Thursday, December 4, 2014

New Girl 4x10 "Girl Fight" (*passively-aggressively texts emojis*)

"Girl Fight"
Original Airdate: December 2, 2014

Girls are manipulative.

I can say this, of course, because I am a girl. I know how we work. And it baffled my mom when I told her in college that I connected more with women than I did with men. Don't misunderstand me: I had a lot of male friends throughout  high school and college, but I always felt (and do to this day) more comfortable around women. I have more female friends than I do male friends. I attribute this to the fact that I am extremely emotional. I cry. A lot. I like to shop. I wear pink and like make-up. I connect with women because we spend hours over coffee talking about our lives and our dreams and boys and our emotions. I get girls.

But I understand why my mom told me that when she was growing up, she had more male friends. "Girls are catty," she told me. "Men don't care. Men tell you how they're feeling and they don't talk about you behind your back." For the most part, she's exactly right. Men and women are wired, internally, completely differently. Women are thinking about everything and nothing all at the same time. We are emotionally complex individuals. I haven't found the same to hold true about most men. And since men and women are wired differently, emotionally, when men fight, they fight overtly. They drop bombs and throw punches and they don't hold anything back. They get angry. They get red in the face. And then, once they've exhausted their rage... they're done. They move on.

Women aren't like that. Women fight tactically. We smile and we nod and as soon as you're out of sight, we text our best friend about that thing that you just told us and it wasn't even WHAT you said but the way you said it. We fight with strategy and purpose, not aimlessly throwing punches like men. No, we play emotional Battleship with each other, building up our ammunition until we're certain that we can get enough hits in at one time to sink you. We remember things, like Jess says in this episode. We harbor feelings and bury them until the moment we self-implode. And then something as silly as a purse triggers twenty years' worth of anger.

That's what "Girl Fight" is about -- at its core, it is an episode about how people fight and avoid confrontation. It's an episode entirely devoted to exploring the differences between the sexes. That is what New Girl does best.

I feel like I've said this before (probably because I have) but New Girl has always been a show that centered around a weird, bubbly woman entering the lives of three men and completely changing how they see themselves, love (and other women, included), and her. It's one of the few comedies left on television -- or at least the few comedies that I know of -- that frequently explores what makes men different from women. We saw it last season in "Basketsball," we've seen shades of it in episodes like "Menzies" and "Eggs," and "Micro" as well. So in "Girl Fight," which is aptly titled, we see clearly the differences between how men and women argue and what that says about them.

What I like -- and what New Girl has always striven toward in episodes that feature a "battle of the sexes" -- is that the show never tries to convince its audience that the way men see the world is right or that the way women see the world is right. I mentioned this extensively in my review of "Micro," but I love that the show proves both men and women are flawed in their differences. Schmidt and Coach's punching each other in order to resolve their argument is not more esteemed than Jess and Cece spending the episode passively-aggressively fighting. But what New Girl always does is remind us that in spite of the differences between men and women, they can always learn something from one another.

In this episode, Coach and Schmidt learn that maybe their quick one-two-punch resolution isn't as resolved as it should be while Jess and Cece learn that instead of burying their emotions, they should confront each other when they have problems. Like, actually confront each other. That's hard for girls, I'll be honest. Most of us don't like confrontation because female friendships are so intricately and delicately balanced. They're fragile and they're fickle. But the reason we, as women, take so much care to preserve them (via passive-aggressive fights that end with smiles and lattes) is because we NEED them. We need other women. We're terrified whenever we fight with our friends because we know that if we say or do the wrong thing, our relationship might never be the same.

Jess tells Schmidt that women have long memories and that's why fighting with each other is such a difficult act. We remember the transgressions from ten years ago and we file them away to be used as ammunition whenever we need them to be. Let me just pause to say how glad I am that a woman -- Danielle Sanchez-Witzel -- wrote this episode. "Girl Fight" may have been a bit slow during parts (the Nick B-story wasn't my favorite), but it was completely and utterly true to life. And it was hilarious because of that.

There's not a whole lot to say in terms of plot during "Girl Fight." As you anticipated from the title of the episode, Jess and Cece get into a fight. That is to say, they get into a fight that is stereotypical of women -- you know, the ones where we smile and nod and look at you with unblinking eyes and compliment your purse and backhandedly offend you. Schmidt thinks that he understands women. He also thinks that he's above reproach, and I love that Coach -- by the episode's end -- was able to get Schmidt to admit that he doesn't know women as well as he claims. Schmidt and Coach are the kind of men who hide behind facades and pretend to be the best at everything because they're fearful that they are not.

Cece and Jess briefly fought over a purse at a sale, but they fought in the way that women typically do -- namely, they refused to fight. Passive-aggressive fighting is what we do best, really. Women are emotional beings. We want to maintain the status quo and we want you to read our minds so you know WHY we are angry. And for the most part, we try to avoid confrontation. That's who we are. (Or that's who I am, at least.)

So when Schmidt intervenes, he makes things worse by revealing that Jess went back and bought the purse without Cece's knowledge. This sparks the beginning of the "girl fight," which both horrifies and intrigues Schmidt who has no idea the intricacies that are involved in these type of fights. Coach does, however, and warns Schmidt to not get involved at all costs. Girl fights are terrifying because of how sweet and unsuspecting they are. But they are tinged with anger and bitterness, just like a typical fight would be. Schmidt, stubborn as he is, ignores Coach's warnings and finds himself in the very baffling world of women. I loved that we got the chance to see Schmidt completely and totally out of his element. It was absolutely hilarious to watch him recoil in horror and bewilderment when Jess and Cece's emoji fight escalated to a verbal battle twenty years in the making.

Elsewhere in the episode, Nick is dating Tran's granddaughter, Kai, whom Winston believes to be homeless since she essentially never leaves their place, sleeps under a blanket of newspaper, and is basically as lazy as Nick. She doesn't go to work, she spends the days lounging with Nick and the first date? Well, it was cute. (Winston and Coach watching them and commenting about how they were made for each other was a nice touch.) But as the days progress, Winston puts his police skills to the test and investigates her behavior. Of course, Winston is doing all of this to distract himself from what he SHOULD be doing -- studying for his police exam. In the end, Winston is completely and totally wrong. Kai is actually super rich. Who'dve thunk?

Jess and Cece's passive aggressive fight comes to a head at Nadia's baby shower, where the two women unearth wrongdoings that were twenty years in the making. And really, I think that this is what I loved most about the entire episode -- this scene -- because it reminded us that Jess and Cece have known each other for so long and are such good friends, but are also completely different people. Jess reminds Cece of how she was reckless and selfish and Cece reminds Jess of how she was weird and lonely and insecure. THAT is what hurts the most in a girl fight, really: we, as girls, have such great memories and are so emotionally threatening that we use fights to remind each other of the very things that make us insecure to begin with. Schmidt calls Coach while at the baby shower and when the latter arrives, he convinces the women to just punch each other so that they will feel better. That's Coach's solution, legitimately. He believes that if women fought like men, everything would be fine.

... But everything is NOT fine because suddenly all of the women (except for Nadia) are attacking each other, physically, at the shower. Where there had only been emotional and verbal barbs thrown, there were now literal punches. Coach and Schmidt (well, mostly Coach) have the good sense to be horrified at what they have created. At the hospital later on, Jess and Cece are patching up their wounds and decide to patch up their emotional ones, too. And what they do is so important -- they acknowledge their differences but also their similarities; they both love talking to each other. And during girl fights, what gets halted is communication... the very thing so integral to a female friendship.

Jess and Cece don't always agree. They're not even similar in personality. But what "Girl Fight" reminded us of was this: we can always learn something from each other in order to make us better. And really, isn't that what friendship is all about?

Additional de-lovely aspects about the episode include:
  • I didn't get the chance to talk about the B and C-plots, really. The B-plot happened. It wasn't my favorite, but I'm also not sure how to read Kai. During their dinner date, she seemed to be a cross between Angie and Jess. Hmm. Meanwhile, the C-plot was actually really well-integrated because Winston crossed both of the stories (primarily Nick's story) and everyone kept reminding him that he needed to study. Winston is such a great character and I love that he wasn't relegated to a story with JUST him or that centered on him being weird.
  • That said, WINSTON MAKING PAPER SNOWFLAKES and then saying "... still not enough" was hilarious and wonderful and perfect.
  • "It was rainy and I was bored and I was feeling snoopy."
  • "I'm a damn feminist who loves purses." #gpoy
  • "I had no support. LITERALLY no support."
  • Jess and Cece's passive aggressive fight via emojis was HYSTERICAL. I cannot stress enough how much I love when this show mentions emojis.
  • "Isn't she perfect?" "In a word... no."
  • "Are you dumb. You're dumb. You're very dumb.
  • Nadia was hilarious. I need her back again soon.
  • "You were wrong about literally EVERYTHING."
There you have it, my friends! Thank you all for reading. I'll be on vacation next week so the blog will be on a bit of a miniature hiatus (don't worry -- follow me on Twitter and I'll be posting all of my adventures!), but I'll be back by the weekend in order to review our Christmas-themed episode! Until then. :)


  1. Hello Jenn :)
    very good review. I have to agree with your mother. I am a type of girl, who hangs out more with men, then girls. I like shopping, i am very emotinal too and i love girls-stuff, BUT men are less complicated in a lot of different situations, wether in quarrels or just the way they talk about something oder somebody.. and women are so sneaky when it comes to a fight. I hope you understand what and how i mean it. It's a bit difficult to explain it like i mean it. :D
    But in terms of the b-story i have to agree with you. I was not a fan about it and that Kai is beeing a cross between Angie and Jess was the first thougt that came through my head. I am not a big fan of Kai, but maybe it is because i am a Ness-lover and it breaks my heart to see them with other people in love.. but in spite of all it was a great episode, which shows us, that men and women aren't perfect oder the besser sex.

    Hope you will enjoy your vacation! I am looking forward to your next review, which will be a xmas one! :)

    Your faithful fan Aylin :)

    1. Hi there Aylin! Thanks so much for reading the blog, as always. :) I totally understand what you mean as far as girl relationships -- girls are more likely to be sneaky and stab you in the back. Men are a lot less complicated in some regards so being friends with them is usually less about drama and more straightforward.

      Kai really is interesting to me. I'm not sure how I feel about her quite yet, but she's already good because she's Tran's granddaughter and I love Tran!

  2. A comment so offensive to grammar shouldn't even warrant a reply, but you know what? I'll bite.

    That anecdote went over your head, clearly, because the point of it, if you read again, was not to claim that I am an expert on women. Heck, it wasn't even to claim that I KNOW women. It was an anecdote about why I, personally, feel more comfortable around women as my close friends than men. Women get me in a way that men don't often times. We can talk about things like emotions and relationships and trivial things like make-up and hair for HOURS on end. I get why women choose to be in community with other women: because I actively make that same choice. And I know women who are more comfortable having more close male friends than girls (for reasons I explain in the next paragraph with the anecdote of my mom).

    Honestly, this reply is way too thought out for the clear 0.3 seconds you took to read, misinterpret, and fire off insults (seriously? I'm the one who sounds like an idiot?) at that anecdote. Sheesh.