New Girl spends most of its time in the loft, with the characters hanging out, because that is the easiest way for the show to exist. It’s also fairly successful, because the show is at its best when the characters are just bouncing off one another, riffing and delivering their jokes. However, for the winter finale, everybody is taken out of their comfort zone and thrown into the madness of a major American airport, around the holidays.
The entire gang is transplanted to Los Angeles, because they all have places to go for Christmas. Jess is headed to England to spend time with Ryan and his family, because all that making out in prop closets has really taken their relationship to the next level, apparently. However, when they get to the titular LAX, flights are delayed, and madness ensues.
But actually, by New Girl standards, there is very little madness in “LAXmas.” Even guest star Billy Eichner is turned down a notch or two from his usual brand of performance. This isn’t to say he’s not funny when he’s yelling everywhere (because he is), but he is also funny here as Barry, an alternately unhelpful and very helpful airport employee.
Jess is the only one with any real story. She’s doing most of the interacting with people—people like Barry. A dude who looks like Santa Claus hits on her and steals her presents for Ryan’s family. Also, Ryan’s family is apparently rich, and Jess is worried that maybe she won’t be good enough for them. That’s less interesting, and less relatable than the Santa Claus stuff… because we’ve all been there, man.
Things only really pick up when Jess and Barry meet again in the bar, and Barry agrees to help her pull off a Christmas miracle for Nick and Winston, namely getting them into First Class seats on their flight to Chicago. This dynamic duo mostly just does weird stuff throughout the episode, but Nick and Winston being weird is usually funny, and that’s the case here.
But in the end, when Nick finds out Jess is planning on not going to England, he and Winston get off the plane to try and talk her into changing her mind. Schmidt and Cece and Coach are there too. They rush her to the plane and then, in a classic bit of switcheroo, Ryan had flown back to Los Angeles when Jess told him she couldn’t make it. Oh, and also Zooey Deschanel gets a nice shout out to her music career, because her cover of “God Only Knows” plays during all this at the end. Apparently that song is used in some motion picture called Love, Actually which is, presumably, well-regarded by and large?
Also, Coach is going to fly to Hawaii instead of visiting his family in Detroit, but then changes his mind because family is important or whatever, and Schmidt and Cece hang out in a First Class lounge until some dirty old bitch (Schmidt’s words), tries to pull an Indecent Proposal on Schmidt and Cece. Cece steals a pillow from the lounge, and they tell each other they like being friends. Eventually, they’ll end up back together, because that’s how television works, and because they seem to be laying that pipe like it’s the Keystone XL.
Can an episode where people hang out in an airport really be an “event” episode? That’s not to say this is what New Girl was trying to do, but this is the final episode before a break, and so, technically their Christmas episode. Plus, some notable things happen. On the other hand, nothing really gets pushed forward, which is fine, because there isn’t anything terribly exciting about what they are usually pushing. That being said, the storytelling, from a dramatic, emotional point of view, was largely more successful than usual, in part because they were a little more reasonable and practical. Then, along the way, there were the usual bits of comedy goodness that New Girl has made its bones on.
After all, this episode began with what seemed like a very dark children’s production of a play involving Santa Claus killing a gingerbread man, and the violent revenge that will be visited upon him. Additionally, kudos to the show for putting their overt product placement in the mouth of a mentally unstable homeless man. New Girl has been trying to push new romances a lot recently, but, for a week, they took a step back, and discussed something people really care about—namely, the logistics of air travel in these modern times of ours.
Chris Morgan is an Internet gadabout who writes on a variety of topics and in a variety of mediums. If he had to select one thing to promote, however, it would be his ’90s blog/podcast, Existential Parachute Pants. (You can also follow him on Twitter.)