After spending the last several weeks dispatching with the Nick-Jess romance in favor of more engaging story lines, New Girl took a sharp left turn last night, employing tired stereotypes with the likely consequence of alienating much of its viewership.
The episode revolved around several jokes that audiences could have found offensive; if the characters, too, had realized that those jokes were offensive (or called each other out on it), it might have been redeemable. But Nick never realized that his willingness to pretend to be gay — so that Jess doesn’t have to confront the awkward problem of telling a date she lives with her ex — was strange and problematic. If anything, he leaned into it by pretending Schmidt was his lover.
And Schmidt, who was upset that his ex-girlfriend Cece was considering breast reduction surgery, never decided that he ought to prioritize Cece’s happiness over the pleasure he derives from her body. Instead, he demanded to have a conversation with her boobs — not her, but her boobs — so he could say goodbye to them. He even went so far as to put headphones in Cece’s ears to make sure that she couldn’t hear him talking to her breasts. He wasn’t having a conversation with a human being — just her chest.
In doing so, Schmidt reduced Cece to her anatomy. Schmidt has played an over-the-top douchebag before, but for laughs. This felt less funny and more creepy, especially considering that the writers seem to want to steer Cece and Schmidt back together. Why would Cece ever want to date a man who seems to love her chest so much more than he loves her?
Perhaps worst of all, Winston and Coach debated the best way to trick their female neighbors into sleeping with them. Winston’s strategy was to do nice things for the two women until they finally relented; for his part, Coach lied to the ladies in hopes of convincing one of them to have a one night stand with him. The women catch Winston and Coach in their lies and throw them out of their house. But that’s not the end of it. At the end of the episode, Coach confronts the girls and tells them that Winston isn’t going to keep doing nice things for them unless they sleep with him. (Because sex is the only reason men ever do nice things for women.)
Instead of tossing the men out, the women play rock, paper, scissors, and the loser says she’ll sleep with Winston. Winston should have been offended that neither of these women wants to have sex with him enough to actually volunteer. The women should be offended that they are being asked to exchange sex for odd jobs around the house.
Everyone was the worst, and nobody really learned any lessons. Better luck next week.