New Girl Review: “Bathtub” (Season 2, Episode 10)

Insofar as it can be said that New Girl has an overarching plot, it would probably have to be this: three friends thrust by circumstance into the thrall of a chaotic stranger and the way in which she forces them all to grow up. Thus, an episode like this is something of a sacrifice to the plot gods, leaving out some of the zinging fun of other episodes in order to progress us to a point of evolution during the later half of the season. That said, this half-hour still had a lot to like, and so let us begin.

It all starts with Schmidt, Nick, and Winston watching wrestling, which results in Schmidt trying to put Nick into a camel crunch. Jess breaks up this testosterone-filled display of manliness in order to propose that the loft purchase and install a bathtub in order to help her unwind after work. This plan is almost universally shot down, even though Winston seems less enthusiastic in his disdain than the others.

The next day, Schmidt is told by his former lover/boss that he might have a shot at being in charge of a big account. This is almost purely a function of them having slept together, but the promotion remains, so long as he can come up with a good pitch for Double V Vodka, which is vodka infused with vitamins. This, however, means that he will have to choose his best possible suit to wear to make a good impression. Luckily, he has a portfolio filled with pictures of himself in all of his suits.

Unfortunately, Winston comes clean to Jess about his desire to have a bathtub and they decide to covertly install one on the roof. However, the weight of their secret brings disaster crashing into their loft – literally. The tub perforates the roof, raining water and shattered plaster all over Schmidt’s suits.

This leads to a strange subplot that goes too many different places to really be effective. First Jess and Winston attempt to stage a meth addict break in so Schmidt can just use his renter’s insurance to get new suits. Schmidt, however, has a secret weapon up his sleeve – a security camera in his room that he is sure will help him locate the thief. Jess and Winston know, however, that all he will see is them ruining his suits, as well as their awkward encounter with their sexually aggressive landlord.

This stress unveils Winston’s panic attacks, which he calls The Willies, and yet the freak outs cause him to scream and disrobe before collapsing. Jess then takes it upon herself to help Winston by displaying her own issue, a cripple bout of claustrophobia. To do this she goes into her closet and closes the door, showing Winston that he can beat his own syndrome. Unfortunately, the door becomes stuck, and creepy landlord has to come and rescue them… but only after Winston wigs out and disrobes again, leading to more awkward come-ons.

The funniest plotline involves Nick, who breaks his rule of never crossing the bar at his job in order to talk to the hot, bitter-looking woman who swills whiskey with the same determination he does. Of course, he knows that breaking this rule will only lead to turmoil, but his love of this woman – who he has nicknamed Thirsty since he doesn’t know her name (which turns out to be Angie) – is enough to persuade him. He begins with the wonderfully Nick-appropriate line “You’re a whiskey girl, like me.”

Needless to say, Angie (who I prefer to call Thirsty) comes with a massive set of problems. Her boyfriend, for one, who attempts to destroy Nick until he is knocked out, which requires a trip to a strip club in order to get him stitched up. There, a stripper fight breaks out, and Nick must break it up, which he has plenty of practice doing from a previous time crossing the bar.

So how does it all end up? Nick and Thirsty still find themselves drawn to one another. Winston and Jess get Schmidt’s suits dry cleaned and return them to him under the guise of a repentent meth addict. All pretty pat, save for Schmidt, who has to get drunk with his boss to prove his commitment to the new project. The problem is that he had promised his night to Cece, who was finally going to give him a shot again after she had to dump her boyfriend due to his lack of interest in starting a family, a problem set up in last week’s episode. 

When he arrives at her apartment drunk, babbling about the boss that everyone knows he had been sleeping with, Cece puts him to bed before calling her mother, sighing out her agreement to start being set up with men of her choosing. This destroys Schmidt, but gives everyone a final note to rally around, and sets us up for what will probably be the story for the rest of the season.

Thus, we get back to the heart of my opening graf. This is a show about growing up, and knowing the right way to do it. Nick breaks some rules to find some happiness, Schmidt tries to secure his future with Cece but does so in an immature way, and Winston and Jess just want one childlike way to relax before time takes more of their youth away from them.

It wasn’t a strong episode of New Girl, but it was a fine piece of table setting that will hopefully pay off in the long run.

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