Two-Sentence Summary After seeing Jess struggling to make friends among the teachers at her new school, Nick gives her some well-meaning but misguided advice about how to act cool. Meanwhile, Schmidt faces a problem when both Cece and Elizabeth show up at his office party, and Winston dreams of taking his frustrations with his relationship with Daisy out on her cat.
Favorite Line “I would have noticed you.” (Nick)
Episode M.V.P. “Nerd”was a great showcase for the men of New Girl. While Zooey Deschanel had plenty of comedy to work with (my personal favorite being her rendition of “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes while standing in a toilet), I didn’t really care for most of Jess’s storyline. I love Jess because she seems proud of who she is even when the rest of the world doesn’t seem to understand her quirks, and that confidence was completely missing from her character in this episode. Her characterization felt uneven, which I guess was kind of the point—but that doesn’t mean it appealed to my tastes (I hate “secondhand embarrassment” kind of comedy).
One of my problems with Jess’s characterization in this episode was that the comedy in her storyline was too broad and too cliché. We’ve seen it all before. The same could be said of Schmidt’s storyline—how many times have we seen the “two girlfriends, one room” situation in a sitcom? (Answer: Too many) However, Max Greenfield was able to inject a really surprising amount of genuine emotion into his reaction to the situation. The tears in his eyes at the end of the party made me actually believe that he doesn’t want to hurt either woman; he’s just going about this in a completely wrong way.
Lamorne Morris was once again a standout performer in this episode, making the craziest side plot work with his fantastic delivery. Who knew contemplating killing a cat could be so funny? My favorite moment was his ridiculous idea to let the cat decide how it wanted to die.
The real M.V.P. of this episode, though, was Nick Miller and, by extension, Jake Johnson. Nick went through a lot in this episode, and Johnson once again balanced so many facets of this character with ease. His desire to help Jess was incredibly endearing, even if it manifested itself in a disastrous way. Schmidt wasn’t wrong; Nick’s advice was awful, but it came from a genuine place of concern and care. That’s what I love about New Girl—all of these characters are messes, but their hearts are in the right place. And as soon as Schmidt opened Nick’s eyes to the fact that his advice was making Jess more like him—and not in a positive sense—Nick suddenly sprang into action in such a fantastic way. I loved seeing him try to deal with both Jess and Winston’s crises because flustered Nick is one of my favorite flavors of Nick Miller, but also because it showed how much this man has grown, letting more than a little responsible, “Chicago” Nick into the loft.
Nick had Jess’s back throughout the episode, but it was a joy to watch him learn what that really meant and how best to help her. In the beginning, it was helping her loosen up with some really bad decisions. Then, it was trying to dissuade her from trespassing but ultimately jumping over that fence with her. Finally, it was telling her the only thing he needed to say from the start: He would have noticed her back when she was just a nerdy high school girl. (Anybody else swoon at that line?) And then he proved that he notices this wonderfully nerdy girl now with the kind of kiss we’ve come to love from Nick Miller, where he sinks into her body in the way that’s been making us all melt since “Cooler” aired last season. Well played, Nick Miller. You may still be more than a bit of a screw-up, but you sure know how to treat a lady—especially your old lady.
Favorite Moment Yes, Nick kissing Jess in the parking lot was an epic moment, one of those “nerdy girl gets the guy” moments designed to make all of us nerdy girls watching at home tear up at the idea that someday some guy is going to notice us for exactly who we are. However, the most epic moment of the episode was a little sing-along featuring a Space Jam classic:
This scene is everything I adore about this show. It’s ridiculous, but it’s all about the things friends do for one another. It’s filled with a sense of shared history between these friends, a feeling that this is far from the first (or second) time they’ve sang this song to cure a hangover. It’s a quirky little nod to the nostalgic pop culture references my generation clings to. And it’s the most entertainingly strange show of friendship I’ve seen in a long time.
A New Girl GIF* For My New Girl Feelings
“Nerd” wasn’t my favorite New Girl episode, but it was still a fun reminder that this group of friends will always try to support each other when push comes to shove. They want each other to be happy, and, although sometimes their methods for finding happiness and inclusion might be strange, they have each other’s backs. From chicken dances and fake wedding dates to “I Believe I Can Fly” and very real kisses, this group has come so far but that sense of family that’s been there from the beginning is one thing that will never change on this show.
*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.