Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Girl 5x08 Review: "The Decision" (Let the Decider Decide)


"The Decison"
Original Airdate: February 23, 2016

My friends and I are notoriously bad at making decisions. We will literally go back and forth for upwards of twenty minutes via group text message, trying to decide a place to eat. I’m an extremely indecisive person because I’m very much of a type-A personality — I like to organize my decisions and have enough time to think about and choose the best one. While this is great for long-term planning my goals and budget, it’s not so great for making a decision about where to eat dinner and at what time.

I’m not alone, though, as this episode of New Girl focuses on how bad Winston and Nick are at making decisions. Actually though, “The Decision” doesn’t really involve much decision-making for the majority of the episode. And I think that’s kind of the point. The fun of the episode isn’t in the decision that Winston and Nick make in regards to Reagan or the decision Schmidt and Cece make about their wedding venue. The fun is in everything that leads up to those decisions.

I AM THE DECIDER OF US THREE!


(Like I could watch this episode and NOT reference Nick’s epic meltdown in “Parking Spot.”)

Nick and Winston both have the same reasoning for why they don’t make decisions — fear. Nick hasn’t dated in a long time (well, by television standards at least) and his last serious girlfriend was Jess. It’s actually really interesting, because Jess’ last serious boyfriend wasn’t Nick; it was Ryan. But though Nick briefly dated Tran’s granddaughter, that relationship wasn’t really that serious to begin with. So it’s really interesting to me that Nick still – in many ways – hasn’t really moved on from Jess as much as she has from him. And the thing that’s holding him back from doing so might very well be his fear of not being good enough for someone like Reagan.

Nick’s a super insecure person, and sometimes it manifests itself in the way that he behaves and in his relationships. Clearly Nick has a crush on Reagan and doesn’t believe that he is good enough to be with her, so he becomes the most awkward human being on the planet around her. When Reagan becomes fed-up with Nick and Winston’s inability to choose a brunch place, she proposes something outrageous to them: she’ll sleep with one of them by the end of the day. But only if they can decide which one.

Schmidt and Cece watch, horrified, and then ask Reagan (once Nick and Winston depart) whether or not she was serious. In a move that is absolutely perfect, Reagan says that she just wants to mess with them and see how far she can take this, believing (accurately) that neither of them will actually be able to choose. And she’s right. While Nick and Winston initially come to a decision of who will sleep with Reagan, Nick decides to break his deal toward the middle of the episode. It’s hilarious, especially because there is a scene in which Nick and Winston fight while spraying cologne all over themselves.

We haven’t gotten a strictly Nick/Winston story recently that reminds us of the fact that they’re childhood friends, but the crux of Nick’s decision to let Winston sleep with Reagan is because in middle school, Nick broke a pact and made out with someone Winston liked. (The whole pact and breaking of it felt so reminiscent of Ross and Chandler’s in “The One Where the Stripper Cries,” honestly.) I love that Winston and Nick have been friends for so long that they’ve adopted one another’s quirks and habits and function, often, as one unit in a way that Schmidt and Nick don’t. (The fun in that pairing is usually how much they clash.)

I really enjoyed this story, especially the fact that the whole plot wasn’t about sleeping with Reagan at all. It was about making decisions, and neither of the decisions Nick or Winston made ended up involving sleeping with her at all. Winston realized he has feelings for Aly, and Nick realized that he wouldn’t want to sleep with Reagan under the pretenses she set. It was a moment of growth for both characters, who often use their indecisiveness as a way to avoid responsibility and consequences. Winston and Nick both learned how to become more decisive people in the episode, even if what they ended up deciding to do went against their natures. Nick hasn’t been with someone in a long time and it would have been easy for him to take Reagan up on her offer. But he made the harder decision and walked away, realizing that he’s confident enough in himself now and wants to do things the “right” way. Meanwhile, Winston finally decided to put himself out there with a person who is his work partner. That, in and of itself, is terrifying. But then, also, factor in that this is WINSTON. Last week, he described all of the ways he’s been broken up with.

Winston doesn’t put his heart on the line anymore because he’s done it in every relationship and it’s only ended poorly for him (twice with him being cheated on in recent years). So it makes sense that he would be hesitant to make any sort of decision once he realizes that the REAL decision he wants to make is holding him back from everything else. Winston’s confidence though at the end of the episode (even if he’s shot down) is so important to me. Because even though he doesn’t get what he hoped for, he doesn’t stop hoping. And that’s just such a Winston Bishop thing to do.


IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS


Our favorite character to hate has returned to Schmidt and Cece’s lives as they’re looking for wedding venues. Benjamin — the man who tortured and continues to torture Schmidt — and his fiancĂ© are looking to book the priciest and fanciest establishment for their wedding. It also just so happens to be Schmidt’s dream venue. But without the support of Cece’s mother, financially the two can’t afford it and prepare to walk away before they’re taunted by Benjamin.

I love the Schmidt/Cece arc this season. These two are so supportive of one another and are each others’ anchors. This episode saw Cece supporting Schmidt because she knew something was important and valuable to him, just like Schmidt supported Cece in “Big Mama P.” Their relationship has grown so much over the years and remains — in this season — one of the foundations of the show. Not only was the moment that Schmidt walked away from his dream venue upon realizing that he only needed Cece a great moment of character growth, but it was also really well-executed. There was a perfect blend of humor and heart in this story that was indicative of the show in general.

New Girl’s fifth season is stellar, even in the absence of its titular “new girl.” I think it’s because the show has finally and totally realized what it is — a comedy about normalcy and adulting. The character go through things that any of us could, and they manage to grow because of (and sometimes in spite of) their circumstances. 

Additional de-lovely aspects about the episode include:
  • Why isn’t everyone talking about this season of New Girl?! It’s the most consistently hilarious show on television these days.
  • I’ve said it already in other reviews, but Megan Fox is so great in this show. The way that she can deliver sarcasm is probably one of the best things Reagan as a character and Fox as an actress. I really love her inclusion in the show and the loft. The opening sequence with her deadpanning about brunch was fantastic, and the moment of trying to seduce Nick left me giggling so hard.
  • My favorite thing in the world is cold opens that end on something hilarious and then continue right after the title card. Like this one!
  • Schmidt referring to himself as a “sexual barracuda” is so great.
  • Nick listens to the conversation between Reagan, Cece, and Schmidt with his ear to a paper cup at the door. That says literally everything you need to know about Nicholas Miller.
  • “Well get ready for the skin circus, you little peanut.”
  • The wedding venue montage was HILARIOUS, especially Schmidt’s allergies at the barn and the reference to Mumford & Sons.
  • “First of all, dibs can’t be singular.”
  • I will never think of Benjamin by his actual name. To me, he forever will be known as Todd from Community.
  • “You have kind eyes.” I really and truly love how the show included Nasim Pedrad. Her appearances are frequent enough to where I enjoy her presence, but not so frequent that I’m tired of her.
  • Let’s all take a moment to revel in Max Greenfield’s facial expressions during the scene where Cece makes up a story about how she and Schmidt met (and are cousins).
  • “I started from the bottom, now I’m here.” Between this and last week’s Beyonce singalong, I’m so in love with Nick Miller at the moment.
  • (And then the panic moonwalk returned and everything was right in my world.)
  • “Officer DOWN... to meet your boyfriend.”
  • The return of Nick’s horrible “dead dad pass” sweatsuit was so perfect.
  • “You know, everyone dies. Maybe he’ll die.” I laughed SO hard at this line, especially because it was just loud enough to hear but not so loud that it was the focus of the mumblings between the group.
  • Slow-motion “Motown Philly” might be one of the best things New Girl has done yet.
What did you all think of “The Decision”? Tweet me or hit up the comments and let me know!

3 comments:

  1. Hey Jen, its me - Aylin from Germany, i commented new girl reviews for a few months. So i think this season is amazing, and in also think that megan is good in it, but there are sooo many parallels between the relationahip between nick and reagan and the relationship between nick and jess. Like that thing between nick and jess (which in hope so bad is already there) was nothing special. What do you think?

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  2. It would be great if you answer bc they are my otp and i cant think at the moment :D

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    1. Hi there! I think that Erik Adams' review of this week's episode says everything about the show slightly paralleling Nick/Reagan with Nick/Jess far better than I could. :) http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/new-girls-heat-wave-saves-steamiest-stuff-last-232982

      And I'm totally not worried, for the record!

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