Wednesday, March 2, 2016

New Girl 5x09 Review: "Heat Wave" (You're Hot, Then You're Cold)

"Heat Wave"
Original Airdate: March 1, 2016

You don’t know true misery until you’ve spent an entire summer living in Florida.

Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely love that I live in this state (except when people do absurd things and land themselves on the news, and of course, they’re ALWAYS from Florida). I love that my winters consist of scarves and boots and tights for a few months with no below-freezing temperatures or snow or ice or slush of any kind. I love that I live so close to the beach. I love that Florida sunsets are arguably the most gorgeous there are (fight me on it, I dare you). I love this state. But whenever summer rolls around, I complain endlessly. Because the heat and humidity of Florida makes it feel like someone is smothering you with a down comforter the second you walk out of your house. It might take your entire drive until your air conditioner in the car FINALLY cools your vehicle to a desired temperature. And then, of course, whenever you get into your car, you always play the game of “don’t touch the metal part of the seatbelt or you’ll get a third-degree burn.” The only way to stay cool in the summer is to stay inside or to be submerged in ice water in a pool. Summer in Florida is sticky and gross and you sweat just going outside to retrieve your mail.

Needless to say, I identified with this week’s New Girl episode “Heat Wave,” in which our favorite Californians are without an air conditioner and are desperately trying to stay cool. Though this episode might be my least favorite in our Reagan arc thus far, I still enjoyed it and thought the show did a good job of setting up the Nick/Reagan story quite nicely.


What I really like about the whole Nick/Reagan story is that it mirrors Nick/Jess, but not in a way that’s blatant and intentional, and certainly not in a way that seeks to prove both romantic stories are on the same level. Nick and Jess’ romance will always be more elevated, and contain more depth and history than anything else on the show. So when Reagan began to talk about how much Nick frustrates her, I got shades of Jess’ yelling match during “Fluffer.” I felt that spark when Nick and Reagan kissed, mostly because of the mounting tension that had been presented for a few episodes, akin to the “Cooler” kiss. Erik Adams — who is the only other person I trust to review New Girl and do it justice and I nearly always agree completely with him — noted that though this was “a kiss” it was not, nor will it ever be “THE kiss.” There’s a difference, and the show knows that.

Reagan was introduced as a temporary fix to the issue of Jess being sequestered. And honestly? Megan Fox has been such a delight on this show and fits in so seamlessly with the cast that sometimes I forget she hasn’t always been on New Girl. The reason that she works so well, and the reason that Reagan fills a void that is not identical to Jess’, is because the show is not setting her up to be the end-all-be-all. She’s a hilarious character who is so different from Jess that she fills a gap no one realized was missing. It’s not about replacing or recreating Jess’ absence. The show doesn’t NEED another Jess, nor does it need to bring in someone who pretends to be the kind of character Jess is.

Megan Fox’s dry wit and impeccable dark comedy has been such a joy to watch in contrast to these immensely goofy, weird individuals she finds herself living with. So all of this to say that Reagan is not Jess, nor was she ever meant to be. Which is great. Because we already HAVE one of those. So Nick/Reagan’s story — while having some shades of early Nick/Jess arguing and banter — is less about romance and more about character development on both ends. Reagan softens at the end of this episode, in a beautiful way that only Fox could have portrayed it. We’re so used to seeing Reagan as this tough, sarcastic, mean, and yet somehow still totally endearing female character who is so far-removed from any other character we’ve encountered. And yet, when Nick confesses how he actually feels about her, we see her soften a bit and let a genuine smile crack through. Not a smirk or a teasing grin. But you can tell that she genuinely thinks Nick is sweet and that his gestures are endearing. So she kisses him. And the thing more satisfying than the kiss is the way that Reagan looks back at Nick afterward — as a way to acknowledge that she actually cares about him and isn’t using him. The way that Reagan has subtly been developing emotions and compassion and connections with the loft crew throughout her arc is really great.

And then there’s Nick.

I pointed this out recently, but Nick really hasn’t been in love with anyone since Jess. There was Tran’s granddaughter Kai, but she was so short-lived (and rarely seen on screen, to boot) that it hardly felt meaningful when they broke up. But with Reagan, Nick is different. He’s uncertain and self-conscious and he’s the weirdest he’s ever been. And that’s what’s so significant to me. It means that Nick is starting to recognize parts of himself that he needs to in order to fully grow. His break-up with Jess messed him up a lot more than it messed her up. And if that isn’t obvious by the way he sees and conducts himself during this arc, I don’t know what is. While Jess has fallen in love (and seriously) since she and Nick broke up, Nick really hasn’t. In a lot of ways, he’s been trying to move on but it’s been hard. There’s a stumbling block and that stumbling block is his confidence.

Throughout most of this Reagan arc, Nick has been unwilling to admit he has feelings for Reagan. I’ve been in Nick’s place — it’s scary. If you admit your feelings for someone aloud, they become real. And that means they have to be dealt with. Nick is REALLY bad at dealing with his feelings, even when he was with Jess. This is the guy who panic moonwalks away from conversations about everything. And up until the very end of “Heat Wave,” Nick refuses to admit that he has feelings for Reagan. Why? Because it terrifies him. Because he sees himself as inferior, because he’s been on the receiving end of a “not good enough” speech way too many times before and doesn’t want to hear it again. He even tells Reagan as much, by calling himself a mess. I think Nick has a lot of self-esteem issues that need to be worked through, but that Reagan kissing him is the best first step that could be taken.

Because she kisses him, he begins to realize that he’s worthy again, not because of how many dollars he has in his account or how well he can improvise an air conditioner. He’s worthy because of who he is. Reagan is beautiful and snarky and could have kissed anyone, but chose Nick. And I think that she knows he needs this as much as she does. (She needs Nick to ground her because it’s far too easy to make jokes and snarky, biting retorts — but Nick helps humanize Reagan in a way I’m sure not many others have.)

I know that Nick/Reagan won’t last (mainly because Megan Fox is a guest star), but even though I’m a hardcore Nick/Jess shipper and feel like the show will make them an endgame couple, I appreciate what Reagan has brought into Nick’s life. Their kiss in this episode felt satisfying in a way that also allows me to appreciate both characters. That’s good writing!


Our B-plot this episode is probably one of the reasons this episode was the weakest of the Reagan arc for me. Though I absolutely love Winston/Cece/Schmidt stories, the pacing in “Heat Wave” felt off (the story began with Reagan already solving a problem, and the rest of the episode was a slow, bumpy build-up to a kiss we already saw coming from the beginning), and their story together was mostly filler. Still, it allowed me to appreciate the fact that Schmidt is really growing as a person. He wants to support Cece in whatever she does, and he respects her boundaries when she says she doesn’t want to audition for a news anchor position. Winston — intent on trying out his new “cop voice” — tells Schmidt that he can’t just let Cece waffle and bail on things she’s committed to. And when Cece continues to make excuses for why she doesn’t want to go to the audition, Winston manages to break her and she reveals that she’s scared she won’t be good enough. Though it’s definitely a good conflict to have (since it parallels Schmidt’s feelings of insecurity in a lot of ways), the conflict just kind of fell flat to me. Later, Schmidt tries to use Winston’s cop voice to scare Cece into auditioning, which only backfires and leads her to be upset instead. In spite of her anger, Cece does go to the audition and Schmidt apologizes for the way he pushed her. I love the way that this relationship has been written recently, and think that while this episode’s story felt like mostly filler (or set-up for Cece as a news anchor before the season’s end), these three characters — Winston, Cece, and Schmidt — always work so perfectly together.

“Heat Wave” was an episode that proved that characters need each other to make themselves better, even when they can’t see that they need people. It was an episode that set up Nick to become more confident and Schmidt more compassionate. It paved the way for a reason for us to miss Reagan when she leaves, and gave Cece a more focused career path. And it let Winston be Winston. I can’t ask for much more than that, really.

Additional de-lovely aspects about the episode include:
  • I’m going to really miss Reagan. I believe next week is her last week, and I’m surprised at how perfectly Megan Fox fit in with this cast and show. I definitely wouldn’t be upset if she returned in the future.
  • “You know, science aside... you’re workin’ those jeans.”
  • Reagan during the riot was SO funny. And also hilariously on-par for what we know of her as a character.
  • “What are you? Her big-bosomed grandma?”
  • Lamorne Morris is always an all-star. He doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves for being so consistently funny. One of the best moments includes him practicing his cop voice in the mirror.
  • “Please excuse our immediate, but correct, response.”
  • “You’re hallucinating.” “No, I’m ha-truth-inating.”
  • Nick talking about how he hopes Winston’s cat gets crushed by the air conditioner. I cannot even.
  • “Do you have a cranberry stuck in your ear again?” I absolutely LOVE how great New Girl is at creating callbacks to its past episodes. This one was a delightful trip down memory lane to “Santa.”
  • Megan Fox did a HILARIOUS voice while pretending to be a rat to scare Nick.
  • “Heroes don’t wear capes.”
  • Any episode that features Jake Johnson’s girlish Nick Miller scream is a great episode in my book.
  • “Stop being so whimsical, Winston.”
  • Cece’s drunk audition was SO great.
What did you all think of “Heat Wave”? Are you sad to see Megan Fox leave soon? Hit up the comments below and let me know your thoughts!


  1. Oh, I'm SO sad to see Megan leave! I've been a fan of hers for years (she's a decent actress but I love her persona a lot more) so it was a nice change to see her in this new role. One may argue that she's playing the "hot chick" again, but I differ. It's a shame that we've only got her for five episodes because we could've seen more growth, and I think people needed that to relate to her.
    Still, I'm glad that she came. I stopped watching NG before the s2 premiere because I didn't have time for it and then I kind of forgot about it, but her coming up made me bingewatch and fall in love over again with the characters, which was appreciated.

    And about her character... you see, after watching her first episode I thought she had really good chemistry with Winston/Lamorne and while I suspect I thought that because I know Nick and Jess will be endgame, the thought of a Reagan/Winston relationship made me smile. But now, seeing her with Nick (who in relationships is very like Nick), yeah. I can see them together - even if it's for a short time. I agree 100% with everything you said about the two of them, and that gives me hope in case we get to see Reagan again before this season ends (Liz said they want her to guest again) because that'd mean that, if she stays around, both characters can fully frown personally + as a couple. I suspect she'll be back for Schmece's wedding, so there's that.

    I don't know if she'll be back more than what I suspect, but I wonder if Liz & co. have thought about making her a regular in season 6, in case there's one (I'm optimistic) but I'd love to have her back full time. I hope her and Jess have good chemistry because that's so important. I miss Coach (never thought I would), and I think people would actually love Reagan. Like you said, she fits in perfectly.

    1. Too many typos. Sorry! It's really hard to write all this on the phone. :*