New Girl Review: "Valentine's Day" (Episode 1.13)
For New Girl, Valentine’s Day represents change. Jess wants to have a one-night stand since it has been a while since she has spent Feb. 14 alone. Nick and Julia, two people who have never cared about Valentine’s, try to give it their best shot with actually caring. Winston, trying to not use his new girlfriend, Shelby, as a one-night-stand anymore, spends a night in with the girls. Schmidt even does his best to get someone else laid on this night of romance. But New Girl has one of its best episodes by playing off type and succeeding greatly at it.
“Valentine’s Day” allows the main four to each try something different in an episode that seems to be an interesting space for future episodes to take on. Jess goes to find a man for the night, and ends up with the most boring man she can find—Oliver, played by Ryan Kwanten of True Blood. After a disastrous night that involves talking in detail with him about what types of tacos he had this week, watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes with him and Schmidt and getting walked in on by Oliver’s ex-girlfriend of a week, Jess quickly runs away. By the end of the episode, she’s so “twirly” (Jess speak for horny), she almost propositions Schmidt, with her box of 100 condoms. This may seem like a lapse in judgment for Jess, but between this and “The Story of the 50,” it seems like the writers of New Girl are trying to throw off audiences from the whole Nick and Jess thing by making her and Schmidt just as much of a possibility.We also see Julia and Nick trying to care about Valentine’s for the first time together. Unfortunately Julia’s work gets in the way, and Nick is stuck with her intern, played by Clark Duke. It seems like Julia’s job will get in way of their relationship, but on the contrary, the two make it work by the end. Nick and Julia are such a great couple on this show, I hope that Lizzy Caplan is able to stay on for more episodes than she is planned for. Unfortunately with a new pilot scheduled, it’s a shame that Nick and Julia’s relationship will most likely be short-lived.
While Winston’s storyline is as usual much shorter than the others, we do get a few nice moments, as he shows Shelby that he is no longer just about sex, but instead has no problem with taking it slow and just having a quiet night in with her and the girls. We also of course get some great Schmidt moments, as he is forced to be the driver for Jess’ one night stand. After leaving Jess and Oliver alone, he gets his tires stolen by street youths and is stuck outside Oliver’s place. Thankfully, Cece crashed in, with her boyfriend high on mushrooms, and Jess and Schmidt make an exit. In a twist within a twist, while Jess is calling for Schmidt outside his door, Schmidt is in his room, making out with Cece, finally.
“Valentine’s Day” also gives us great guest performances by Duke and Kwanten. Duke is always great in small doses and is pretty funny as Julia’s intern, while Kwanten shows his comedic chops in his awkward and delusional behavior towards the one night stand he is currently involved in. New Girl is also hilarious when it decides to get a little crazy. We get that moment when Nick explains his break up with his ex to Duke, which involves him going to Mexico to get in a cockfight. As a person. What follows is a great montage of his fight with the chicken and quick defeat.
“Valentine’s Day” is New Girl’s best episode since its last holiday episode, “The 23rd”. We get some great character development, some interesting relationship evolutions and plenty of great comedy. “Valentine’s Day” is a great example of a show staying consistently hilarious while also seemingly setting up details for future episodes.