New Girl Review: "The Landlord" Episode 1.12)
While it has seemed like Nick and Jess have been predetermined to end up together at some point in New Girl, it’s not so much because they are the show’s two main stars, but rather because they are two opposite ends of the spectrum. In “The Landlord,” Jess is the girl who can turn around the angry driver with a gun with only a smile and for the second episode in a row, uses cupcakes as a friendly tool to get others to help her. Simply put, she sees the world with rose-colored glasses on, even as a child accepting candy from a stranger in a van, which for once turned out to be a good thing as he brought his grandmother along to hand out the sweets. On the other hand, Nick’s viewpoint is that people are the worst. Stemming from a childhood where a man once stole $5 from him and ran away, Nick believes that mankind does not have the best intentions. New Girl may seem like the wrong format to debate the inherent good or evil in man, but with “The Landlord,” Jess and Nick take on their ideals in an awkward and hilarious battle to see who is right.
When Nick’s methods of fixing things around the apartment, including sticking a broom handle down the garbage disposal, won’t do anymore, Jess takes it upon herself to convince their landlord Remy to come fix everything that is breaking. Nick quickly believes that Remy is only doing these things to sleep with Jess, while she believes that he is doing it because Remy likes them. The two are both proven somewhat right when after they make dinner for Remy to thank him, he believes that the three of them are going to engage in a three-way. For some reason, both Nick and Jess believe that they will have their points proven if they go through with the three-way, making it further than the other one to prove their point. After Nick becomes the designated “Underpants Captain” and is instructed to kiss Jess, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, they both call a truce on the idea, leaving Remy disappointed, but always leaving his door open for the opportunity.
Schmidt is given a decent B-story about how he can’t decide whether or not his boss at Associated Strategies, or AssStrat as he likes to call it, is hitting on him, while Winston is content to hang out in the background to deliver some great lines and comment on others’ actions. Winston is tasked to clean up a room with a space mural that Schmidt had for a while, which essentially devolves into Winston finding a list of Schmidt’s New Year’s resolutions circa 2007 that includes trying to get people to call him Mister Finish/Gametime Jones/The Hook-up-erator and to finally figure out what color of Crocs to purchase and just buy them already. But probably the shining moment of tonight’s episode is when Winston is called Coach by Remy, a reference to the other roommate, played by Damon Wayans Jr., that Jess, Nick and Schmidt had for only one episode, before he went back to his part on Happy Endings.
While “The Landlord” focuses mostly on its main story, it does supply some great moments with the entire cast, such as when Remy finds out that four people are living in the three person apartment. They quickly get rid of any trace that Schmidt lives there and force Schmidt to play a foreigner on vacation. Also, the threesome scene, uncomfortably set to the music of Rusted Root, was probably one of the more cringe-inducing moments in the show so far, shown hilariously by how gigantic Nick can make his eyes look when he’s terrified.
In New Girl, various tropes are taken on and handled in a different way. “The Landlord” spins the basic wacky landlord premise into one where the landlord is a creepy threesome-seeking man who likes to keep his broomsticks sharpened and a bucket of gasoline in his office. New Girl, and sitcoms in general, are fun when they mess with your expectations, skewing what you think will happen and then pulling the rug out from under you. Like Remy, my door is always open to a show that can expand my horizons in that way.