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“New Girl”: Goes in me

Trust me, I know how Nick Miller feels working nights when everyone else works days. It’s difficult to stay connected to friends that way, and this week’s “Landline” brings that frustration to the forefront for our self-knighted prince of the loft.

The roommates’ lives are more different now than ever before. Jess is vice principal at school and Coach is teaching P.E. Schmidt’s career is presumably blossoming as he is interviewed by Business, Man! magazine and Officer Bishop is still growing into his uniform for the police department. All four people have an episode devoted to their changing surroundings — Jess and Coach this week, Schmidt with the sponges and Winston with the barbecue.

But this week’s episode of New Girl also mirrors as Nick’s sounding board. His life is pretty much the same, besides the fact that his room has turned into a pay phone bank because the building under construction next door has dwarfed cell reception from the loft. It’s ironic how frustrated he was by his bedroom turning into a hub, compared to how vindicated he was to assume the role of loft secretary.

Jess has a crazy idea to buy a landline (“Why does it have a rope,” Schmidt wonders), which disconnects the episode only slightly because it’s pretty shocking how quickly everyone starts receiving meaningful calls on the “home” phone. As much as I considered it, the seismic shift between mobile minutes and land minutes is difficult to believe. Nonetheless, it brings Nick back into his friends’ lives.

What an astounding idea New Girl creator Liz Meriweather had this week. How shaken up would people be if, all of a sudden, one person had access to all of his roommates’ personal business? That’s the power Mr. Miller has. He’s able to ignore important phone calls for Schmidt if he wants to, or break up with Winston’s Judy if he feels like it. And don’t they dare bring in a machine to do a human’s job — a fantastic satire to a real-world concern. Of all the robots taking assembly line workers’ jobs, it’s the answering machine that’s the worst villain here.

It’s noticeable that nothing meaningful seems to come through the phone for Jess and Coach. Meriweather segmented the pair, as they have quite a bit going on at school this week. Jess often finds herself wearing the hypocrite’s hat in situations where she’s trying to prove a point and “Landline” is another example of that.

Coach is sleeping with Nurse Ruth, who wears a Sexy Nurse Halloween costume to school, and Angela from The Office. The back-and-forth story about how Coach and Ruth met each other (from “I have a cut” to “We had sex”) is an absolutely phenomenal sequence of lines in this episode, but it’s a source for some tension.

Vice Principal Day doesn’t think teachers should be sleeping together without proper documentation, but that all changes when Jess meets Mr. Goesinme (of course, not the correct spelling). The new British science teacher has Jess hot and thinking dirty thoughts.

After Coach coerces a sexy skit between Jess and Mr. Goesinme, during which Ms. Day apparently blacks out by the sensation of neck rub, Jess comes clean about her over-administrative advances. But this, of course, is what Jess often battles: the balance between setting a standard as VP and being a woman with urges.

We don’t expect the principal’s lawsuit-waiting-to-happen lecture will stop Jess from moving in on Goesinme, but I guess we don’t know which persona will show up at school, Ms. Day or Jess.

My favorite thing — There was nothing better than the old lady teacher shouting, “The British are coming!” at Jess’ sexual harassment seminar, and then later noticing the same teacher was asleep during Jess and Ryan’s skit.


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