When I think of major airports — Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta, LAX — I imagine scenes like the one the New Girl gang steps into in this week’s “LAXmas” episode. For some odd ball reason, I also associated those places with some moderate amount of luxury like there must be a mall inside or something.
But I’ve walked through LAX at least once, that I remember, and it was disappointing. It looked old, dirty and bland. And although I haven’t spent much time inside, I can’t imagine being stranded there like they are in New Girl.
Yet, the episode isn’t about a dirty airport, it just happens to take place in one. It’s about Schmidt and Cece entering the friend zone, Coach choosing family ahead of vacation, Nick and Winston incorporating scare tactics to climb their way up the standby list, and of course Jess taking a major step in her relationship with Ryan.
For some reason, New Girl always does holiday episodes right. Show runner Elizabeth Meriwether has cornered the market in four years. “LAXmas” is no different, as Jess is once again faced with another milestone in her relationship.
In three weeks, Jess has been busy. She got out of her own way on Thanksgiving and went after Ryan. On Christmas, Ryan has invited her to London to meet his family but she runs into every road block possible. First, all of the flights are delayed because of a winter storm. Then, she finds out his family is filthy rich and she’s not sure if she’s good enough for him. Also, Santa steals her presents and airport employee Barry (the hilarious Billy Eichner) talks her out of going.
Like many times in the past, the roommates have to push her in the right direction. But she’s faced with a very real insecurity. What if Ryan’s out of her league? What if his family doesn’t think she’s good enough? She’s going all the way to London to find out, which is a “meet my family” you can’t easily leave.
But it’s really only Ryan’s opinion that matters, and he thinks she’s good enough. After all, he goes back to LA to spend Christmas with her when she texts him that she’s not coming. New Girl wouldn’t be a TV comedy if two people dating didn’t end up 17 hours away from each other on Christmas.
Everyone ends up on flights home, most admirably Coach. He’s back in Detroit for Christmas, choosing family over a Hawaiian getaway. It’s one of the sweet stories of “LAXmas” because it paints Uncle Ernie a softer side. It also brings into real time all the background about Coach’s sisters from last week’s “Girl Fight.”
MY FAVORITE THING: There’s a joke by comedian Dane Cook about scaring people at airports, creeping up on them and saying things like “Don’t get on the flight.” And that’s kind of what Nick and Winston do in “LAXmas.” It’s an excellent skit for the Chicago duo with all the classic ploys — just got drunk and high with the pilots, Winston breast feeding, and Nick impersonating a ticket taker.