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New Girl: Ex Games


Accidentally on purpose. What does it mean? It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard before. It’s a failed television show starring Jenna Elfman. It’s a book by LD Davis. It’s the most important thing to understand about this week’s “New Girl” episode. Whether it happened accidentally or on purpose — or if it was meant to look like an accident — this episode discovered a new path it needs to follow.

“Exes” is an aptly titled episode, signifying the return to Nick and Jess’ exes, Caroline and Seth from “The OC.” It lands a lot of hilarious jokes, but it’s premise never really takes off. At its core, “Exes” is an episode about Caroline needing closure and Seth from “The OC” wanting to sleep with Jess either for one last time or the rest of his life. It doesn’t have anything to do with Nick or Jess, besides the fact that Jess has been naively leading Seth from “The OC” on for years.

Why doesn’t the show bring back Spencer, Jess’ serious boyfriend from the beginning of the show? When did she supposedly date Seth from “The OC” and how is he a more serious boyfriend than Spencer? Jess lived with Spencer, until the pilot episode. Did she live with Seth from “The OC,” too?

Caroline plays a role in the most important scene of “Exes.” She goes off about how Nick treated her and how he’ll do the same to Jess and it causes Jess to break down. It’s such a real moment as Jess realizes who she’s with and that he has a serious history with another girl. Whether Nick was being completely honest when he tells Jess he loved her from the moment she walked in the apartment door is anybody’s best guess.

Winston and Coach spend another episode together, which is quickly turning into the only way they’re used in the show. Schmidt finally finished decorating his apartment and invites Winston and Coach over. He gives them keys, shows them around and they use it as a bachelor pad to pick up ladies later that night. This is a hilarious sequence, but it sounds a lot like roommates moving in together.

Maybe it’s accidentally on purpose, but “New Girl” found an important, plausible story it should follow. This show cannot be afraid to change. It doesn’t have to do much, now, to make it happen. Winston and Coach already have the keys.

Shows that last aren’t afraid to move characters around and this move would make sense for everybody. Putting the three single guys in an apartment together would help them grow, especially since Winston and Coach are suffocating where they live right now. It brings Schmidt back into the fold, since he floated into the background after the beginning of this season. Then, it gives Nick and Jess their own place — granted, it’s much more space than they need. The couple needs to live together as a couple, which means they need to be alone. Their stories this season have often been independent from the group and this change opens up more opportunities for that.

Otherwise, how will anybody grow? The way things are going for Nick and Jess, you’d think their next step is to get engaged but it’s way too soon for that. An engagement may kill this show, for good, like Nick moving in with Caroline at the end of season one would’ve meant the end of the show. In that case, you got a feeling that’s the way it was written because the creators of “New Girl” didn’t know if it would last more than one season. Here, those creators need to be looking to open up avenues to the future that will make it last longer.

I hope the show takes this direction. It not only restores order in “New Girl” world, but creates new possibilities. What’s better than a new apartment, especially one Schmidt designed? “Exes” sets it up by handing out keys, then Winston and Coach use the apartment like it’s their own. It’s a change begging to be made.


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