New Girl Review: "Parking Spot" (Episode 2.17)
It’s been two weeks since Nick and Jess kissed for the first time, and still the roommates on New Girl are feeling the aftershocks. It’s still rare for Nick and Jess to be in the same room without making things incredibly awkward and filled with sexual tension, while Schmidt so far has been blissfully unaware of what was going on underneath his very roof. “Parking Spot” is the latest episode to deal with the confusion between Nick and Jess and how they should proceed from here, still without making things feel drawn out or forced.
“Parking Spot” forces Nick and Jess into close proximity with each other, as Schmidt finds a new parking spot for their apartment and the three fight over it. Winston also wants the spot, but is too busy running around town trying to find a condom so he can have sex with Daisy during her limited time restrictions.
Nick quickly backs out, not understanding how people can care about things so much, leaving him as the decider of who gets the spot: Schmidt or Jess. The way these two go to find favor with Nick shows how the friendship dynamic has changed. While only moments prior Jess had mentioned they should forget about the kiss, she uses the sexual tension to seduce the parking spot away from Nick, who quickly gives in. Had the kiss not occurred, Jess surely wouldn’t have dealt with this in such a way, likely going for a friendlier path like Schmidt does, offering Nick a cold beer.
When it all becomes too much, Nick, Schmidt and Jess rush to the spot, with the last person standing getting the spot. Schmidt of course finds out about the kiss, making him realize just how the apartment dynamic has changed, and he even mentions that he, Nick and old roommate Coach had made a “no-nail oath” when it came to Jess.
The whole parking spot is just part of a larger MacGuffin, allowing everyone to realize that from the beginning Nick has been worried about wanting to sleep with Jess. It was his idea to come up with the oath, not because Jess couldn’t help herself, but because Nick couldn’t help himself.
This has been the larger arc for Nick in season two. Ever since the show’s third episode “Fluffer,” we’ve seen Nick hinting that he has wanted to become something more with Jess, yet never coming straight out with it. Now, it’s uncertain if Nick has always had feelings for Jess—I’d say probably not—but looking back at how Nick has acted this season, he’s been feeling this for quite some time. It looks like at present, the more Nick and Jess fight the direction their relationship is taking, the more they are drawn to it as well. This is far from the end of their struggle.
“Parking Spot” is also a great half-hour for Winston, who usually gets the short end of the stick, and the show sort of pokes fun of that: while everyone else is embroiled in the parking spot drama, Winston runs around looking for a rubber. Winston is panicked and insane for most of the episode, and it’s one of the rare episodes where he gets to show off his comedic chops in a big way.
New Girl is continuing to balance all its pieces quite well in this middle of the second season, even despite the huge changes that have occurred. The show right now needs such a perfect combination of elements to make everything work, and so far, New Girl is pulling it off spectacularly.