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A Two-Thirds Replica of Don Draper’s Office is a Sad Place to Work: New Girl “Nerd” Review

By on September 25, 2013
Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day. Cr: Jennifer Clasen/FOX

Zooey Deschanel as Jess Day. Cr: Jennifer Clasen/FOX

By Nicole Bozzani

New Girl does one thing right week after week: combine the strangest things to ever happen to human beings into one thirty minute episode. Where else could a viewer find cats, office parties, a Mean Girl-esque clique of teachers, and one outstanding cover of I Believe I Can Fly?

Let’s review. Jess has begun working at a new school but hasn’t made any friends. Jess, seeing this as a problem, talks to Nick about it. Nick decides he’s going to help Jess gain the respect from her fellow teachers. Winston must cat sit for his (hopefully) soon to be serious girlfriend, Daisy. Schmidt, well, Schmidt is still playing relationship tennis with Elizabeth and Cece much to his coworker Beth’s dismay. By the end of the episode it’s clear, one relationship is strong, one relationship ends, and one cat gets a brand new home.

New Girl’s second episode, Nerd, was much better than it’s season opener last week. The dialogue and short one liners, particularly from Schmidt, were sharper and more comical. Jess felt more like Jess, and Nick became a whole new person which isn’t a bad thing. Nick has become more confident and happier since dating Jess. Last week, Paradise Nick was bothersome, but new, confident, protective Nick is better. He has become the voice of reason in an apartment full of crazy. It’s hard not to love Jake Johnson in this role, but he makes it even more possible every week.

Jess tries to fit in with her peers in New Girl's "Nerd" Episode. Image © FOX

Jess tries to fit in with her peers in New Girl’s “Nerd” Episode. Image © FOX

It’s hard not to root for these two, but at the same time have feelings of impending doom. Nick has always wanted to help Jess out, but even more so now that he’s her “old man.” Bribing teachers with cheap school supplies and free alcohol is fairly smart. Kudos to Nick for using the best of his street smarts.

While all of this is happening, Winston is trying to become more serious with his girlfriend Daisy, guest star Brenda Song, by watching her cat, Ferguson. Winston in typical Winston fashion takes things too far by planning the murder of New Girl’s own version of Grumpy Cat. Winston is a hard character to dislike, but sometimes it happens. This episode is not one of those instances. Sure, some of the time he’s so far in left field as a character it’s hard not to wonder what his purpose as is, but in Nerd it’s hard not to feel sorry for him.

And then there’s Schmidt. Schmidt has a “perfect two-thirds replica of Don Draper’s office.” That’s the most positive thing about Schmidt in this episode. That and the fact he, “Wouldn’t begin to know how to steal a swag.” As if there couldn’t be more to love about Nerd, the boys of apartment 4D wake a hungover Jess with the most comically beautiful rendition of I Believe I Can Fly. Who honestly wouldn’t want that to happen to them?

Schmidt (Max Greenfield, R) is surprised when Cece (Hannah Simone, L) shows up at his office party. Image © FOX

Schmidt (Max Greenfield, R) is surprised when Cece (Hannah Simone, L) shows up at his office party. Image © FOX

Nerd had quite a few guest stars including Dreama Walker (“Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23”), Angela Kinsey (“The Office”), and returning as Beth, Eva Amurri Martino. Sadly, with so many guest stars comes such a waste of talent. Jess wants so badly to become friends with a group of popular teachers who barely ever speak but are assumed to be the worst. It’s only a half hour comedy, but it’s almost a disservice to such comedic actors. They could have stolen their scenes, but rather were shown featuring a locked cabinet of coffee mugs like a prize in the Showcase Showdown on the Price is Right. Only Jess won access to the mugs by lowering herself to dancing in a toilet for the privilege of acceptance rather than naming the price of a grocery item. It was uncharacteristic for Jess to want to be liked so desperately, but it’s relatable enough to work. Jess finally comes to her senses and realizes it’s not worth it, and it’s better to be herself. Something to be proud of Jess for again. If there’s one continuously good thing about New Girl how relatable it is. Jess’ struggle with bangs is so accurate it’s hard not to get frustrated just watching her fix them. Schmidt’s story on the other hand, is still rolling the ball of predicability. Who could have known Cece would show up to the office party after he asked her not to come?

Spoilers: everyone. It’s unfortunate these women aren’t smart enough to catch on to his scheme during the party itself when they both literally run into each other. A simple fact not wasted on Schmidt’s coworker, Beth who can’t help but notice his ridiculous plan working. He doesn’t even have time to finish complete words, but can create a plan to delude two women he can’t decide between? It’s not necessarily amusing anymore. It’s just kind of sad.

Jess and Nick’s relationship is still going strong, Winston has a new cat, and Schmidt is still playing relationship tennis. It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen to the tenants of apartment 4D in the coming weeks, but hopefully it’s only up from here. What have viewers learned this week? Sometimes fireman are women, teachers love free drinks and cheap school supplies, Nick Miller used to have a fan club named the Miller Sack Pack, and a two-thirds replica of Don Draper’s office is a very small, sad place to work.