TV Time: New Girl 2.21

Title First Date

Two-Sentence Summary As Nick and Jess go on their first date (but does Jess really know it’s a date?), Winston and Schmidt enlist the help of Outside Dave to sabotage the romance before it ruins the loft dynamic forever. However, Nick and Jess do a good enough job of sabotaging themselves, especially when Jess’s ex-boyfriend Russell forces them to confront (or not confront) the truth about what their relationship really is.

Favorite Line “Jessica, you are a beautiful woman, and my life has not been the same since I met you. And it would mean the world to me if you would go on a date with me.” (Nick, to Tran)

Episode M.V.P. This week’s episode M.V.P. is a beautiful, intangible little thing called chemistry. There was no one character that stood out above the pack this week. Rather, it was the ease and rapport between the characters that made the episode work. Without sparks—of both comedic and romantic varieties—“First Date” would have fallen flat.

In terms of comedic chemistry, I’m not sure it gets better than Schmidt and Winston trying to come up with ideas to ruin Nick and Jess’s date. Winston’s inability to find a good middle ground for a prank is one of my favorite of his character quirks. Lamorne Morris excels when Winston is being “Prank Sinatra,” and Max Greenfield has such a hilariously deadpan way of shooting down his ideas. I laughed until I wanted to cry when Winston suggested killing Jess with a knife and releasing a bear full of “Hep C” into the restaurant. And I actually did cry tears of laughter when Schmidt and Winston both offered their own guesses as to why Nick was being secretive about his date (“Male escort!”). These two characters have been on fire lately, and they’ve been excelling at quieter moments of friendship, too—mainly because they balance those with sharp humor right away.

Speaking of balance, I’m not sure any pair of actors is better at balancing comedy, angst, and sexual tension than Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson are right now. Their chemistry in this episode was nothing short of extraordinary. It ranged from painfully realistically awkward (Jess asking Nick if they were on a date) and equally realistically easy (sharing their turn-ons) to heartbreaking (agreeing on “middle school dance rules”) and just plain HOT (Nick opening the jar and gargling his beer). Everything worked because Johnson and Deschanel remained true to their characters through it all. So, despite the frustration of watching them get in their own way, you can feel how much they want each other—and you can feel that this new arrangement won’t last very long. That last goodnight by their bedroom doors was filled with more longing and sexual tension than I’ve seen on TV in years. You know two actors have amazing chemistry when you’re literally yelling at the TV for them to kiss, and I will totally admit to doing that on multiple occasions during “First Date.”

Favorite Moment For as much as I adored the rampant sexual tension in the last scene (and the almost uncontrollable hotness of Nick opening the jar), my favorite moment was a little less tense. The best thing about Nick and Jess’s relationship is how real it feels, and it’s never felt more real than when Nick and Jess were sitting at the bar, talking about the weird things the other does that turns them on.

There’s something so genuine about their laughter in this scene; it makes me smile every time I watch it. I love seeing them be honest with each other, and it’s even better when that honesty is a little silly, too. It’s that combination of emotional truth and humor that makes me fall more in love with New Girl every week. And don’t even get me started on Johnson’s face when Jess asks Nick to get dinner. The way his eyes widen just enough as he nervously swallows was beyond perfect. It conveys so much—disbelief, relief, and love all wrapped up in one absolutely gorgeous package. Deschanel’s face is also beautiful in this moment—I’m not sure she’s ever looked prettier.

A New Girl GIF* For My New Girl Feelings

my heart hurts jess

My heart hurts, too, Jess, thanks to you and Nick. But that’s how you know a show is doing something right—when it makes you truly feel something for its characters. The obstacles between Nick and Jess are their own internal obstacles, and that’s a good thing. It adds more realism to their relationship to have them keep getting in their own way because that’s true to the characters—they get in their own way when it comes to almost everything in their lives. They both have so much to lose if this relationship doesn’t work, and they’ve both been hurt so badly in the past. So it makes sense for them to be scared to be completely open to each other and their own feelings. The frustration we feel is the characters’ frustration, too, and that’s why it works so well. And as long as Johnson and Deschanel continue to have such blinding chemistry, we’re going to continue to feel every emotion between them as if we’re going through this right along with them.


*I have no talent for GIF-making. Thankfully, I am highly skilled at searching Tumblr for the best GIFs. I take no credit for this beauty. 


8 thoughts on “TV Time: New Girl 2.21

  1. That episode was insane! I loved it!!
    It even said in the script “The sexual tension is off the charts!” and it only got worse as the episode went on. I could barely breathe by the end. I can’t imagine how either Nick or Jess could sleep after that!
    Their “defining their relationship” with hands on the boobs was crazy and kind of delightful, especially after watching Jess tell Cece about it. Nick’s scene with the Tran was hilarious and wonderful and frustrating. I agree with your fav moment pick – I loved Nick and Jess’s discussion over drinks – they should have done more of that! I love when they just talk to each other. And they both looked so good in that scene. (I couldn’t stop watching Nick’s hands!)
    I, and everyone, I guess, would love to know what they wrote that made Russell back off. I think that at least one of them, maybe both, wrote something serious, maybe something equivalent to love, and Russell realized it wasn’t a game (but then again, knowing those stupid kids, they could have written any number of terribly stupid things!) I’m looking forward to them having a proper discussion in a future episode. At times I get pretty frustrated by their cluelessness about how the other person feels. But reading what you said about how much they have to lose, I understand their fear a little better.
    I personally felt that the Schmidt/Winston storyline was a bit forced this week, especially since they already had some close friend moments in the last 2 episodes. I actually wondered if part of their story was cut for time. But I enjoyed their trying to figure out what they should do to sabotage the date and I absolutely loved Schmidt’s reactions to Nick’s asking about his clothing.
    It’s probably not good for my real life that I can watch slow motion replays of every aspect of Nick and Jess’s interactions online – watching them look down to each other’s lips as they said goodnight and then closing their doors behind them just about killed me!
    I hope you don’t mind my essay length comments here… 🙂 It’s nice to be able to talk to someone about how much I love this show. I was looking forward to reading what you had to say all day Friday. Thanks!

    • I never mind long comments on my posts, especially not by you because I love your enthusiasm! We fangirls have to stick together! I always look forward to your comments on my New Girl posts because they always make me smile. 😀

      “watching them look down to each other’s lips as they said goodnight and then closing their doors behind them just about killed me!”

      I noticed that on one of my multiple rewatches of that scene, and I could barely breathe watching them look at each other’s lips like that. Those two have chemistry like nothing I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched a LOT of TV in my almost 25 years! 😉

      • Thanks to my stupid early-rising pug I lay awake from 4-6am this morning – and instead of thinking about yucky work stuff I ended up replaying Nick and Jess’s first date in my mind. And I noticed something very interesting – Nick says love 3 times during the date/not-date – “everyone loves bacon” “the only man we both loved” and “I love those guys, but they’re idiots.”
        And I swear, absolutely swear, that he wrote “love” on that valet card.
        (What did Jess write though?!)
        I love that Nick is the kind of character who says that he loves another man. I love that this show allows for straight men to have man crushes and loving friendships.
        But I also think the writers had Nick Miller show that he had love on his mind that night.

  2. I love reading your reviews because you are always so well spoken. And I always tend to agree with you! 🙂 I’m amazed by the chemistry between Jake and Zooey. As fans have all noticed, their chemistry truly stands out. I feel like Nick/Jess are becoming such an addictive pairing for the fans precisely because the actors have amazing chemistry and the writing is top notch! It’s just all so perfect!

    The scene you’ve described with Nick and Jess discussing their “turn ons” is also one of my favorites because they both feel like REAL and genuine people. Not characters or “actors.” Jake and Zooey are especially amazing in that scene, just seating there/talking/laughing. I feel like I’m watching two people flirting. Not a tv show. Which is a GREAT thing.

    The ending scene had so much sexual tension with Nick and Jess. WOW. And I haven’t seen that type of chemistry in years and years. I mean, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve seen that type of chemistry EVER. So huge props to Jake and Zooey. They add these little details to their scenes. Did you notice that in that scene, Jake (Nick)’s lip actually quivered right before they said goodnight to each other? I mean, that’s a huge detail right there. I want to give Jake extra props here. He deserves an Emmy for this whole season. Such brilliant work by him. He’s a stand out in this season.

    I’m simply a huge fan of the show now. I can’t miss a single episode. It’s like everything is more exciting and fun about the show now that the Nick/Jess dynamic has progressed forward so beautifully. You just want to see more and more!

    • Thank you so much for the comment, and I agree with everything you said! The chemistry between Zooey and Jake is really what’s pushed this show over the top and into “must-see TV” territory for me and for so many others. Jake Johnson has been especially incredible this season, and I really do hope he’s recognized with at least an Emmy nomination if not a win because I watch a lot of TV, and he’s doing some of the best work in the medium right now (especially as far as comedy goes).

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