New Girl: Jess & Julia ’nuff said
This week’s New Girl, “Jess & Julia” was named with the same amount of creativity that the episode was written with. I’ve been struggling with this show and if I made my decision as to whether it was for me or not based on this episode, the answer would be a resounding NO. It was lacking everything; direction, substance, focus and worst of all, comedy. To be fair, all the actors did the best with what they were given, but you can’t make a dead fish swim.
The episode starts with an awkward bedroom moment between Nick and Julia. No matter how much I adore Lizzy Caplan, there is just no chemistry between she and Jake Johnson. We quickly cut to Jess, Julia and Schmidt all in the bathroom at various stages of preparing for their day. Schmidt’s disgust at trying to dry off with a damp towel is the one and only time I have ever agreed with his character. I could at least sympathize with him as that is my number two pet peeve, number one being dog or cat hair getting on my legs when I’m putting on lotion. Schmidt blames the dampness on Jess and Julia, claiming “girls make things humid”. There is enough awkwardness in the bathroom when Schmidt gets out of the shower flexing to send Julia dashing to Nicks room to finish getting ready.
Jess reveals to Nick that she has asked Julia to help her with a ticke, which Nick is none too happy about. As the two women sit down to discuss the ticket and strategy, Jess tries to give Julia cookies, cupcakes and a blanket. Julia lets her know she just isn’t really a dessert person, to which Jess hands her a cupcake anyway with a glazed (no pun intended) look. Julia suggests that Jess’ “bluebirds come and help me dress in the morning thing” might help her with the judge to get her out of her ticket. Her description of Jess made me crack a smile, but that was about it. We quickly realize that Julia is the anti-Jess. Julia immediately follows her thinly veiled contempt for Jess’ sweetness with a question about Nick seeing other girls, a hint at her hopes for their relationship. I thought for a fleeting moment that the writers were making some sort of clever commentary on the myriad of detractors of Jess’ naivete. I was excited for this bizarro Jess that we find in Julia to challenge and add cynicism to the female side of the show. This excitement was short-lived.
Jess tells Nick that there is something about the way Julia treats her that lets her know Julia dislikes her. Nick expresses his concern about putting a label on his relationship with Julia, which seems a little juvenile. Nick is certain that Julia is very straightforward but Jess convinces him there is subtext that he isn’t aware of which makes him insecure with their relationship and causes trouble between he and Julia. The trouble manifests as a ridiculous competition between he and Julia of who is sleeping with more imaginary people that falls terribly flat.
Julia and Jess meet in the bathroom and Julia tells Jess that she doesn’t like her, that the way she acts doesn’t fly in real life. Julia plays the mean girl and before she starts crying makes Jess leave the bathroom. When Jess goes next door to the boys bathroom she finds Nick in there crying and promptly leaves. This is one of only two times that I laughed during this episode, but not because it was terribly funny, more because it was enjoyable seeing these three ridiculously immature people crying.
Julia still shows up to Jess’ day in court. They have a very girlcentric exchange that ends in Jess pleading guilty, I assume to keep Julia from helping her. Both walk away from the incident angry. Jess confronts Julia about her mean girl ways and lets her know how she feels about her nastiness. At least Jess is standing up for herself, albeit in a nice-mean girl way. I did like the “my checks have baby farm animals on them bitch” line, in spite of myself. As much as I would have loved for this antagonistic relationship to continue, the conflict ends disappointingly with Julia joining Jess’ crocheting circle.
Interspersed in the episode is naked Schmidt ranting about wet towels and Winston trying to ignite a flame with a past one night stand. Neither of which is worth talking about except the conclusion of he towel incident in which Schmidt realizes he has been using Nick’s towel that apparently never gets washed and that Nick wears his underwear too. So ends the episode, giving me only my second laugh of the night.
I’m not giving up, though why, I don’t know. I still love Zooey Deschanel and the whole cast has had their moments of hilarity, just separately and in different episodes. If it could all come together at one time it would be wonderful. I still think Lamorne Morris is being grossly underused. I’m tired of just hoping against hope every episode that I’ll come out loving it and never knowing where I’ll end up.