Halloween offers us a chance to put on a costume that can make us more like what we may want to be. We can let out our “sexy” side, we can appeal to our own inner clown, or we can bolster our self-image of power. Thus, tackling the stripping away of surface artifice and the way we interact with the realities of the people around us is an interesting tact for New Girl to take. It’s more subversive than you would expect, especially in an episode as loaded with comedy as this one.
The episode begins with the news that an old flame from Nick’s college days is coming to visit, thus putting him into the wonderfully befuddled and anxious mindset that Jake Johnson plays so well. Meanwhile, Zooey Deschanel’s Jess gets to dress up in a typically strange manner, thanks to her part time job at a haunted house. The outfit is best described as “sexy undead driver’s ed teacher.”
Jess is still seeing Sam, the hot guy who doesn’t care that she lied to him because he just wants to hook up with her. When he leaves his wallet at her apartment, it gives Jess a chance to get a rare glimpse into his private life. It turns out that Sam is a doctor at a pediatric ER, and is insanely good with his young patients. One would think that he would want people to know that he was a doctor, that he helped children, that this information might soften the image of someone who otherwise appears shallow and unfeeling.
This, it turns out, is Sam’s fear. He doesn’t tell women where he works precisely because they will begin to project this charming profession onto him. Jess attempts – barely – to allay his fears that her seeing this in him will make her less likely to respect their current rules of no feelings and no attachments. “This makes me feel nothing…” she says, just barely even attempting to sound sincere.
Nick and his old flame, Amelia, meanwhile, hit it off almost immediately, falling in to bed together and consummating what until this point had been a long unspoken attraction. Unfortunately, the messy reality of what until this point had been a rather idyllic dream – turns out she’s a terrible kisser and a bit quick to declare them “together” – activates Nick’s flight mechanism.
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