New Girl: "Neighbors"
    Photo courtesy of FOX.

    Once again an episode of New Girl greets us with a down-on-her-luck Jess. Sitting on the couch marathoning 80's sitcoms, Jess laments about her new part-time job as a casserole ladler. As Jess is mid-Urkel impression, the doorbell rings, and the gang is greeted by the new neighbors, four trendy 20-somethings who look straight off the pages of an Urban Outfitters catalogue. Chaz, Fife, Sutton and Brory, as they’re ridiculously called, tell Schmidt that they’re going to be having a party, with “young people like us.”

    Schmidt is especially affronted by their use of the phrase “young people like us,” which spurs the gang to confront their age and mortality in their own ways. Schmidt, spiraling into denial, completely dismisses the possibility that he is getting older, claiming the he is “like a Jewish Peter Pan. Petye Pan…Pesach Pan.” Winston believes after perusing the Internet that his life expectancy is only 67, and panics about how little he’s done with his life. Nick, on the other hand, embraces the prospect of getting old and wrinkly, excited that his body will finally match up with his curmudgeonly old man soul.

    Desperate to preserve his youth, Schmidt drags Jess over to the neighbors. While the hip, Goodwill-clad youngsters reject Schmidt and his yuppie conversations about aioli, they quickly take a liking to Jess, taking her lack of a real job or direction in life to mean that she “is figuring it out, just like us!” Meanwhile, Nick follows his passion of pranking Schmidt, capitalizing on Schmidt’s quarter-life crisis to make him feel old.

    Nick’s pranks and the neighbors’ youthful scorn start to take their toll; Schmidt does the unthinkable and begs Jess, decked out in her bright red Casserole Shanty visor, to help him be cool. Of course, Schmidt being Schmidt, completely disregards anything and everything Jess may have said to him, and shows up at the neighbors’ hipster enclave bedecked in a “Registered Sex Defender” shirt, mistaking a bad pun for being ironic (but for real, where do I get one of those shirts?). The neighbors continue to fixate on Jess, amazed that she can actually do her own laundry and knows how to use a dishwasher, skills that they describe as iconoclastic. As polyamorous triad Brory, Sutton and Fife, and floater Chaz ponder why there’s no dish dryer and consider moving to Prague, Jess loses her shit because seriously, who doesn’t know how to do laundry/use a dishwasher (me a year ago/still me now)?!

    Back at the apartment, Jess belittles Schmidt for trying too hard. Schmidt counters Jess, by completely agreeing with her. Yes, he tries too hard, but that’ why he has a job a Jess works at a place called Casserole Shanty. Schmidt tells Jess she needs to go back to teaching. The neighbors stop by, and Chaz tells Schmidt that “we don’t hate you for being old, we hate you for being a viciously unbearable asshead,” much to Schmidt’s relief.

    Before this recap is complete, it’s worth noting that Winston actually had quite a few lines this episode, and dare I say it, a minor story arc! After storming into a boardroom and giving a poorly delivered speech, Winston is now the producer of his own sports talk show, albeit one at 2:35 a.m.

    The episode ends with Jess tragically parting ways with her glamorous job ladling casserole in favor of a tutoring job, putting our new girl right back on track. Oh, and then Winston, in an attempt to pull a prank, inexplicably jumps out in front of Schmidt and yells, “I’m gonna hit your ass with a ski!” Such a sweet, sweet denouement.

    Final note: While the depiction of the millennial generation in the episode is obviously exaggerated for comedic effect, some moments got a little too real. Consider this a PSA on learning how to do your own laundry. No one respects a 20-year-old who still has to have his mom clean his underwear.


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