Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Girl 6x14 Review: "The Hike" (Cousins and Party Disasters)

"The Hike"
Original Airdate: January 24, 2017

One of my best friends, Kate, told me a theory she had about relationships that I’ve cherished to this day. In every relationship, she said, there is a cat and a dog. What she meant by that wasn’t literal, of course. She meant that in well-functioning relationships, there’s always a balance between partners — one is generally more extroverted; one is more introverted. One is more outgoing; one is more reserved. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, of course, but I’ve found it to be pretty true as I’ve aged. The best romantic relationships I’ve witnessed happen between a cat (like my friend Kate, who prefers to be alone and has a handful of good, close relationships) and a dog (her husband, Kris, who is — as Kate says — rather like the dog from Up who meets you and immediately becomes your friend; he loves going places and doing things). That’s because relationships are all about balance. If you’re too similar, you’re essentially dating yourself. You don’t have anyone to challenge you, to think differently from you, or to push you. If, on the other hand, you’re too dissimilar, there’s a constant tension and conflict.

Jess has dated two kinds of people — those pretty similar to her (Robby, Paul, Ryan) and those dissimilar to her (Nick, Sam). I, personally, feel like Jess works best with Nick and always will. They’re dissimilar enough that they agree on certain things, while also disagreeing on others. The way “The Hike” ends with these two reminds us of that: of course Jess would hate everything but the raisins in the trail mix, and of course Nick would love the raisins. They complement one another perfectly. But this episode wasn’t about Nick and Jess — it was about Robby and Jess, and the fact that they discover they’re related (I know). Thankfully, this is only the B-plot and the A-plot revolves around Winston preparing a surprise homecoming party for Aly. It doesn’t go well.


I’ll be upfront and say that I’m disappointed because usually New Girl is stellar and solid, and the past two weeks have been disappointing. That’s not to say there weren’t elements of the episode that I appreciated — I loved getting the chance to watch Nick wax poetic about Winston, after all. But as a whole, “The Hike” was kind of a flop. Isolating Jess from the main story with Robby — whom we like, but really don’t care THAT much about — was a misstep.

Winston’s preparing for Aly’s return with a surprise party that features all of her family and friends. He initially plans for it to be at the loft, but Schmidt rejects that idea and notes that he can have the party at his and Cece’s new house. It’s still not totally done, but the few rooms that are can be used as a party space. Before everyone arrives, Schmidt and Cece decide that they’re going to ease up on the rules and lessen the reins a bit on controlling the party. They both want to be the house that’s fun, welcoming, and people want to return to. Schmidt, of course, is already having issues with being the “fun” house, considering how strict and rigid he is about behavior and cleanliness. But he agrees to try. When Aly arrives at the party and sees all of her family and friends (which concern Schmidt and Cece because there are a LOT of people in their home and they begin to ruin things), she’s not as thrilled. In fact, she’s kind of mad.

Winston doesn’t understand — he was just trying to do something nice. And while Aly commends him for that, she says that being around her family drives her crazy, and she doesn’t want him to see her like that. Winston tells her that it’ll be okay, but soon enough, Aly proves her point: she blows up at her sister in a rather vicious screaming match. Winston is horrified, and Aly runs off.

Meanwhile, Nick is tasked (it’s a self-induced task) with talking up Winston to the partygoers in order to make him seem fun and endearing. As you might surmise, it goes about as well as Nick making up a story can go — he fumbles his way through an anecdote and then just starts making up stories of Winston’s fake heroics, including saving a wheelchair-bound boy from a fire. When the pressure of maintaining the story becomes too much, Nick retreats to Schmidt and Cece’s garage to hide out. As it turns out, it’s a popular hiding spot — the couple retreats there too when they become overwhelmed with their guests and their various party indecencies.

Finally, Winston decides to combat Aly’s weirdness with his own, and stands up on the table in front of the party spouting off all the strange things he does. (Just in time, of course, for Aly’s parents to walk in and meet him.) It’s a really sweet moment, because it’s clear just how perfect Aly and Winston are for one another and how much he loves her.

And ultimately, while they wanted to be the cool house, it was fun to see Schmidt and Cece break down and bark at their partygoers to take off their shoes and use coasters. Hilariously, Cece also joins in this yelling and it proves that while they’re opposite in a lot of ways, Schmidt has begun to rub off on his wife a little bit.


This episode focuses on the fact that Robby and Jess are really similar. Schmidt makes mention of it a few times in the episode’s cold open, as does Winston. But that’s about where the meat of the episode actually begins and ends. While on a hike, Robby and Jess get deterred by inclement weather and hide out in a cave where they discover that they’re related — third cousins, actually — which grosses both of them out. Needless to say, they break up at the end of the episode and Jess, I think, realizes that she doesn’t need someone who is identical in personality and in interests to her. She needs someone who challenges and affirms her — not just someone who does the same things she does.

I hope she finds that person (ahem, Nick), and I hope that the episode in which she finally realizes who she wants (ahem, Nick) is better-written and paced than “The Hike” was. I wish there was more to say about this episode, but the surface-level plot isn’t really my jam, and I feel like this is the first time in a long time in which there wasn’t much to read into in terms of the storylines.

Here’s to hoping that a hike and a party have taught our characters SOMETHING about their lives.

And now, bonus points:
  • “That’s the second time this week you’ve compared yourself to Andi MacDowell. It’s weird.”
  • “It’s 6:30. Babies are awake!”
  • Winston and Nick role-playing handshakes was the best.
  • “You’re the writer.” “That’s the gift I was given.”
  • I’m pretty sure that Max Greenfield deserves awards for the way he randomly yells “china!” in this episode.
  • “Why did you let me chase a waterfall?! You KNOW what TLC says.”
  • Winston reveals a few things about him at Aly’s surprise dinner. He has inside jokes with his cat, is a member of The Puzzling Guild of North America, shaves his face cold, and brushes his teeth hot.
What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. you've got a little bit of a typo mentioning that nick & jess are related! i think you meant robby. haha. but other than that, this review was better than the episode itself. that small moment between nick and jess really carried the episode, as well as winston's speech on the table

    1. Thank you for catching that! Fixed it. :)

      And I agree wholeheartedly about the episode. That party story carried it and the Nick/Jess scene gave me hope.