Wednesday, March 9, 2016

New Girl 5x10 "Goosebumps Walkaway" (Sayonara, Sammy)

"Goosebumps Walkaway"
Original Airdate: March 8, 2016

I’m really bad at confronting people about my feelings. I very rarely ever tell guys that I like them — that I have feelings for them. I let them infer and I walk away without them truly knowing what’s going on in my heart and mind. This probably stems from the fact that the guy I was in love with in high school confronted me about my crush on him and told me that he didn’t feel the same. (“Ouch” is the proper sentiment here.) Ever since then, I’ve been too afraid to say anything for fear of being rejected. It’s not logical, but it’s the way that I am in most every circumstance in life. I don’t like confronting things or people if I don’t feel like my conversation will make a difference anyway. I just shut down or shut up.

Reagan is such a bold, forthcoming, dynamic character, but in “Goosebumps Walkaway,” we see the hesitancy in her and we see her fear. She doesn’t want to confront Nick about her feelings for him (once she finally admits to Jess that she is “crazy about him”), and would much rather leave things uncomplicated and unresolved than tell him how she feels and risk involving her heart further. So you have Regan — a woman who guards her heart more heavily than a maximum-security prison — and then you have Jess, the woman who wears her heart on her flouncy dressed sleeve. It makes sense that New Girl would integrate these two into a storyline, especially because “Goosebumps Walkaway” marks the return of Jess and the departure of Reagan. I loved this story between the two women, honestly, and think that it was a great example of how New Girl can be both hilarious and also character-progressing. In the B-story this episode, Schmidt fights against his better instincts for control and perfection in order to just have fun dancing with Cece and Winston.


You’d think that as an avid shipper of Nick/Jess, I would automatically dislike any character who begins a relationship with Nick. But I don’t. Actually, I think the whole Nick/Reagan of it all very nicely set up a future with Nick and Jess again. While in the car on the way to hunt down her mystery juror, Jess tells Reagan that Nick is the kind of person who “sneaks up on you” — you don’t realize you’re falling for him until you’re in the middle of that free fall. Jess is the only person in this circumstance who understands what Reagan is feeling, because she’s felt it too.

The only difference is that Jess embraced her feelings for Nick rather quickly, but Reagan does not. In fact, up until the end of this episode, Reagan guards her heart. She tells Nick — in her own way — that she had feelings for him and that she has to deal with those. But she doesn’t say the words. In spite of this, I feel like Reagan got her own closure and completely grew as a person for knowing Nick, Winston, Schmidt, and Cece. But let’s return to the Jess/Reagan of it all for a moment: I love that the show didn’t set these two women up to be rivals for Nick’s affection. That would have been not only trope-y, but also would have set both women (and feminism) back like, a hundred years.

Instead, there is no malice and no shred of bitterness or jealousy between Jess and Reagan. They bond rather quickly (Reagan more due to her desire to be anywhere but the loft; Jess because she’s... well, JESS), and Jess treats her like a friend, not a stranger. That’s one of the best things about Jessica Day as a character: she doesn’t see anyone as an outsider, and immediately welcomes people into her home. She cares about them and listens to them, giving advice where necessary. Throughout their journey to find this elusive cute juror, Reagan opens up to Jess and Jess confides in Reagan. 

They bond quickly but not unrealistically. Because in spite of their array of differences in personality and how to reveal or suppress emotions, Jess and Reagan have Nick in common. And I think that this is part of the reason why I don’t necessarily always love the idea of a Bechdel test. Because if you were to put this storyline to the test, Jess and Reagan are nearly always talking about men (whether Gary or Nick). But I don’t think that’s a solid foundation for how “feminist” this story is. In fact, it’s one of the most genuine, character-progressing moments for Reagan’s entire arc, and a perfect example of how Jess has grown and continues to develop as her own character in search of happiness. So while these women are, indeed, talking about men, that doesn’t give basis to discount their story or dismiss it as something inferior to anything else.

When it seems way too impossible to track down Gary, Jess becomes defeated. But she doesn’t stay that way for long. Though she is disappointed in her lack of closure, she urges Reagan to not do the same. And you can tell that it strikes something in Reagan — a woman who, much like Coach in last year’s finale, would much rather pack up and leave the “non-essentials” behind to start anew. But what Coach learned then and what Reagan learns in “Goosebumps Walkaway” is the fact that you’re not really starting fresh if you’re leaving things unresolved behind you. All you’re doing is scattering loose threads and calling them a quilt.

Reagan has been such a great character on this show, mostly because we all knew that her presence would be limited, and she did as well. So when a character is only temporary, it poses the problem of how a show can evolve them and how they can give them purpose and weight. New Girl is a great example to look to for the answer to this. The show never set up Nick/Reagan as a potential endgame, and it doesn’t ask us to believe that. We weren’t given a “fake-out” or dangled with the possibility of Jess never coming back. Reagan’s character is one who delights in the temporary, but what happens here is that she’s tempted by the permanent. And her heart is, for the first time in her story arc, put on the line. There are real, emotional consequences to kissing Nick and she’s not prepared to deal with them. She wants to walk away like nothing ever happened, but something has: she’s been changed.

She wears a tacky, bright orange shirt that Jess gave everyone in the airport. Why? Because for as much as Reagan would like to believe she is a lone wolf, she found a pack who loved and accepted her. And that’s something you can’t just walk away from.

On the Nick side of things this week, Nick knows that his romance with Reagan will end. It terrifies him and makes him super nervous (especially when Jess and Reagan hang out and talk), but it doesn’t bother them. While Reagan is actively trying to avoid Nick, Nick is trying to find the perfect way to say goodbye to her — a goosebumps walkaway moment. When Nick explains this to Schmidt, he basically defines it as the moment at the end of a romantic comedy that carries weight — one that makes the love interest turn around and rush back in the airport, or the moment right before a big kiss in the rain. It’s a way for Nick to control his feelings and shift a lot of the emotional weight onto Reagan.

But in the end, Nick’s goosebumps walkaway line (“Sayonara, Sammy”) wasn’t what he wanted after all. He wanted to tell Reagan how he felt. But he, like her, was scared. So in their own way, Nick and Reagan got closure. It was a really beautiful bit of character development for Nick Miller — Nick, who constantly runs away and leaves things unfinished. And though he doesn’t rush to the airport and stop Reagan’s plane, he does take a step forward and confront how he feels. He says goodbye, and even though there’s closure, it’s the good kind of closure. 

I’m really interested to see the rest of Nick’s trajectory this season. He’s grown up a lot since he and Jess split, both in terms of profession and in terms of emotional development. He’s able to face the things that scare him now, even if his instinct will always be to flee. He’s matured and continues to mature, and I think it’s a great way to set up Nick/Jess again down the line. Because I do believe they’ll find their way back to one another. They always do.

Everyone in New Girl is growing up in their own way and at their own pace. That’s not only realistic, but also refreshing to see characters take tiny steps. It reminds us that life isn’t about giant leaps — sometimes it just means putting on a bright orange T-shirt and remembering that you’re not the person you were a few weeks ago. 

And that is beautiful.

Additional de-lovely aspects about the episode include:
  • I’m going to really miss Megan Fox on this show. Brava, New Girl, for creating such a great and memorable character in such a short period of time.
  • Demetri Martin was in this episode as the juror Jess had a crush on and it was so perfect.
  • I learned that technically this episode wasn’t the show’s 100th — that milestone happened on “Reagan.” But it seems like the show wanted to mark its milestone with Jess’ return instead. It’s like that friend who has a birthday at the beginning of the week and then celebrates it the following weekend. By the way, I’ve been that friend.
  • The matching shirts that Jess bought were so perfect.
  • It’s a compliment to this show that there were so many jokes and one-liners in this episode that I couldn’t tweet them fast enough.
  • “I have to address the 800-pound gorilla that is in the room.”
  • The B-plot in this episode involved Schmidt not wanting to dance unless it was perfect because he’s afraid of what others think of him. Cece, meanwhile, wants to have fun and let loose during their first dance. When Winston and Schmidt converse, Winston pinpoints his friend’s problem — he’s let the opinions of others run him around his whole life. In Winston’s opinion, it’s time for Schmidt to stop caring what others think, and only care about how he sees himself. It was a nice little story, but felt a bit odd in an episode already jam-packed with things and plot.
  • The dance studio is called “Reckless Abandance” and I cackled so much reading that.
  • “But then I realized, he’s the only person I’d go into a duct with.” Jess recounting the story of the badger and Cece’s wedding was so great, not just as a callback to the events that have happened on this show but also as a way to remind us of the beauty of Nick/Jess.
  • “Is that adult man afraid of you?” And in that moment, I think Reagan was a teensy bit attracted to Jess.
  • “You know what happens now!” “I don’t want to hug you. I’m not hugging you.”
  • “He calls hand sanitizer ‘ham sanitizer.’” “He calls DNA ‘D and A.’”
  • “What are the odds?” “Exactly 1 in 11, Nick.”
  • “I recognize my motherfreakin’ handwriting.” “... Now THAT was a goosebumps walkaway.”
  • “I missed you, kid.” “I missed you too.”
  • The final scene with everyone dancing together was a picture-perfect encapsulation of why I love this show so much.
What did you all think of this episode? Hit up the comments and let me know!


  1. I love how Nick acknowledged that he was romantic with both Jess and Reagan because they are "top shelf ladies." Awkward and charming and chivalrous all at the same time. Nick Miller is so lovely.