“HE’S LIKE A REVERSE-SANTA!”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
New Girl has been doing such great work with its full cast lately; it felt slightly jarring to have “LAXmas” unite them in one location yet have them split apart. While having the gang so far apart never quite satisfies as much as having them together does, this episode was able to make almost all of the interconnected mini-stories that made up the episode enjoyable.
With the holidays rolling around, the gang headed to the airport to fly to their various Christmas destinations. Winston and Nick are flying to Chicago, Cece and Schmidt to New York (although different parts), Coach is going on vacation in Hawaii and Jess has been invited to spend Christmas with Ryan in England. Of course, like the greatest of holiday films, there’s a roadblock to each one. Jess is worried about meeting Ryan’s family, Nick and Winston are on standby and Schmidt is aching to enter the airports VIP lounge. Jess gets some great scenes where she deals with her anxiety over taking a chance on going to England. The show is even able to work some great gags into the proceedings, such as a dirty, present-stealing Santa (Reverse-Santa) and a loud-mouthed airport clerk played by Parks & Recreations Billy Eichner. Eichner’s “everything is terrible” mentality provided a perfect foil for Jess’s wavering optimism, and the interactions between the two made for some great moments.
However, the greatest moments of pure comedy came courtesy of Winston and Nick, who resorted to a number of hijinks in order to get seats on their flight. While these were a little more than a great montage, moments like Nick saying “It’s foolproof… unless it doesn’t work… which is likely. So I’d say there’s about a 50/50 shot” prove to be absolutely perfect. Schmidt and Cece’s venture into the VIP lounge also proved amusing, with Schmidt getting a nice character moment as he defended Cece from the advances of an old age businessman. Choosing to forsake the designer pillows of the lounge for the simplicity of the food court, Schmidt and Cece’s admission that they enjoy being friends feels like an organic way to bring the two characters back together. Although, let’s hope the show doesn’t immediately jump back into romantic territory with these two. The one story that doesn’t quite land is Coach’s. He struggled with whether or not to go to Detroit rather than his vacation, with his sister hoping to lure him home to see his niece. While the story itself was sound, there wasn’t much that happened in it other than Coach’s predictable change of heart.
The structure of “LAXmas” offering some airport-set holiday vignettes was interesting. While it didn’t offer up the cohesive whole that earlier efforts this season have done, it was able to bring most of the cast some good moments and allowed for some great supporting characters to help prop things up. While the “what Jess will do for her friends?” and “what will Jess’ friends do for her?” questions seem to be themes the series keeps coming back to, they resonate well here, especially with the episode’s holiday spirit. It just goes to show how well the characters work together; it just doesn’t feel right when they’re apart.
Are you on the lookout for Reverse-Santa? Was it hilarious to see Billy Eichner? Write your Christmas comments in the section below
80/100 – ‘Great’
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