NEW GIRL Debriefing: Truth Bombs and Guys’ Nights

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This week on New Girl, Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Coach (Damon Wayans Jr.) head to a teacher’s conference led by guest star Lisa Bonet for a little inspiration, while Nick (Jake M. Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris) take advantage of their absence for a “guys’ night” at the loft. Except crushes and wine stains prove to be powerful foes for the gang in all their ventures.

 

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Jess enlists Coach to act as a “buffer” between herself and new hire Ryan (Julian Morris), because she’s worried her feelings for him will cross a professional line. However, when Coach skips out on the retreat in favor of some inspiration of his own at the hotel bar, she is forced by motivational speaker Bonet to partner with Ryan, and it turns out he’s even more perfect than he already seems, which rattles Jess. After getting Cece to read her a letter over the phone she’d written to herself as a contingency plan for just this kind of situation, she picks herself up by the bootstraps and pushes Ryan away — only to be hit with even more of his shining qualities when he saves a drunk Coach from drowning in the hotel pool. They bond over babysitting his hungover ass, and Jess accidentally lets it slip that she has a crush on him, only to be interrupted by Coach’s imminent upchucking. Curses! The moment is gone before it even started.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

The next day, Jess puts her game face back on, attempting to go back to her professional demeanor with Ryan. Except he admits he has a crush on her, too, and she gives in and kisses him right in the parking lot before they head home. Just in time for the Thanksgiving break, we’re left to wonder just what will come of these star-crossed nerds. After all, Jess is Ryan’s boss now, and there are clear rules about fraternization. Are we about to get some secret hookups, or is someone going to lose their job over it? Should be interesting after the break!

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

In what was my favorite plot this week, the other roommates celebrated getting to have a “guys’ night” with Jess out of the loft for the evening. Only, their activities turn decidedly domestic: it’s revealed that Schmidt doesn’t know how how to do laundry (after spilling some sangria on Jess’ comforter) and Winston doesn’t know how to read a ruler (yep, you read that right). In a rare display of adulthood, Nick exasperatingly takes it upon himself to teach the guys how to be grownups. It’s not often that we see Nick act as the responsible one, so it was a refreshing role reversal, and one I’d like to see more of on in a while. By the end of the night, Schmidt can finally run a load of laundry on his own, and Winston figures out where to start measuring things on a ruler. (Nick: “Okay, you start at the first tick… That’s it, really.”) So they turn the tables on Nick: what can’t he do? Lots of things, it turns out, but in a sadly honest moment, he admits he doesn’t know how to love. Yikes, this just got dark!

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

Nick confesses that he doesn’t think he has anything to offer, and Schmidt and Winston are quick to nip his self-pity in the bud. Of course, because it’s these guys, they do so by building a blanket fort (with freshly laundered linens!) and belting out some Foreigner. After drinking some more truth-serum sangria, Schmidt admits he isn’t sure what any of his successes mean if he can’t have someone (i.e. Cece) by his side to enjoy it, and Winston admits he’s scared he’ll be traumatized on the job and lose his faith. I wasn’t expecting this kind of frankness from the guys when I heard “guys’ night” in the teaser, but it was heartbreaking to watch them struggle with their insecurities. (Yet also hilarious, because they’re a bunch of 30 year olds drinking wine under sheets and singing “I Want To Know What Love Is.”) They all regroup after a beat, but I would love to see this expounded upon later on this season. Does Schmidt really feel like Cece is “the one,” or is he still pining for her because he can’t have her right now? How will sensitive Winston deal with the harsh realities of being a cop? And is Nick finally on track for some emotional growth?

This kind of poignancy highlights what works best about New Girl: the actors are fantastic, and these guys in particular have such good chemistry together that I’m thrilled whenever we get to explore their emotional depths, as brief as it might be. It gives the show its heart, and I can’t wait to see how the writers answer these questions in the coming months.

Courtesy Fox

Courtesy Fox

So in the end, Jess and Coach return to a clearly-staged-to-look-like-a-wild-beer-and-pizza-night messy loft, only they figure out in about two seconds that it’s all a ruse — the truth-telling leftover sangria glasses never lie.

What did you think of “Teachers”? Do you think we’re on track for some soul-searching from the loftmates? Are Jess and Ryan getting hot and heavy? And finally, I can buy that Schmidt would get his clothes professionally cleaned or just buy new ones when his clothes got dirty, but how did Winston make it through life without using a ruler?!

Nels
Nels knew how to operate a TV remote control before she knew how to talk. As a result, she has spent an inordinate amount of time pretending she actually lives on a soundstage. When she isn’t watching whichever show is currently capturing her heart, she is writing about how said show is currently capturing her heart. She loves pie.

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