“IS THIS A CLASSIC WINSTON-AND-CECE MESS AROUND”?
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
It seems New Girl’s theme for the season is to take a closer look at relationships and examine them from both the male and female perspective. While past seasons have also focused on this, Season 4 seems to be the first one with a definitive focus on this subject particularly. This week’s entry tackles superficiality, a common question for TV characters to tackle, but luckily New Girl was able to bring out its old charm and offer its own spin on the subject. The men’s tried-and-true bar conversation about how a woman’s boobs can predict her personality ends up with Jess chewing the guys out for being superficial and leaving them. Soon after, she winds up at the table with a handsome artist named Matt (guest star Alan Ritchson), whom she soon discovers suffers from a “micropenis.” (It’s an actual thing apparently. Don’t Google it if you want to protect your innocence.) Of course, determined to be the least shallow member of the group, Jess enters a pact with Nick that she has to date Matt for a month or face buying Nick a year’s subscription to a porn site.
The question of whether or not each of the main cast was shallow allowed for some great interplay throughout the episode, particularly among the guys as they judged not only women on their appearance, but themselves as well (Winston is a solid 6.5 if you must know.) Schmidt and Coach’s immediate gratefulness for their “God given gifts” was also amusing, and set up a goofy B-story about Winston and Cece helping them to “give back” to the world as models. While the modeling plot was flimsy at best, there were great visual gags and fun to be had in Winston’s constant attempts to coin a new catchphrase. It seems like Winston seems to be getting all the best lines lately, so perhaps the writers have finally realized how best to use the character. The twist ending where Schmidt actually gets a billboard because Coach can’t stand his crying was also a great touch.
Of course, most of the meat of this episode hung on Jess’s story. As with most of her boyfriends this season, Jess finds herself falling out of love with Matt and wonders if she’s just as superficial as everyone else. It’s an interesting place to take the character, considering Jess prides herself on taking the moral high ground. The resolution to it all was satisfying as well, with Jess realizing everyone has their own “micropenis” to contend with. This leads to her breaking up with Matt not because she’s shallow, but because he’s a massive jerk (so, we’re basically talking Scumbag Steve levels of jerk here.)
Taking things as a whole, it was refreshing to see New Girl take on superficiality, as it spurred some fun stories and interesting questions about the characters. While I could make another complaint about the one-and-done nature of this new season, I feel that horse has been beaten to death already. This episode did one thing great and that was the way it embraced the character’s examination of themselves. So many sitcoms (particularly those inspired by Seinfeld) are content to let their characters pick out the flaws in anyone as long as it’s not themselves. The motto “No hugging, no learning” refers to the way sitcom characters never seem to carry lessons they supposedly learn into the next episode, nor do they ever grow closer or show affection to characters they don’t like. While amazing comedy can be harnessed from this refusal to learn, New Girl’s willingness to have the gang openly question themselves is far more intriguing.
All-in-all, “Micro” proved to be a showcase for what’s great about New Girl but also what the issue with Season 4 is. The show is able to put a clever, intriguing spin on a classic sitcom question, but any insights from that question may be forgotten next week due to this season’s one-and-done structure. Aside from that, though, “Micro” proved to be one of the more fruitful outings this season, with an intriguing premise, some great lines, and a willingness to take risks.
What did everyone think of the gang’s self-evaluation? Would you tip a server with a mouse drawing? Was this a classic Winston/Cece Mess around? Are you about to Google ‘micropenis’? (I warned you.) Leave your comments in the usual space.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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