I’m going to spend a moment reflecting on what made last season’s “Swuit” episode good. Nick and Schmidt had what they thought was their best idea of their business partnership. It, in fact, wasn’t as good as they thought, but New Girl has almost always succeeded when it features those two working together because they are the show’s best comedy pair. Ultimately, the decision to buy the bar comes out of the season four partnership, and that gets us to land on “What About Fred,” an episode I wasn’t motivated to recap.
It opens with Nick and Schmidt crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s of the bar contract. Immediately, there’s a great knucklehead joke with them thinking the lawyer is instead the person they’re buying the bar from. Soon after in another hilarious moment, Nick takes on his newfound stature by training how to slide a shot across the bar (or something like that, I don’t know, I’m not a bartender) and breaks a glass. Their shared ownership, I hope, is a contributing part of this season, and the good news is they’re committing a new character to it. Busy Phillips is being brought in to play a rival bar owner.
This storyline gives us a couple really good bits, despite the episode being a little weak. First, there’s this separation of business and personal relationship for Schmidt and Cece which is cute because the guys are basically dealing with a Cece-led revolt by the bar’s employees who don’t want the uniformity that Schmidt is trying to push onto them.
Related, the episode shows that Schmidt doesn’t really get along with the employees, especially Javier (Thom Rivera), like Nick does. It makes sense — Nick’s one of their own, but Schmidt’s kind of this minority owner who belongs behind the scenes. That is the resolution he and Nick make in the end, and that should mean Nick’s allowed to run the show how he wants to. That means this storyline will be awesome this season.
Jess is in a whole different deal, a bad one. She’s out in the dating scene again and starts seeing Fred (guest star Taran Killam) who still lives with his parents. She falls for his parents because she sees a lifelong relationship that she admires and dreams of, and she hates Fred. So she tries navigating her way into a personal relationship with the parents, sans Fred. Of course, they’re not stupid — they know their son is weird. So they try making a deal with Jess (and Winston, who’s in on this, too). I get the feeling they’ve dealt with this before. But it’s a bad deal, and really a dry story.