Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

Review: 'New Girl' - 'Quick Hardening Caulk': I ain't saying she a gold digger...

Jess can't fight her feelings for Nick, especially after painkillers are involved

<p>Jess (Zooey Deschanel)&nbsp;goes to the hardware store on &quot;New Girl.&quot;</p>

Jess (Zooey Deschanel) goes to the hardware store on "New Girl."

Credit: FOX

A review of tonight's "New Girl" coming up just as soon as I become a Bond villain who can't afford to not live with roommates...

I have to hand it to the "New Girl" writers: for all my pre-kiss skepticism about both the necessity and viability of any kind of Jess/Nick relationship, they've been absolutely knocking it out of the ballpark with the two characters over the last batch of episodes.

"Quick Hardening Caulk" played the tension mainly for laughs — which, frankly, is the best approach for the long-term viability of both the pair and the show — as an excuse for Zooey Deschanel to get her weird on. Jess being repeatedly turned on by Nick showing even the slightest bit of maturity and initiative at anything — whether something with a sexual connotation like pulling the hardware store chain, or something more basic like learning how to properly do laundry — was a great note for Deschanel to play, and just when the episode seemed on the verge of wearing out the gag, we shifted gears into Jess whacked out on painkillers, which our leading lady also handled with aplomb. For all that Nick and Schmidt have come to dominate talk of the show, and understandably so, it got on the air in the first place because the woman at the center was really, really funny, and it's nice to get a reminder of that like this episode.


I was also very pleased with the final confrontation in the loft. At first, the idea that they would bail on having sex because the fish tank broke (and broke the spell) seemed like a cop-out, and the sort of thing sitcoms when they need to postpone the inevitable but don't have an organic reason for it. But the fact that they immediately burst out of their rooms to have another kiss made it work, because they're not pretending that nothing happened, and it's clear they are going to take every ridiculous, self-destructive step along the path to trying to be a couple. And that's the way Nick and Jess will work as a going concern: two people who are attracted to each other, and who may get together at times, but who are just going to be a trainwreck (and a fish tank wreck) as they try.

The Schmidt/Winston subplot, on the other hand, was pretty slight — one of those situations where having the characters keep pointing out how ridiculously someone is behaving in a way that doesn't really justify that behavior being the driver of a story. I thought the show did such a great, honest job of showing Schmidt reacting to the engagement in "TinFinity" that it was a letdown to turn it into a joke, and a goofy one at that. I will give the show points for this, though: just as I was ready to write off the jellyfish gag as a blatant "Friends" rip-off, Winston made his offer to go Number Two, just in case, which was unexpected and gross and made me laugh like I was 12 again.

What did everybody else think? And do you want more of Odette Annable as Nick's boss/special lady friend, or do you feel she served her purpose?

Alan-sepinwall-sm
Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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