NEW GIRL “Neighbors” Recap – TGIF-ing
Thankfully New Girl, “Neighbors” did not delve further into Jess and Nick’s admission that they are attracted to one another…occasionally. Maybe the writers can pull this part of the story off this early without becoming clichéd or irritating, but only time will tell. No mention of one or the other dating either, which was a relief to me as well. I need a break from the Jess dating cycle for a bit. This week instead of throwing another love interest in to the mix, we find some new neighbors as the focus of Jess and Schmidt’s attention. Nick and Winston are both obsessed; Nick with pranking Schmidt and Winston with dying young.
We find Jess in a very un-Jess-like uniform watching Mr. Belvedere during a TGIF marathon. For those of you who are too young to remember TGIF, 1) Google it 2) it was a hallowed Friday night event that lined up some of the most ridiculous sitcoms ever aired for your personal and family viewing enjoyment. One of the most prominent and memorable figures of TGIF was a character from a show called Family Matters named Steve Urkel and his catch phrase was a very annoying “Did I do that?” every time something bad happened, and yes he most likely did do that. Jess decides to take the opportunity to do as many horrible eighties character impressions that she can to her roommates’ disdain. They are upset by her lack of motivation to do anything but sit in front of the TV and go to her new job at the Casserole Shanty.
A knock at the door brings along something new to occupy Jess’ time in the form of new neighbors. Four very young hipsters appear on the doorstep of our own favorite four to let the latter know that they will be having a party and it might get a little loud. Schmidt takes this as an invitation and crashes their apartment with Jess and her four casseroles later in the evening. Winston and Nick thought better of this plan and walked away immediately upon entering the neighbors’ apartment. Schmidt is obsessed with the idea that the new neighbors think he is old and throws around all kinds of statistics to prove he is still young. One of these tools is an age of death chart that Winston looks at and discovers he is going to die in his sixties. Nick is the only one truly embracing getting older as he says he’s finally aging into his personality; that of an old, crotchety man. He later proves this point by wearing Old Spice to the neighbors party that he doesn’t end up attending, stating “…the Spice is cool.”
Jess is immediately accepted into the youngsters’ fold when they realize she works at the Casserole Shanty and is just trying to figure it all out, just like they are. She further ingratiates herself to the kids when she uses the Urkel quote and they find it ridiculously hilarious. She claims it as her own though and since they are too young to know about TGIF and Family Matters no one calls her on it. Things don’t fare so well for Schmidt. The neighbors hate him. When Jess shares this with Nick he is not surprised. He her that if he had money for every time he couldn’t hang out with someone because of Schmidt he’d be “Fill my gas tank all the way up rich”. Jess tells Schmidt that the neighbors don’t like him and he is convinced it’s because they think he’s old.
Nick capitalizes on this turn of events and begins pranking Schmidt, shaving heels of his shoes so his hip will be sore, make him think he is shrinking, incontinent and forcing him to pull his pants up past his belly button by switching the pants he takes to the cleaners for him, even pretending the TV is all the way up when it can barely be heard. The result of all of these pranks is that Schmidt begs Jess to help him to be cool. He is Schmidt though and he doesn’t take her advice, but overshoots things horribly and Jess can’t save him from himself. While watching Schmidt humiliate himself, Jess decides to take a nose dive so he won’t be alone in his lameness. She admits to stealing the Urkel line.
Winston puts himself out there for the job he wants at the radio station because he believes he doesn’t have long to live. His crazed attempt pays off and he gets a producer gig for a sports talk radio show from 2:35 AM to 5:35 AM. Winston previously tried to get in on the pranks that Nick was pulling on Schmidt but was unsuccessful. He tries one more time with a very awkward attempt in which he dons a ski and shouts “I’m gonna hit your ass with a ski” while advancing on Schmidt.
Schmidt calls Jess out on her irresponsibility and her lack of enthusiasm for improving her situation. Jess stands up for herself with Schmidt, telling him the reason she liked hanging out with the kids is because they didn’t judge her or make her feel like she needed to be doing more. Schmidt encourages her not to stop teaching. The neighbors come back over and let Jess know they don’t care that she stole Urkel’s line, they still love her. They also let Schmidt know they don’t hate him because they think he’s old, but hate him because he is who he is. He is, of course, ecstatic.
Everything about “Neighbors” came together beautifully. From the nostalgia brought on by the TGIF references and Jess’ horrendous impressions, the pranks on Schmidt were just subtle enough to be awesome (the hunchback being my particular favorite), Jess finding herself again through the ridiculousness of the hipsters, Nick reveling in and welcoming his impending elderliness and Winston losing it in order to make his dream come true reminded me why I love this show so very much. I heart New Girl.