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New Girl “Keaton” Review: Nick Miller is …The Batman?

By on October 23, 2013
Nick (Jake Johnson, R) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield, L) share a moment with a friend from their past in "Keaton" | Co.  Cr:  Greg Gayne/FOX

Nick (Jake Johnson, R) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield, L) share a moment with a friend from their past in "Keaton" | Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX

By Nicole Bozzani

Tick or treat! It’s Halloween. The time anyone can dress up and be anything they want to be, and for Jess, Nick, Winston and Schmidt that means some very creative costuming. Anything is possible at Halloween involving lots of deli meat and….Michael Keaton?

Jess is throwing a Halloween party. A Halloween party she doesn’t want depressed, deli meat-eating Schmidt to attend, and rather than hurt his feelings she turns to Nick and Winston for help. Winston suggests bringing back an old friend from Schmidt’s past, his pen pal: Michael Keaton. Nick, who has had the pleasure of impersonating Michael Keaton for years, immediately rejects this idea. Jess takes it upon herself to bring Mr. Keaton back and ends up getting a little more than she bargained for. Will Schmidt find out the truth and how will he react if he does?

After last weeks less than stellar episode, “The Box,” it’s refreshing to see New Girl back in action with “Keaton,” an enjoyable, funny, and even heartfelt – if just for a moment- episode.

Schmidt is still depressed, which is a normal human emotion that doesn’t retreat easily. Only it’s safe to say many don’t turn to eating large amounts of deli meat and squeezing mayonnaise into their mouths in what can only be described as the New Girl version of Arrested Development’s “mayonegg.” Schmidt is trying to go through the motions and cheers up when he finds an e-mail from his old buddy, Michael Keaton. Why would Michael Keaton keep in touch with Schmidt for all these years? It gives testament to where Schmidt used to be as a person and where he is now. He’s vulnerable and not always the douchebag he comes across as. When the truth is revealed to him naturally he feels betrayed and despite Nick’s best attempts to help him understand he did what he did for his best friend, Schmidt feels it comes across like a high school football movie. It does, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even if Schmidt doesn’t like it, his friends go to great lengths to help and protect him. They care about him whether he likes it or not which is apparent when he is beaten senseless by a group of young costumed hooligans trick or treating. It’s heartbreaking to see Schmidt this way especially since viewers have grown to love him and his egotistical shenanigans.

Nick (Jake Johnson, R) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield, L) have a heart-to-heart discussion. Co.  Cr:  Greg Gayne/FOX

Nick (Jake Johnson, R) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield, L) have a heart-to-heart discussion. Co. Cr: Greg Gayne/FOX

Another interesting aspect of the episode was seeing where Cece has been this entire time. Viewers have seen Schmidt’s struggle, but not yet Cece’s and she was the main source of hurt. Hurt she channels into a lot of unnecessary partying. When the two finally meet face to face after such a long time, Cece declares to Jess she has the closure she needs. Could this possibly be the end to Schmidt and Cece for good? Another positive aspect is how New Girl has transitioned into being more about the dynamic of everyone rather than just Jess or Jess and Nick. Now that Ness is alive and well, time can be focused on someone else. This time around it’s mainly Schmidt and his troubles. It still involves Jess being typical Jess. She gets involved when she shouldn’t because she cares. She screws it up as usual, and Nick has to come to her rescue and save the day. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it, right? What is the most refreshing about this new idea is how Nick and Jess’ relationship was only mentioned once and in passing. It wasn’t drilled into the viewers minds repeatedly. For once it wasn’t about the two of them declaring how much they liked each other, but rather on their friend and his current situation. Sure, he was determined to break them up at first, but now he’s feeling like there’s nothing for him in the world. That is until he decides to shake up the loft and move out. Yes, Schmidt has decided to leave apartment 4d. It was a shocking move which no doubt sets up what is about to come in future episodes. For now, it’s just Schmidt and the ghost of poor old Mrs. Beverly in apartment 4C.

“Keaton” had many great things that can’t be ignored. The gang’s costume choices are perfect. Joey Ramona Quimby, the Paper Mountain Trash King, David Letterman, a public serpent, and whatever the heck Cece was meant to be were all creative. Sure, Nick Miller’s Bee Arthur costume from last season is still in the lead for best costume, but Joey Ramona Quimby is a close second. The return of fat Schmidt is always a pleasant surprise. He’s always a burst of fresh energy to behold, but usually that brings along weird tie-dye Nick who is slightly harder to love but not by much. Unfortunately, with Schmidt’s depression came, as previously mentioned, a lot of really disgusting eating. Eating which included a giant block of cheese, plenty of deli meat, and chocolate. Something one could probably go without seeing again for a while. Please take note, New Girl.

This week on New Girl, viewers learned how far the gang in 4d is willing to go for their friends. It’s genuinely surprising Schmidt’s idol was The Batman himself, Michael Keaton. And frankly, it is surprising that Schmidt believed for years, even after seeing Mr. Keaton in person, he would write to him for that long. The most surprising part, perhaps, is that Schmidt believed the actor that played Batman, one of the greatest superheroes of all time, had the e-mail address, Really Nick, that’s the best you could come up with? Will Schmidt get over his depression and forgive his friends? Will he move back to apartment 4d or will he be riding broom horses with Mrs. Beverly’s ghost from now on? Time can only tell, but for now what has “Keaton” truly taught viewers? Anyone can “accidentally” trick or treat sans costume as long as they have a pumpkin covered errand tote, Michael Keaton attacks each new role with the ferocity of a brown bear, and duct tape can be used to make an outstanding Batman mask.