Review: New Girl ‘Cooler’ – Westward Ho, Son


new girl s2 ep15

‘Cooler’ ends with the moment we’ve all been expecting for Nick and Jess since the pilot – a passionate, “unexpected” embrace where they finally express those frustrating feelings between them. Up until that moment, ‘Cooler’ was another Nick Miller highlight reel, complete with a new incarnation of True American, and best of all, some real Winston material! But at the close, New Girl embraced the Sam and Diane mentality I really hoped they wouldn’t.

It was always there: Nick is the bitter-but-lovable bartender who harbors a lot of regrets, and Jess is the educated, eccentric and naive woman trying to find her path in life. But for the most part, the show backed away from the heavy allusions to the inevitable relationship since the early in the first season. That is, until the two of them get stuck behind the Iron Curtain and have to make out. Then, all the misleads about Nick and Holly (a flat Brooklyn Decker) getting together and Jess and Sam pre-text is dropped and they are in each other’s arms for some GIF-inviting almost-kisses.

What doesn’t work is how it plays out: Nick spends most of the episode complaining that she’s his “cooler”, but is at her beck and call when she’s afraid of whatever’s at the door. Then, he’s mad at her again for getting him away from Loose Holly for Schmidt to woo her with his sadness. And then he’s nervous… mad again, resigned when Jess and Sam hook up again, and then brave after he loses his trench coat and runs into Jess in the hallway.

That’s the moment they want to do it? While Jess is rocking a post sex-with-Sam robe? There’s nothing in the episode that points to Nick having any kind of coherent revelations about his feelings for Jess. Sure, their kiss was passionate as hell (though quite awkward sounding), and they play the scene very well, but how they got there doesn’t feel quite earned for the set-up they’ve given it. I wasn’t looking for swells of violins and a sky full of rainbows – but it’s an empty gesture of an Important Moment, more of something that felt inevitable, rather than organic and meaningful.

The highlight of the night, of course, is Trenchcoat Nick, a string of hilarious bits which included the nickname London Fog, Nick’s spin, and him sleeping in a women’s coat. But the most enjoyable part is Winston, who finally gets to be a character after being delegated to the background again post-breakup. Daisy also was a much more interesting character than Holly, a great complement to Winston’s lack of confidence and guarded ways. But I can’t help but be wary of the show’s future if it goes head-first into Nick/Jess story lines – not only could it mess up the dynamic of the loft, but threatens the funniest interactions on the show (the arguments highlighting their philosophical differences).

Grade: B

Other thoughts/observations:

– “Clinton rules! Pick your interns!”

– Second best nickname for Nick in this episode: Inspector Gadget.

– I’m so tired of the “we’re totally not meant for each other, but we’re so attracted to each other” schtick on shows.

– Schmidt’s faint when Nick is clinging on to the side of the building was hilarious.

– The other, more interesting couple is hinted towards again, in a painfully overt way: why don’t they just have CeCe sing “I’ll Always Love You” instead?

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