Nick and Jess play at being a Power Couple this week on New Girl… And it fits surprisingly well.
Coach swaps his friendship with Cece for a storyline with Jess this week, while Nick Miller finally uses that law degree of his when Schmidt gets sued. Due to the overwhelming amount of sheer crap that Schmidt owns, and the lack of funds he has to afford storage, he fills up his newly rented storefront with his excess furniture, leading to a “customer” coming in, falling over, and then deciding to sue Schmidt and his “store.” (You’re a strange country, America, but I’m rolling with the whole “suing” thing, because it’s a lot more fun than the last few weeks of New Girl.)
With Abby Day gone, New Girl just seems so much more centralized again. There isn’t actually that much of a structural difference in “Fired Up,” but the focus is strictly back on the one loft again and our six core characters – with a special focus on Jess and her career this week. And I’m thankful for that, especially when we get to see Coach yelling at kids, and then yelling at Jess, and then yelling at more kids, after Jess gets him hired at her school, and then fired, and then re-hired again!
Jess has been taking on more responsibility since making the decision to stay on as a teacher, hoping for a promotion, when Coach forces her to realize: why wait for something to come to you, when you can- and perhaps need to- ask for it? Something that’s especially true when Jess’s incapable Principal is involved, a man who thought he was going to have to force someone into the role of Vice-Principal. Sometimes, unfortunately, people don’t notice you just because they should, but because you have to force them too. And after Coach pelts Jess with volleyballs, she goes and gets what she should have, if someone more capable was in power, already been offered.
While Jess is out achieving her dreams, Nick is also trying out a dream of sorts: practicing law. Or rather, pretending to practice the law, since he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.
But fake-confidence will get you everywhere, Nick Miller and Winston Furguson showing up from Cooper, Bishop and Furguson ready to defend Schmidt as the fake store owner that he is. And after a rough start, where Nick gets Schmidt offered a twenty-thousand dollar debt as a deal, Nick manages to save the day after all by unscrewing his chair and making a calculated fall, threatening paperwork by the day if the lawyers don’t drop their suit. (“What do you call a lunatic who’s only got one case and no hobbies? Your worst nightmare.”)
So while Nick Miller finally shows us instead of telling just us how inept and unsuitable he truly is for a life of the law (Nick doesn’t get Schmidt off because he’s a good lawyer, but because he’s a little bit insane), Jess realizes that she’s not sure if she’s ready for a life of responsibility, either. As the new VP she has to make budget cuts – ones that include firing Coach. Or as the kids liked to call him, Coach Coach.
Their dedication to Coach makes Jess realize that she doesn’t want to have to fire her friend – not only because he has that relationship with her, but also because why should redundancy have to be the first option? Nick and Jess both fail in “Fired Up,” before realizing that there are other ways to succeed. Jess puts Coach back in his rightful place – screaming at kids – while she tells her principal that they can make up their budget in other, more creative ways, and not at the expense of her staff.
Cece, meanwhile, manning the bar while Nick is hard at work, makes a promising connection with a customer. An underage customer, who Mike (Ben Falcone, returning as Cece’s former nemesis from “Birthday”) cards and throws out. (Not before hilariously talking about how much he’d like to tap that, though.) The Australian native comes back – he’s foreign guys, back home he would be legal – and Cece agrees to get a drink with him. Like a coffee, or a Popsicle, while Nick and Winston – and their off-the-hook client, Schmidt- drink and cheer him on.
“Fired Up” ends with Nick coming home in his suit and tie- looking every bit the successful man he’s never been- to a life that Nick and Jess have never had before. “Fired Up” gives us a glimpse of the couple in a different world, one where they’re busy professionals, Nick entering their room to find Jess asleep and surrounded by paperwork, too tired to celebrate his legal victory with him. It’s not a place that the couple usually inhabit, but it’s one that they just might, especially with Jess’s new job. It’s a sweet glimpse of something a little more grown up for New Girl, a show that, especially this season, has been almost exclusively about adults not being particularly adult at all. An idea that’s becoming increasingly stretched.
Maybe it’s just because the past few weeks of New Girl have felt so wrong, but “Fired Up” was funny, sweet, and just about right.
- Coach before his new gig: “I don’t like kids. I don’t like teaching. I just like paychecks.” “Well I think you’re going to love it!” “…I don’t think I’m going to love it.” (Of course he loved it.)
- Schmidt is dubious of Nick’s legal counsel: “I’m not taking advice from you: you pronounce the ‘g’ in lasagna!”
- Sweet, innocent, Vice-Principal Jess: “Graffiti’s wrong kids, don’t do it. I love corn on the cob too, but I don’t paint it on the walls!”
- Don’t worry; Winston was there tonight too, playing a high-flying lawyer better than Nick: “Favourite colour? Court-room-brown. Damn I wish that was my nickname.”
- Nick’s excitement over his briefcase was a beautiful thing: “Do you think it’s sexier when I hold it, or put it down. Do I look like a man of power? I FEEL SO SEXY IT’S DISGUSTING!”
- “I spent all those years at law school with those preppy dicks… And I never got to prove them wrong, Jess.” As a student myself, “preppy dicks” isn’t a judgement far off the mark when it comes to law students. Glad Nick got to prove them wrong with his great talent for breaking chairs.