TV Review: New Girl – “Fluffer”

jason stives is still uttery adorkable…

Boy, if only I had Winston to instill upon me the wisdom that no just a friend ever takes a female friend to the airport when I was in college. I speak of Winston’s sit down with Nick on this week’s episode of New Girl entitled “Fluffer” in which Nick turns into Jess’ boyfriend without the benefits, a bona fide female boner booster. Okay, so maybe I should’ve chose better words but this idea worked very well against the backdrop of the ever present Nick/Jess potential romance. Possible romance in sitcoms are like bacon and eggs, it’s almost too common not to explore. The trouble is the potential is what can make or a break a show storyline wise because you either alienate your audience by exploring it or frustrate them for biding their time with it.

It takes very obvious and stubborn characters to make it work well and Nick and Jess are two great examples very much in the same vein as Sam Malone and Diane Chambers on Cheers all those years ago. The often touted Nick/Jess romance works because it’s never focused on continuously and “Fluffer” was the first example for a while of it being pressed head on. This came at the expense of showcasing characters once again trying to be something they are not or at least realizing what they are. Since day 1 Nick has been a very naïve and indecisive person who is mainly his own personal roadblock in happiness. He kind of takes joy in his failings both relationship wise and career wise and this week brought that back when his position as being just a friend was made a center piece. Couple this with Jess’ inability to get to know Sam, the Creed loving guy she hooked up with last week, and you have people unwilling to face their doubts head on.

This is an obligatory “friends zone” storyline that most shows cover nowadays but it’s handled with its own little spin by being a little more direct in its commentary. Jess needs that reassurance of a boyfriend like experience without over-complicating her sex life which makes sense because Jess has a very strange view of sex, but then again what woman doesn’t. As much as she wants someone to travel to the furthest IKEA location with she doesn’t want someone that will build her a table and also sleep with her later. Nick recognizes it if only after being informed of it by Winston and the logic comes out a lot quicker.

I quite enjoyed the dynamic of watching these two being overly goofy to one another because you rarely get to see Nick be overtly dopey as it only seems to come out when he is trying to be brutally serious. The intentional set up of he and Jess at a restaurant, with classy thermos of white wine no less, made for some great downtime for these two much like last week when Nick was trying to act mean to Jess. But for every downtime moment the reason Nick’s own quirks work well against his confrontations with Jess is because he can maturely pin point her pitfalls. Her inability to separate her feelings from sex is a common trait was very obvious and Nick gave the quickest B line to her problem by stating, “Of course, you’re a girl!”

Nick may be completely oblivious to his own feelings but he is always aware of the obvious when it comes to other people. The difference here is they are good friends who enjoy being around one another and I wouldn’t place so much on the potential relationship factor as the reasons for their heated arguments this week. They even joke at the notion of them even thinking about being attracted to one another which Jess thinks Nick has done at least once when she is performing deep lunges in her room. In all my years of insinuating attraction to women I don’t think it has ever come from watching someone perform deep lunges although I’d be inclined to revisit that idea in my head.

On the other end of this episode we continue with some downgraded storylines for both Schmidt and Winston. Winston in particularly is given a very off the cuff storyline about “cheating in the mind” because he and Shelby aren’t where he hopes they would be. I forgot about Shelby! In fact, why haven’t we had more Winston time? It seemed a bit strange to plop this one down in front of him when we so seldom hear about his relationship problems but it worked well and although it got a bit creepy his mental undressing of most of this episode’s present females was very amusing. Schmidt on the other hand has been given a romance reprieve by allowing his friendship with Cece to be more stable than toxic but he is still in a state of limbo as far as purpose is concerned. His persistent attempt to be written off as one of Mitt Romney’s sons, Tugg, didn’t meet with a sad revelation, in fact, Schmidt seemed perfectly fine in being himself by episode’s end and the fact that he didn’t emotionally brake down to Cece worked out well. It was also very cute to see her very openly allow him to rest his head on her bosom and not get disgusted by his sly remarks.

In a way this is slowly becoming a show where the characters have settled in to dealing with each others’ own quirks and I doubt we will actually see any heaviness in the weeks to come from the Nick/Jess situation other than a growing friendship. This will keep the presence of the idea from growing because these characters alone are interesting and to over-complicate their dynamics early on in this show’s run could possibly hurt a potential longevity.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)


All Photos Credit: FOX