New Girl “Kids”: The Line of Juxtaposition

With the majority of the scenes taking place in the loft, “Kids” was a fairly contained episode of New Girl (save for Winston’s adventures), allowing for a lot of different character interactions throughout its 22 minutes. Confined to a small space, Jess and co. were faced with a number of different stories revolving around the common theme of children. Everyone is making fun of Nick for dating immature kids, Jess is hanging out with Russell’s daughter, and Schmidt and CeCe are in the midst of a pregnancy scare. Everything¬† culminates in a hilarious dinner scene, and ends with a very subtle emotional moment for Schmidt, who is simultaneously the funniest and most heartwarming character on New Girl.

Some might argue that the episode kind of falls apart when CeCe’s pregnancy turns out to be a false alarm, but it’s a perfect use of a familiar sitcom storyline to advance the relationship between Schmidt and CeCe. There’s only so long the jokes about their lack of chemistry and sexual intensity can last, and it’s looking like Schmidt is about at that point – something heavily hinted to in what Schmidt was ready to ask CeCe at the end of the episode. I might add it was a very beautiful ending to the episode, turning the fast-paced, dialogue-packed tone on a dime to give us a genuine moment of vulnerability from Schmidt. It’s something almost every sitcom tries at some point, to varying success, and the final scene of “Kids” feels neither cheap or contrived, and I thought it was very well done.

The story with Jess and Russell’s daughter not getting along well is another story line comedies use quite a bit, and was a little more of a mixed bag than the others. I wasn’t really feeling her attraction to Nick, and she didn’t do much except artificially raise the stakes for Jess and Russell’s relationship, specifically when the writers shoe horn the “If she doesn’t like me, we’ll break up!” line in during a conversation with CeCe (or the belief that Russell might be trying to see her potential Mom skills, another common plot). But even for an obvious and mostly pointless storyline, it’s all rectified thanks to the Bridge of Terebithia reference Jess drops on Nick. Totally worth all the annoying dialogue for that last line (and the kid’s misguided sex phrases were quite amusing, if not slightly off-putting).

I do have one big complaint: what the fuck happened to Coach? I’ve really enjoyed the growing confidence the writers are having with Winston’s existence on the show and interactions with his house mates (although it’s debatable how drastic these improvements are). This week, he’s relegated to a throaway gag about trying to keep his wild boss in control and ready to appear on television next to Michael Strahan (on The Strahan and Narrow, a great fucking title for a show). It’s all very silly, sophmoric comedy, and the emotional moment and Coach speech at the end felt tacked-on and elementary, compared to the sharp, witty writing of the rest of the episode.

All in all, it was a funny episode that existed to set up some of the conflicts of these last two episodes. Russell doesn’t look like he will make it through the season finale; Jess’s uneasy comments regarding her feelings for him are a clear sign there’s trouble in paradise. There’s also Schmidt and CeCe, whose relationship is going to drastically change, for better or worse, due to some event in the next couple episodes. There’s also the Nick and Jess issue: while Nick dating 18-year olds that intellectually dwarf him makes for good short-term comedy, but that’s about it. If anything, “Kids” was another fantastic showpiece for Schmidt, who is quickly becoming one of the great male characters on television.

Grade: B+

Other thoughts/observations:

– some sharp, well-paced dialogue in tonight’s episode. Not much else to say there, but it was a very well written episode in that regard.

– Best Schmidt baby name? Probably Schmearson. Also, impregnating a fetus creates a “Russian nesting doll situation”.

– “She doesn’t even know about Netscape… and really only knows Ice Cube as an actor.” Need I attribute this quote?

– the conversation between Nick at the art show and Schmidt faking in front of CeCe was the highlight of the episode. I don’t even remember half of it, because the physical comedy alone by the two had me laughing out loud.

– Nick’s eyes definitely have a poopy-ish hue.

– Why does Schmidt baby have super-long hair?

What did you think of “Kids”? Did you enjoy the lighter comedy of the first half, and the serious tones towards the end? There’s only a few seasons left for New Girl’s successful first season. It’s been a pleasure watching this show evolve over the last six months: it’s definitely the most improved comedy that debuted in the fall (or spring).

What did you think?

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