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New Girl Season 2: Relaunch & Katie

Posted on the 26 September 2012 by Tvtree @EmmaGThomas
'New Girl' is back! Jess, Winston, Nick, and Schmidt are back in fabric and human form in tonight's premiere episodes.
That's right, I said episodes. In a astute marketing move FOX gave us two episodes of 'New Girl' tonight--and instead of airing them back to back they presented them to use in sandwich form, with the pilot episode of 'Ben and Kate' in the middle.*
The biggest downside of the first episode ("Relaunch") was the lack of suspense. If you'd read anything at all about this season's premiere episode you already knew that Jess was going to get fired. I couldn't help but wonder if the moment where Jess bounces into the Vice Principal's office unaware that she's about to
meet her fate would have been funnier if we hadn't known what was coming. Regardless, 'New Girl' did manage to get a couple of laughs out of a depressing situation. Zooey Deschanel's quick attachment and sudden disillusionment with the tiny hat she gets as a conciliation for being fired is one of the funnier moments of the episode.
Meanwhile, Schmidt finally gets his penis cast removed and in typical Schmidt-fashion decides that it calls for a party. Or rather, a "branding event"--I mean, he has to re-market himself now that he can have sex again, right? He declares that this "event" is going to be held at Nick's bar and Nick is going to bar-tend. Nick immdiately declares that this is not happening only to acquiesce moments later due to flattery. That's our Nick.
Winston is one of the weaker aspects of this episode. He really seems to be there just because...well...where else would he be? Throughout the episode the writers play with his weakness for fruity "girly" drinks. Which apparently turn him into...a girl. Or something. Frankly, I know that this side-story was supposed to give us laughs similar to the Theodore K. Mullins incident** but a weirdly "feminine" Winston really isn't funny.
As Nick revealed, Schmidt had gone the entire summer without seeing Cece. It seems that ever since he dumped her in the desert she's been avoiding him like the plague. This led to Nick's concern that the party was actually an excuse for Schmidt to see Cece. Which it was. Obviously.
When the guys found out that Jess lost her job they immediately surrounded her like she was a sick abandoned kitten. In other words, they stared at her with a mixture of worry and fear that she would freak out if they got too close. Going completely against character, Jess instead calmly told them she was fine, asked them to wipe the sympathy off their faces, and closed her bedroom door in their faces. But not before she specifically called Nick out for giving her sympathy glances and not before Nick gave her a lot of sympathy glances and hello, who else thinks they're obviously going to hook-up at some point this season?
Jess quickly became disillusioned with her unemployment. And the writers quickly realized this episode was presenting them with tons of ways to bring Nick and Jess closer together. Hence, Jess insisting that Nick not treat her so gently, and be mean like normal--and Nick doing what she asked and being just mean enough to get her to laugh.
Schmidt's "danger" themed party (which he insisted to the guy's wouldn't be danger themed, although it clearly was going to be danger themed) was that night, and Jess begged him to let her help. Which led to the funniest line of the episode, "I can make any kind of a balloon animal as long as it's a worm or a snake!". Schmidt gives in and tells Jess that she can be a shot girl. Nick insults Jess by telling her that she's "nurse by the side of the bed" sexy, but not "shot girl" sexy. Jess assures him that she'll be super sexy and bounces off to figure out a costume. Thank God. Because an episode of 'New Girl' without a bouncy Zooey Deschanel just wouldn't be an episode of 'New Girl'.
At the party Nick and Jess (oh hey you guys, together again?) have another moment. For some reason Jess has decided that "sexy" shot girl is the equivalent of a 1920s cigarette girl. Which would be okay I guess, except that in the 1920s things that clevage weren't really allowed, and she's pretty covered. Compared to the other shot girl (eh, woman) whose boobs are definitely out (hey Parker Posey!). We know who'll win with the men in this scenario.
Nick tries to help Jess out, but most of his suggestions backfire. When he encourages her to dance like the other shot girl she is somehow successful with the men despite her archaic dance moves. But their cheering of "shot girl! shot girl!" reminds her that she's not actually a shot girl, she's a teacher. And she jumps off the bar and runs out, clearly upset. Of course, Nick goes after her (get a room).
Cece and Schmidt finally reunite at the party, but not in the way most of us would like. Turns out she's dating some new guy who is so boring and ordinary that Schmidt can't wrap his head around it. Cece tells Schmidt she likes the new guy because he's a "great guy" which should be insulting to Schmidt except she doesn't disagree with him when he tells her she couldn't handle what they had. So, best guess? Schmidt and Cece aren't over forever BUT the writers can't have multiple main characters paired into couples and it seems pretty clear that Nick and Jess are heading in that direction this season.
The episode ends with Nick and Jess (together again!) sitting on the hood of a car. Their chemistry was palpable enough that it seemed possible that a kiss might happen. It didn't, but their close proximity and genuine affection for each other seemed to foreshadow a future coupling.
The second episode ("Katie") was really just a continuation of the first. Jess was still unemployed and still stressed because she didn't know what to do with herself. When Nick suggested going "off the grid" she took his suggestion to heart. And spent the next 25 minutes going a little crazy. First, she hung out with him at his bar at 11 am and got drunk. Then she met a random guy at the bar, pretended to be a girl named Katie, and hooked up with him.
Meanwhile, Nick met an older man named Nick at the bar who claimed to be him from the future. Despite the improbability of this, (our) Nick accepted this because they were wearing the same sweatshirt and how else could that happen?!
Jess also met two delivery guys at the bar, and asked Nick to set her up with one. It seemed clear to the viewer that she wanted to be set up with the more attractive one (what was she going to do while she was unemployed? "him"), but just as clear that Nick was going to assume that she wanted to date the funny, overweight guy. This supports the fact that Nick can see himself with Jess in the future--we already know he thinks of himself as the funny, slightly overweight guy.
The guys tell Jess that she isn't the kind of girl who can juggle multiple men, but she refuses to accept this. She's going to keep hooking up with the guy who thinks she's Katie and pursue the delivery guy.
And she'll do this despite the fact that the Katie-guy also thinks she's a professional dancer who loves Creed. The guys agree to go along with this (because they always cave into Jess' demands) and Nick even pretends to be a professional dancer as well. Which leads to a pretty hilarious scene where he cavorts around the room like some sort of a leaping grizzly bear.
Of course it turns out that Nick set Jess up with the delivery guy who calls himself Bear Claw because he's just "so cool". Unfortunately, Jess has sent the guy several sexy texts earlier in the day leading him to believe that they are soulmates. And that he'll get to sleep with her. Right as she's trying to get out of the situation Jess receives a text from Katie-guy asking her to come over. She immediately feigns an illness and gets rid of Bear Claw.
The supposed older version of Nick tells (our) Nick that he is someday going to hurt Jess. Aka they're going to hook up and then break up--that crazy old guy knows the truth. (Our) Nick is immediately concerned. Fake older Nick says that to make it up to Jess he should make her an Old Fashioned. Minutes later we learn that he's just a mentally-disturbed old man, but Nick still seems to take his words to heart.
Unfortunately, Katie-guy tells Jess to meet up with him at Nick's bar. They go into the men's room to have sex, and while they're in the stall the delivery guys walk in. Assuming that a woman is in trouble Bear Claw crashes through the stall door, revealing Jess and Katie-guy, both half-dressed. Bear Claw isn't the smartest, because he immediately asks Jess if the guy she's with is "her doctor". Making this moment even more awkward, Nick bursts in. Faced with the sight of a half-dressed Jess he yells, "Jess! Katie!". And Jess has to explain the situation. She doesn't apologize though instead saying that she was just "off the grid". Nick supports her by repeating, "aren't we all off the grid!?"
Clearly Bear Claw and Katie-guy are both pissed. Nick feels bad for Jess though, because he knows she's just trying to deal with her unemployment. Back at the apartment Nick sits Jess down and starts to make her an Old Fashioned. She admits to him that she's always wanted to try one, and then asks why he's bringing his work home with him. Nick hates to make drinks when he's not at work. He admits that it's because sometime in the future he'll "hurt her"--when she asks how he doesn't have an answer. So she promises him that no matter what he does he can't ruin their friendship. Even if he pees on all her pretty dresses. This nice Nick and Jess moment is interrupted by a knocking on the door. It's Katie-guy! He doesn't mind that Jess lied to him, he wants to try dating her anyway. Apparently the sex was that good.
Leaving us with this: Katie-guy is going to be around for the next couple of episodes. Nick and Jess still have palpable chemistry and I'm just waiting for that to happen. Schmidt and Winston had a side-story in this episode involving Schmidt's crush on Winston's sister--but it didn't really go anywhere so this episode was firmly the "Nick and Jess Evolution" story.
New Girl Season 2: Relaunch & Katie
*Okay, maybe not that astute. Numbers are in and they're not pretty. But in theory it was a good idea--if only 'New Girl' had better numbers!
 **Who can forget Winston's rant in 1.19 that ended, "now go away, because I am having cereal"?

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