The universe of New Girl is becoming an evermore interesting place. Love is no longer just an opportunity for jokes about Cece’s breasts; Schmidt is a source of drama and pain, instead of merely, well, jokes about Cece’s breasts; Winston is at once the most AND least normal roommate in the loft; and Nick and Jess are educating America on how to be sex-positive. It’s all weird, and it’s all messy, but it’s also all good.
Winston continues to be excessively into his cat as a substitute for having real plot-lines, making everyone feel weird about cat sexuality, cat bachelor parties, and “girl cat parts”. Schmidt thinks it’s a real bummer, though it does lead to a potential human relationship – except for the fact that Winston has no inkling of this potentiality. Bummer. Amidst his cat-related craziness, Winston’s also the source of this week’s interpersonal logic, spelling out the stupidity of Schmidt’s current situation and helping Nick and Jess work through their emotional issues.
Schmidt’s devious, pie-faced threats from last week were not forgotten. He gets inside Nick’s head with talks of love and sweating and over-thinking. Nick and Jess try very hard and very weird to get things back in working order to no avail, while Schmidt revels in his temporary success. After getting into Nick’s head, he turns his focus to Jess, pushing her to do some weird, creatively censored bedroom stuff involving sea captains and dolphin sounds. (How does Jess have sex with all that eye make-up on? It must be super waterproof. And her bangs never get sweaty! Does she keep a can of dry shampoo under her pillow?)
But Schmidt does have a point in the end: Nick and Jess have communication problems. Jess talks too much, and Nick doesn’t talk enough. But much to his own surprise, Schmidt’s attempts at sabotage lead to strengthening, rather than weakening. Nick gets stronger, and as a result, he and Jess get stronger together. It’s a sweet moment between these two; like a gentler, more tender version of last week’s Jess trivia fest (where we found out that she was super into Weird Al and that she may grow another 18 inches in adulthood). Nick’s big personal spill was funny, but so lovely – choirs and memories of mothers and musty attic smell… Love is turning Nick into a mushy bag of actual human emotions. But sincerity can only last for about three minutes at a time in the sarcasm-steeped waters of youthful comedy, so it’s no surprise that Nick takes it beyond sweet into ridiculously saccharine. But it’s still cute and funny, so the pay-off is there.
Speaking of sincerity, I feel like the genuine enjoyment that Jess and Nick find in each other sexually is really something special. Sex scenes on TV too often fall into one of three categories: Steamy bodice-rippers, wink-wink behind-closed-doors PG affairs, and begrudging marriage duties. But “New Girl”’s writers are giving us a new brand of sex. It started with Cece and Schmidt’s ever-evolving, acrobatic affair, and is now continuing with Nick and Jess’s shared sexual awakening. The writers are making sure their quirky sex is a consistently source of comedy, but it’s also something bigger. It’s a prime example of how sex-positivity on TV should work.
Being sex-positive doesn’t mean showing as many nipples as possible, or portraying every single sexual position in graphic detail. It’s about letting the weird stuff be weird, and letting a couple be okay with their own weirdness. The sex on “New Girl” is exploratory, fun, and completely non-judgemental. Even when one party does something the other doesn’t like, it’s never reacted to with negativity. Nick and Jess are two of the most sex-positive TV characters in recent memory. I think Dan Savage would be proud of their “good, giving, and game” approach. It’s kind of life-affirming when comedy can manage to be both funny and also emotionally positive in some way; I think “New Girl” is striking that balance nicely.
So, what did you think of this week’s episode? Have you ever “banana-ed it”? Do you feel motivated to have sincerely weird sex?
Hannah McIlveen is a freelance graphic designer and TV-obsessed writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up riding horses and reading Roald Dahl books, got an art degree, and then spent the next several years moving around the country and watching television. Her greatest goals in life are to write good stuff, produce a web series, build a house with her husband, and have six cats at once. Hannah has contributed to BitchMagazine.org and is a staff blogger for the soon-to-launch TeenSized.com. She also writes her own daily blog, Click Watch Write. Hannah can be accosted on Twitter @ClickWatchWrite.