When thinking about some of my personal favorite things about New Girl, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Douchebag Jar, in which Schmidt must insert however much money the judger deems necessary when he does something douchey. Yet looking back, this ingenious device hasn’t made an appearance since the pilot episode, a crime worthy of creating a whole new jar for the writers of New Girl to place money into.
The episode “Story of the 50” is the story of Schmidt’s biggest deposit, which occurs the morning after his 29th birthday party. After losing his party bus to Frankie Muniz, Jess decides to throw Schmidt a party and invite their roommates as well as some of Schmidt’s biggest douche friends, including Benjamin, Schmidt’s old friend who used to make fun that he was fat, and the spoken-of-but-unfortunately-never-seen guy who changed his name to simply “Doingit.”
Now with Justin Long’s Paul being kicked to the curb in the last episode, we now see that Nick has moved fast in bringing in the new guest star/significant other and is going on his fifth date with Julia, a lawyer played by Lizzy Caplan. Speaking of guest stars, we also meet one of Jess’ co-workers Tanya, portrayed by the wonderful, but underused Rachel Harris, who comes along to Jess’ new Schmidt bus party, now taking place on a school bus. In Jess’ hurry to pull the party together the last-minute stripper she hires ends up being a male stripper, played by the hilarious Matt Besser, who gets plenty of time to shine while discussing what it’s like being a stripper with Schmidt.
The party is fun for the roommates, but Schmidt’s friend Benjamin puts a damper on the party, pointing out how lame it is after striking out with Jess. Thankfully Julia is also working through anger management, as she beats up Benjamin, while the bus crashes, ending the party. As Jess and Schmidt wait for a tow truck, we see the offense that has cost Schmidt $50 when he tries to kiss Jess.
It seems odd that Jess would react as light-heartedly to this action as she does, especially since the mere mention of Nick possibly liking her turned her into an awkward mess. I also find it odd that the one character who it seems like should be at this party, Cece, is nowhere to be found. The Cece-Schmidt relationship is one that is gaining steam, and it seems this would have been a great place to deepen this relationship instead of going for this odd choice of coupling, unless the creators are deciding to test out the Jess-Schmidt possibilities.
Caplan as Julia works well amongst these characters. Her seemingly normal attitude, hiding some weirdness in her, is perfect amongst these four roommates and it’ll be great to see how she melds with the rest of the cast. The only problem is her character is written very similarly to her character of Casey on Party Down. This isn’t a big issue, but hopefully she won’t become typecast, even if it is fun to watch her and Nick trade terrible Cosby impressions. It also seems like the show is starting to do more with Jess at school, which could really breed some great comedic moments and hopefully the introduction of Harris will lead to more of her, as she is given very little to do in this episode.
That all being said, “Story of the 50” works as just a fun reunion of these characters after the show’s break. We get some great potential side characters, as well as enough Douchebag Jar entries, such as Schmidt’s personalized condoms and confusion that N.W.A. didn’t stand for “Never Walk Alone,” to make up for lost time. It feels like “Story of the 50” is setting up a bit of where New Girl will be heading in the next few episodes with new characters and relationships. But wherever New Girl is heading, let’s all hope it brings the Douchebag Jar with it.