New Girl: “Naked” (S01E04)

We were doing so well. While I found the episode relatively funny, I’m concerned that the writers/show runners haven’t decided who Jess is yet. Is she simply quirky and awkward? Or is she an alien life-force in the form of Zooey Deschanel: trying to figure out how to interact with human begins and ultimately how to love? The last episode “Wedding” favored the former but the other three episodes are making me believe the latter.

“Naked” centers around Nick and his penis. Nick has a date (or least he thinks he does) with his fellow bartender Amanda (Lake Bell). After Schmidt and Jess suggest that he might have a gut (or as Jess called it, “the little pooch where you keep your extra cookies”), Nick builds his confidence by dancing naked in front of mirror to Yellowman’s reggae classic “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng”. Jess, wanting him to turn it down, enters his room without knocking and sees Nick’s penis. Her reaction: nervous laughter. Nick, having been established as slightly emotional fragile, now finds himself unable to have meaningless sex with Amanda and settle for cuddling.

The best scene of the episode is when Jess keeps trying to talk to Nick about his feelings chasing up and down the apartment, building and elevator and Nick trying to get Jess to say “penis”. Jess and Nick have the best comedic chemistry of any of our players and that’s been on display all season. Hopefully this doesn’t mean they will eventually get together in seasons 3-5. The only problem is that there are two other roommates and, if their stories don’t intertwine with Jess, they are pretty useless. Winston, having been in Latvia for the last few years playing basketball, finds himself unable to chit chat during interviews because he’s out of touch. Schmidt spends the episode trying to see Nick’s penis because he’s the only one who hasn’t (I’m not going to try to look any deeper into that). While Schmidt’s attempts were amusing, Wintson’s story was just filler. Three episodes in and Winston doesn’t work yet and I’m not sure if he ever will. Sometimes, I forget he’s on the show at all. It doesn’t help that I can see how great Damon Wayans, Jr. is on Happy Endings every Wednesday night and wonder “what if?”

Back to Jess, this show isn’t going to work if Jess is the way she is or we don’t get an explanation for why she’s so clueless. We’re going to need some more flashbacks to her childhood or see her interacting with her parents. Something to make me believe she’s a human being or at least has the mental capacity of an adult. Ooo. Maybe she’s actually a teenage girl who made a wish on a magic machine and became an adult like Big or 13 Going On 30.

Thoughts and observations:

  • Words Jess uses instead of penis and balls: “pee pee and his bubbles” and “Doujour and your chick-a-dees”
  • Lake Bell is a pretty funny actress. I hope this isn’t the last we see of her.
  • Schmidt’s three date packages include magic. He must read Barney’s blog.
  • Who doesn’t like An American Tail?
  • It was established in the pilot that Coach trained Schmidt, how can he not run a mile?
  • I wish I could believe that Winston was good enough to play basketball anywhere.
  • “Sometimes she’s so ironic, that I think she’s being serious.” – Nick about Amanda
  • “I think it’s really cool you dance naked to Jamaican music. That’s really cool. You should explore your sexuality”. – Jess to Nick
  • “Maybe when you are [ready to have meaningless sex] you’ll be able to show her your other penis: your heart penis.” – Jess to Nick
  • “Countries broke. Betty White’s back.” – Schmidt summing up the last two years to Winston.
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