Eggs”:
– Jess’ concern that all she has left are the “weird and evil” eggs. “I can feel them. They’re turning. They watched their brothers and sisters die, and now they want to be birthed!” She later fears that she “sunny side upped” her eggs and that no man is going to “lay a flag down on this sweet, sweet continent.”
– “#Excited” – Schmidt
– A bedazzled Schmidt as a Studio 54 busboy.
– Schmidt’s absurdly graphic description of what he does to the “the downstairs girl cookie.” Let’s just say it ends with churros for everyone.
– The reveal that Nick has a ketchup collection.
– This exchange: Jess: “You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?” Nick: “You’re putting me in a tough spot.”
– “I gotta eat my way out of a sandwich house… I’m becoming Ernest Hemingway, ya idiots.” – Who else? Nick!
– “Let’s talk about sharks and sci-fi movies and making everything wireless!” – Jess’ short-lived plan to live as a dude for a day.
– The awfully adorable kiss fake-out between Nick and Jess on his bed.
– Nick’s dedication to Winston in his novel Z Is For Zombie: “To Winston, Have a nice summer. Hope to see you again.” (That one is up there for me with The Simpsons‘ “See you in the car. Milhouse.”) Also, I really want Winston (who finally had a damn funny arc last night, I must say) to read me this novel, too.
[Photo credit: Fox]