Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Girl 6x02 Review: "Hubbedy Bubby" (Let's Make Voting Cool Again!)

"Hubbedy Bubby"
Original Airdate: September 27, 2016

In case you all have been asleep for, oh, the last year or so, it’s election season in America. On Monday night, the much-anticipated first presidential debates were held. And while the night ended with me rage-tweeting, the truth is that the presidential race this year is a really difficult one to ignore. So it stands to reason that because this is such a big deal for us watching, it would also be a big deal for our favorite fictional characters. Television shows have been going meta for years — making comments on real-world events almost in real-time is nothing new for the landscape of entertainment. And while most of the time those little meta moments are played as one-liners or jokes, occasionally there are entire episodes of television built around them in order to not only make us laugh (and perhaps more self-aware), but to reveal truths about television characters.

And that's exactly what “Hubbedy Bubby” did, but in a totally unexpected way.


To be honest, I was a little bit worried that New Girl wouldn't be able to pull off a political episode without it feeling out-of-touch for the tone of show (it typically utilizes political figures as one-liners or as a basis for a small story, like the one with Schmidt pretending he is a Romney). Thankfully, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Not only was this episode’s A-story important in terms of learning more unique life lessons, bringing us a Jess/Cece-centric story (that we haven't really seen since “A Chill Day In”), and commenting on current events, but it was also incredibly funny. Though the story might not have had a great resolution with the sorority house, the important thing was that Cece learned how to have a voice — and she learned that all from Jess.

I love that New Girl chose to flip this life lesson on its head, as it has done with so many other stories before (mostly in regards to Schmidt freaking out about things and events that women usually freak out about). Because the truth is that Jessica Day is typically presented as the meeker of the two women. She’s the one with the bright dresses, sunny disposition, and job around children. By contrast, Cece has usually been depicted as the tough model-turned-bartender who takes no crap from others. In her most vulnerable moments, though, we realize that Cece is strong and independent, but she’s also got a lot more insecurities than she lets people see. She wants the people in her life to be proud of her. And the two people she wants most to never let down? Jess and Schmidt.

The A-story presented in “Hubbedy Bubby” is focused on Jess and Cece trying to get people — particularly younger people, but anyone really — to vote for Hillary. Jess is overzealous, as she always is, and anxious to recruit new people. In a flashback, we see that she’s always been this way: a believer in democracy and giving power to the people. The flashback is adorable, and all of this is totally in-line with what we know to be true about Jessica Day, an overeager, bright, idealistic feminist woman who wants to change the world. It’s nice to see her return to this idealism and activism, and the whole story is a great catalyst for character growth in Cece who is waiting on her college acceptance letter. She’s not as enthusiastic about this letter’s arrival as Schmidt and Jess are, though. And really, they’re more enthusiastic about her future as a collegiate than anyone.

I love that we get the return of indecisive Cece. She says at the end of the episode that she wants both Jess and Schmidt to be proud of her and support her, to which they both agree that they’ll ALWAYS support her. But I commend Cece for finding her voice — she learned that from Jess’ drunk monologue atop a sorority house balcony! — and for gently shutting down Jess and Schmidt’s future plans for her. Those two can be really intense, if you haven’t already noticed. They’re both planners, who are detail-oriented and plan out every move they make. Perhaps that’s why stories between Schmidt and Jess either involve them butting heads or achieving some random goal together.

Cece, by contrast, has always been the woman who makes decisions based on how she feels and what she wants, whether or not that aligns with society’s expectations for her. The decisions aren’t always easy, but they’re always HERS. Cece never lets anyone push her into making a decision that she doesn’t actually want, and I admire that “Hubbedy Bubby” is an episode where Cece is empowered by her female best friend to make a decision, and that her husband is supportive of her — no matter what.

On Jess’ side of the story this week, what starts off as a bet to get signatures (if she gets a certain number of them, Schmdit has agreed to vote for Hillary; if she does not, she has to vote for Winston) turns into a lesson in disappointment and ultimately success very reminiscent of “Clavado En Un Bar.”

In that episode, Jess spent time in the bar reflecting on her job as a teacher. When she realizes that one of her students turned out to be a total disaster, she begins to question whether or not she’s even a good teacher. It’s Cece who reassures her that she is — because Jess was the one to tutor her; Cece was her first student, and she was successful.

Similarly, this episode features Jess and Cece trying to get signatures from a sorority house. The ladies end up getting drunk, but acquire a lot of signatures from the house. ... None of which, however, are the girls’ real names. Frustrated at the lack of care, Jess gives a rousing (albeit slightly drunk) speech atop the sorority house balcony where she explains why it’s important that everyone have their own voice and why the election matters. Jess is the kind of character who cares deeply about everyone and everything, no matter whether or not the cause is big or small. So it makes sense that as a staunch feminist and believer in democracy that she would enter canvassing with as much idealism as she did two years ago when trying to stop the delivery of the Chinese restaurant menus to apartment 4D (“Menus”).

And of course, it also makes sense that this optimism would be dashed in some way. I commend New Girl for not only providing us with Jess’ rousing speech, but also with the revelation after she’s inspired a bunch of women that these women are voting for Trump because they really like Ivanka (and her shoes). Jess feels completely and totally defeated — her whole purpose was to empower women for Hillary, but as Cece reminds her, she DID empower those women. Just maybe not in the way she initially hoped. Most important of all though, Jess empowered her best friend to have a voice.

What I really love about New Girl can be summed up in these stories — characters learn so many lessons, but not often the ones they expect to hear or even want to her. Nevertheless, “Hubbedy Bubby” ends with so many characters being changed and empowered. And that’s the best thing I could hope for with a New Girl episode.

And now, bonus points:
  • This episode was downright hilarious, which makes sense because it was the same woman who wrote “A Chill Day” in, which I referenced earlier in the review. Kudos to you, Sarah Tapscott for writing great stories of female empowerment that are also fantastically funny.
  • The B-ish story in the episode was about Nick and Winston dealing with long-distance relationships and Winston teaching Nick how to spice up his love life. It was about as great as you can hope a Winston/Nick story to be, and was also really sweet at the end. The C-ish story of the episode involved Schmidt’s frustration with his roommates’ disorder and his obsessive need to organize. When he goes to the Hillary Clinton volunteer campaign center, he’s mistaken for a volunteer. And for as Republican as Schmidt is, there’s one thing he cannot ignore: disorganization. So he spends the rest of his time organizing envelopes and papers. He just can’t help himself which is hilarious and wonderful to watch. Unfortunately, when he’s asked to man the phones, Schmidt’s Republicanism comes out in full-swing and... well, it’s all downhill from there.
  • Schmidt calls the roommates “railway cats” in this episode and I cackled so hard at that line.
  • In case you thought that because Schmidt is a Republican that he would be voting for Trump, his words were: “Nor am I voting for that flip-flopping helmet-head in a pantsuit.” Schmidt is, however, totally aboard the #PaulRyan2020 train.
  • “Game on, you Republican minx.”
  • The supercut of Nick calling Reagan was HILARIOUS.
  • “Tell Jess I’m not surprised and her whispers are like screams.”
  • “THIS IS MY NIGHTMARE.” Nick has yelled this in episodes before (I’m pretty sure “The 23rd” was one instance), and it will never get less funny.
  • This week marked the return of someone calling Jess “Jessica Damn Day” and I will forever love that it’s a thing between these people to call her that.
  • “I just panic-ordered $200’s worth of Chinese food.” NICK MILLER, EVERYONE.
  • Just some of the gems that Nick wrote to Winston while he was in Latvia: “I screamed your name at the ocean today. Then I ate a sandwich that tasted like your smile,” and “Every moment you’re on this earth is a moment I know where you are.”
  • “Someone just jump the curb and hit me now, please.”
What did you all think of this week’s episode? Would you vote for Winston? Sound off in the comments below!


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