Well, we’re finally reintroduced to the Jess-Nick sexual tension that’s been brewing on the back burner for a few weeks. But it’s definitely an uncomfortable reintroduction.
This week on “New Girl,” our favorite four roommates are forced to acknowledge that their apartment is falling apart—the garbage disposal has to be manhandled, and touching the kitchen light switch causes dangerous-looking sparks. Refusing to let Nick try his “do-it-yourself” routine, Jess calls in Remy the landlord.
Unfortunately, the guy is creepy beyond all belief. Nick, Schmidt, and Winston all beg her not to ask for the landlord’s help, but Jess just bats her big baby blues and reprimands them for their negativity.
So, fearless in the face of all pessimism, Jess heads down to Remy’s basement lair, where he is—of course—sharpening a broom handle into a shiv, or some such. (No explanation is provided. Apparently, that’s just how scary this guy is.) Though at first the landlord is reluctant to leave his room, he becomes concerned when Jess mentions that there are four people living in the apartment—apparently, the capacity is three.
Jess runs back upstairs to warn the guys, and they perform a maneuver “just like [they’d] practiced,” wherein they throw all of Schmidt’s belongings onto the porch, and pretend he’s just visiting from out of town—in case you were waiting for the portion of the show where Max Greenfield gets to practice his unidentifiable accents, this is it.
It turns out that Remy is pretty easy-going, and Jess sweet-talks him into performing all the odd repair jobs around the loft. Nick is keeping a close eye on the landlord, though, and he informs the naïve Jess that Remy is definitely trying to sleep with her. Refusing to think ill of anyone, Jess ignores Nick’s advice and invites the handyman to dinner. Awkward (and somewhat sickening) hilarity ensues, set to “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Roots.
(Note that Nick’s protective nature is fully focused on Jess, since his new squeeze Julia, played by Lizzy Caplan, is nowhere to be seen. Maybe she’s hanging out somewhere with Justin Long and Damon Wayans, Jr.)
As usual, the background shenanigans of Schmidt and Winston are lighter, fluffier bits of entertainment than the main Nick/Jess storyline in “The Landlord.” Schmidt is getting mixed signals from his boss, and Winston has run across a hilarious list of Schmidt’s 2007 New Year’s Resolutions.
The “New Girl” writers, while still definitely earning consistent laughs, seem to be floundering a bit. Some of the best things about the series—which is, by all accounts, one of the favorite new shows this season—are its reliable gimmicks, like the Douchebag Jar, and Jess’ tendency to randomly make up songs. It wouldn’t hurt to use these more purposefully, especially since the creators can’t seem to make up their minds about where Nick and Jess’ relationship is going.
Clio is the Theater/Books editor. Email her at email@example.com.