After a shaky first three episodes to start its third season, it appears that New Girl has finally found its groove over the past two weeks. “The Box” followed up on the greatness of last week’s “The Captain,” providing even more laughs, while also addressing Jess’s desire to change Nick head on. Along with that, Schmidt questions whether or not he is a good man, and Winston, well, he kind of disappears midway through the episode but his final scene with Schmidt is so good that I can forgive the New Girl writers for that minor issue.
The driving conflict of last night’s New Girl is Jess wanting Nick to mature while also wanting him to remain the same guy that she fell in love with. When a bag filled with $8,000 from his deceased father shows up at the loft, Nick immediately goes on a spending spree (getting massages at the mall and buying shoes that aren’t even his size), instead of using his newfound cash for practical matters, such as fulfilling an old debt that he owes to Winston and paying his very much overdue bills. Nick puts all of his financial worries inside of his cardboard box, citing that banks are just bigger boxes with fancier walls; however, when Jess discovers how much in debt Nick really is, she can’t help but go behind his back and use the money that Nick’s dad left for him to resolve these issues, which greatly upsets Nick when discovers what she has done.
What I really enjoyed about this storyline between Nick and Jess was that the New Girl writers allowed for them both to have good points in their respective arguments. Nick doesn’t want to have to change for Jess; she already has chosen to date him, so shouldn’t he be good enough for her, faults and all? On the other hand, New Girl frames Jess’s concerns in such a way that she is not trying to change Nick so much as she is simply trying to help him. She doesn’t want Nick to be more responsible because that is how she is; she just wants him to be responsible because she truly believes that it will leave him better off than he is now.
Ultimately, New Girl resolves this conflict in a very satisfying way. Nick decides to open a bank account, telling Jess that he realized that he’d do anything for her, while Jess also accepts some change within herself, letting go of all her purses that Nick throws out the loft window (allowing for Outside Dave to feel like a “pretty lady”) and arguing enough with the bank teller that she gets her to waive the eight dollar start-up fee for Nick’s account. Thankfully, New Girl recognizes that Nick and Jess’s different personalities working within their relationship has a lot less to do with change and more to do with acceptance and adaptation, making for a more authentic and interesting couple to watch.
While Nick attempts to resist change throughout much of “The Box,” Schmidt embraces it after neither Nick nor Jess can tell him that he’s a good person. I really like that the New Girl writers are not letting Schmidt off easy for his mistake of dating both Cece and Elizabeth at the same time (when Schmidt asks Jess if he’s a good person, she responds, “You cheated on my best friend, Schmidt.”), and his efforts to do enough good deeds to repair his character are very funny during the episode.
What I thought was even better though is that Winston is the one who is able to tell Schmidt that he is a good person who just has to be better. With all of the easy one-liner shots that Schmidt delivers at Winston, it’s easy to forget how good of friends the two of them are, especially after so many of their adventures last season while Nick and Jess were off becoming a couple. Winston’s affirmation that Schmidt is truly a good guy, not to mention the (what I’m guessing was) improvised joke about asking a genie for more candelabras, ended “The Box” with the perfect blend of the heartfelt and hilarious that New Girl has always done so well. Another week, another great episode. Please, keep them coming, New Girl writers.
- Jon Lovitz was really solid as Schmidt’s rabbi, even if he appeared to be a little underused throughout the episode.
- I’m going to try to say “woodword” instead of “woodwork” all the time now. Thank you, Nick Miller.
- Nick’s drunken money speech was so great: “Money is just paper that a king on some mountain said was worth something. Silver, put a werewolf in front of me, he’s dead. Brass creates bells, which make sound throughout the land.”
- What was even better though was Nick’s speech to Jess about gem purses: “We wanna be playing a saxophone in an alley and have you walk by in a miniskirt with a purse with gems! But you girls don’t listen!”
- “Hey man. Don’t shoot the bike messenger.” “That is a terrible joke. And none of this makes any sense.”
What did everyone else think of last night’s episode of New Girl?