New Girl Review: Nick Miller's Sad Song
This is New Girl at its best, uniting the characters toward one goal (in this case, get Nick to a doctor!), which unavoidably leads to hilarity with this group, while simultaneously showcasing the pangs of twenty-somethings' growing pains.
A perfect blend of quirky and heartfelt, "Injured" proves just how far New Girl has come from the pilot.
Let’s time warp back to the week that New Girl first burst into our lives with an adorkable go-get-‘em attitude. Winston didn’t even exist yet, Schmidt was not the comic force that he is today and Nick was kind of the same - but we love him more now!
Remember Jess crying all the time, singing to herself and wanting to wear overalls on a date? She was at her most twee and ingénue; a parody of the person that most assume Deschanel is. The idea that New Girl could take on a subject like cancer was unthinkable. And that’s just how it should have been.
New Girl wasn’t ready for any serious episodes. It had to grow into itself and the viewers had to grow with it. Let’s get comfy in the loft with the gang before we deal with life and death.
Over the course of the season, the group has grown as the writers pull and tug at their characters. Some bits were hits, some were misses and some have inspired Tumblrs (Schmidt’s Croissant Blog. It’s a real thing now, guys).
While it’s clear that New Girl is still trying to find its footing (it’s not even one season old yet!), we all know each other well enough now to take on something bigger than Jess’ handbell experiment.
This week, Nick and the gang are confronted with their mortality. When Jess takes the uninsured Nick to see Sadie, her OB/GYN (not gynecologist, that’s different), for a touch football related injury, Sadie discovers a growth on Nick’s neck and insists that he has it looked at.
Nick’s potentially life-threatening situation sends the gang into a spiral of alarmist internet researching, crying, and drunk rapping, which seems like an incredibly accurate portrayal of how they would express their grief.
In the middle of their grief-fest, and while intoxicated with alcohol and menstrual pain killers, Nick tells Jess he doesn’t want her to speak at his funeral because she can’t be real. Clearly, this another reflexive jab about Jess’ behavior, but I’m not clear what Nick means exactly. Is it that Jess never tells it like it is?
We’ve seen Jess do that a lot, sometimes more bluntly than any other character. Is it because she’s preoccupied with things like one-night stands and kids that bully her, which seem inconsequential compared to what Nick is potentially facing? I think this last theory hits closer to the mark.
So, Jess gets real. She confronts Nick about his fear of doing anything. Whether it’s due to his inebriation or something else, Nick readily admits to being the guy left standing on the beach guarding the wallets while everyone else goes swimming (to read his whole monologue, visit our New Girl quotes page). Nick’s reluctance to do normal things like get a haircut or call the landlord isn’t exactly new, but it’s a big step forward to hear Nick say it himself.
In the past few episodes, New Girl’s attempt at a more mature Jess felt forced and false to me, like the writers were just trying too hard. But this week, Jess hits all the right notes.
She’s quirky without becoming a caricature and she’s strong without becoming robotic. A small concern is that Jess seems to only "get real" when someone challenges her to, someone like Julia or Nick. Come on, Jess! Be strong on your own!
CeCe, on the other hand, can do bad all by herself. She’s the only one to keep a level head about Nick’s thyroid growth this week, and we find out it’s because her father passed away from cancer when she was 12. The scene on the beach was understated and honest and produced two of the most truthful lines of "Injured."
CeCe: The only way to get through it is to get through it. | Permalink
Nick: No, I'm not okay, Jess! I'm not okay! I woke up today, and I wanted to play a friendly game of touch football, then I hurt my back, and I went to your gynecologist, and now I might have cancer! | Permalink
Huddled together on the beach, the gang realizes just how quickly things can change and how important it is to embrace life and treasuring your friendships.
As usual, Winston gets the B plot this week, but just like Nick’s, it’s all about growing up. Winston confronts the fact that it’s time to replace his first car, a beat up junker that he incidentally starts with a paper clip.
- CeCe’s rap was obviously the best. I think it's time for another online music video.
- I don’t know if anyone on the New Girl set has taken anatomy lessons, but your thyroid is not on the side of your neck like Jess’ doctor indicated.
- Schmidt was a little all over the place this week. He couldn't seem to make up his mind about whether he was more interested in Nick's plight or CeCe's body, which felt a little contradictory considering the number of times he kissed Nick on the lips.
- The scene at the doctor's office was hilarious. I loved that Sadie and Jess tried to psych Nick out about the pills.
- I love how terrible everyone’s car is.
- Nick and Jess' chemistry in this episode was undeniable. Is Liz Meriwether just teasing us now?