New Girl Review: "Kids" (Episode 1.21)
Maturity has been a common theme in this recent stretch of episodes from New Girl. The characters are in a middle ground of their lives; they are no longer kids, yet not prepared to have kids. They haven’t even figured themselves out, so when children get involved in their lives, the dynamic is more of a teaching one than a parental one. In fact, all of the kids so far on New Girl have been better than the supposed “grown-ups” in some way. They know how to bully better, or what is better for the main characters’ futures and even how to party better, even though True American does seem like a great way to spend an evening. In “Kids,” we see the cast dealing with kids, the potential of kids and even dating kids.
Since Russell and his ex-wife, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, are busy, Russell asks Jess to watch his daughter Sarah for the day. Jess sees this as a test by Russell, and being that Schmidt and Cece are dealing with Cece’s possible pregnancy and that Nick is bringing over another one of his young girlfriends, it’s going to be a hard test for her to pass. Meanwhile, Winston has to try to get his new boss to an interview on time, but the less said about this plot thread, the better.
Sarah almost immediately falls in love with Nick, even though she claims he has eyes the color of poop. Schmidt and Cece are forced to deal with the first important problem in their relationship. Cece responds by becoming very passive towards Schmidt, while Schmidt falls in love with the idea of having a little Schmidt. It’s great that Schmidt doesn’t shy away from the possibility of this “caramel miracle,” even planning on proposing to Cece, until he finds out that she isn’t really pregnant. Which is a good thing, since it doesn’t seem like Schmidt knows too much about babies and thinks that if he and Cece have sex, he could impregnate the baby, starting a Russian nesting doll situation. Oh Schmidt.
At an awkward family dinner with Schmidt, Cece, Nick, Jess, Sarah and Nick’s new girlfriend all together, Nick finds out that his girlfriend used to ride the same bus as Sarah and that she’s only 18. Sarah gets upset at Jess for giving away that she likes Nick and hides in Jess’ bedroom. Here we see Nick and Jess working together, something that I always forget works well until it happens again. When Sarah is embarrassed to come out of Jess’ room, Jess and Nick recite a litany of reasons why they are in fact the most embarrassing people in the world. It’s a nice moment that shows why the second season should have more of this duo.
Ever since “Injured,” New Girl has been on a string of great episodes, but “Kids” is a slight dip in quality. If anything, it seems more like just a set-up for next week’s episode, which will undoubtedly deal with Jess clashing with Russell’s family. For all the important issues the episode brings up, like the possibility of a child and Jess potentially becoming a stepmother to Sarah, the stakes feel surprisingly low. Either of these possibilities would have huge implications on the show, but we all know from the beginning they are both dead ends.
That’s not to say “Kids” is a bad episode; it still has its share of funny moments, such as Schmidt calling another one of his ladies, which ends up being Nick. The confused conversation is a highlight and focuses on the great comedic banter these characters are given. Winston’s story is weak, but given that he has been revitalized as a character lately, one episode isn’t a problem.
At the beginning of the season, if you would have told me Jess would end up being the most responsible in this group, I wouldn’t have believed you. Jess is becoming much stronger than she was when we started with her and “Kids,” if anything, is a well-done representation of how these characters are continuously changing. Nick is consistently trying to mature but also stay young, while Schmidt, Winston and Jess are starting to grow in exciting ways for the next season. Even though most of them are maturing, let’s just be thankful none of these characters are responsible for a human life yet.