Episode 15: Cooler
By: Carlos Uribe
New Girl is a show about Jess and her three best friends (Winston, Nick, and Schmidt)
I'm going to begin this review by talking about Brenda Song. She's an actress who portrayed London Tipton on the Suite Life of Zach and Cody (and it's spin-off). I was a bit too old by the time Zach and Cody came out actually watch it but I caught quite a bit of episodes when I was forced to watch kids. It's a show that I picked partly because of her-she was able to take the weak jokes and flat character into a surprisingly funny and shockingly three-dimensional character. She's now graduated from Disney Channel and venturing into more mature roles. It should come as no surprise that she's finding success. This is all to state that I didn't recognize her at all when she appeared as Daisy. It's not just that the character is completely different from Tipton but because she simply looked different. She looked more like an adult than a teenager. It wasn't until after that I found out that she was in this episode. So who is Daisy? She's a character that pretends to be taken so that guys won't bother to hit on her at bars. She agrees to help build Winston's confidence so he can hit on ladies. That Brenda Song is able to become this character so effortlessly is a true testament to her acting skills. The character itself isn't that fleshed out yet by the writers but there's a sense she's a three-dimensional character due to the actress. I don't talk much about casting but the right choice for a character can really make them come alive. Brenda Song was the right choice. As for the Winston plot, it made sense from what we know about the character and it was funny if a typical comedy plot down to it's predictable twist. This was only a small sub-plot on an episode that many fans might remember.
Why might they remember this? It's an episode where Jess and Nick kiss. There is a lot of build-up to this and the show pretends that the kiss isn't going to happen. It all begins when the guys decide to go to bars to pick up the girls without Jess. This is because she tends to act as Nick's “cooler”. If you're not familiar with the term, it's where Jess inadvertently causes a situation that stops Nick from being able to seal the deal. While they're at the bar, Jess is forced to stay at home by herself. She's completely bored as she has nothing to do. Her attempts to entertain herself are hilarious and one of the best montages this show has done. The montage ends when Jess freaks out when she hears strange noises coming from the door. She starts to freak out because logic flew out the window as soon as she heard the noises. She tries to call Sam and Cece but they aren't available so she's forced to call Nick and Schmidt for help. Of course, she decides to call just as Nick was trying to impress her. This girl, Holly, is strangely attracted to sadness so he actually had a shot at her. That he's competing with Schmidt for the girl amps up the stakes so that Jess is able to call at just the wrong moment. Everyone is forced to come into the apartment to try and save her only to confirm their suspicions she was merely overreacting to nothing.
It doesn't come as a surprise when Jess decides to try and save the day by trying to push Nick and Holly together. This involves a game of True American that is just as epic and hilarious as I remember it. The characters all try to take advantage of the game's confusing rules in order to try and manipulate them to their advantage. Jess tries to use the game to push Nick and Holly into being together while Schmidt uses it as an excuse to take his shirt off to try and attract Holly. The game itself becomes a competition with a prize: Holly. This backfires on Nick and Jess when Holly doesn't get what's happening. Nick and Jess are forced to go to a room in the loft and they aren't allowed to leave until they kiss. They don't at this point as Nick escapes through the window when the situation got too awkward. The development that he didn't want his first kiss to Jess be because of this was a surprising one for Jess because it established the possibility for her that he might have feelings for her. It seems like the episode was going to be content with this and hold them from coming together for a future episode. It makes sense: this is what television has successfully done for the last few decades.
There has been a recent trend to break the traditional “will-they-won't-they” by having them end surprisingly early. There's nothing wrong with this as dragging it out too long can be hazardous as evidenced by Bones. Castle's decision to bring the couple together made sense since there were four whole seasons of the chase. It truly seemed like New Girl was going to take it's time but then Nick did something surprising. Nick's character had supposedly gained confidence when he accidentally received a woman's coat and wore it for most of the episode. This confidence carried over even after he lost the coat as he actually made out with Jess. He finishes the kiss by stating that's what he meant by earlier when he said he didn't want their first kiss to be because of a game. Nick is able to act slightly out-of-character because of two reasons. The first is that the coat's confidence lasted long enough for him to do something this risky and the second is because the whole season has been about getting him to break out of his shell. This development with the coat is enough to justify his decision to go ahead and kiss Jess like that.
It does make for a cliff-hanger ending that might shift a change for the show's direction. Will Jess and Nick get together? How will this kiss change their roommate dynamic? It's a bold step for the show to take but I believe it's ready to shake up the status quo in such a significant way. Cooler is an episode that will probably be remembered for that kiss but it's good enough to stand on it's own before it. Overall, it was a hilarious episode that worked really well because it concentrated on the relationships between the friends.
Jess interrupting Cece's date is a great moment that reflects how she can also be a cooler in Cece's life. That this leads to Cece being forced to admit to Schmidt she still loved him so he can get some action only ruins her date further-all inadvertently caused by Jess. Genius.