I read spoilers, so when the loftmates started hanging out in the empty apartment across the hall and their elderly neighbor — did Jess call her Miss Beverly? I really want to call her Miss Beverly. That's her name now — died on the toilet, Elvis style, I had a pretty good idea of how this week's episode of New Girl was going to end.
Jess, Nick, and Winston gather in the empty apartment to discuss Schmidt. He is still in his post-breakup depression and has taken to eating copious amounts of cold cuts, shotgunning mayonnaise, and chewing enormous blocks of cheese. Max Greenfield really earned his paycheck this week between the nasty food and the fat suit. Sex and the City's Charlotte York once said that it takes half the length of a relationship to get over it, post-breakup. When you break up with two women, the timing apparently doubles.
I love the episodes that remind us about how much history these guys have. As a child, Schmidt's parents' divorce left him depressed and in an endless cycle of crying and chocolate, which is basically my life every 28 days. To quell his sadness, young Schmidt began writing letters to his favorite celebrity, Michael Keaton. Not wanting to cause her son any more pain, Mrs. Schmidt, who drinks more whiskey than any middle-aged Jewish woman has ever drunk, begins responding.
When chubby teen Schmidt goes off to college, his mother recruits his perpetually stoned, tie-dye wearing, chronic masturbator of a roommate to continue the ruse, which, current-day Nick tells us in voiceover, made it difficult to study.
But despite the interference with his baser needs, Nick has been taking on the role of correspondence-Keaton for a decade, and is determined to retire firstname.lastname@example.org. Care to take guesses on how many people have tried that email address since the episode aired?
Of course, Jess takes it upon herself to pick up where Nick is trying to leave off. For anyone who is still wondering about the big challenges Nick and Jess are going to have to overcome, this is it: Jess' inability to leave well enough alone. She has the best of intentions, as we saw in last week's episode, The Box, but we've all heard the saying about good intentions and hell. I'd like to see Nick and Jess surprise everyone, including themselves, and actually work through their differences rather than doing the whole on-again, off-again thing, but if they have a (temporary) downfall, it might be due more to Jess than Nick.
Back to the episode at hand. Schmidt has received a new email from "Michael Keaton," courtesy of "Jessica Damn Day," (best Winston line of the night), and is enlisting his roommates' help to decide how to respond. Basically, he's being a girl and really should enlist the help of HeTexted.com.
Sucked into the ruse once again, Nick dons a Batman mask (I'm pretty sure was made from a garbage bag) in order to best channel Michael Keaton.
"I sleep with this person," Jess announces, and other than a token smooch, it's the only reference to the romance that takes place in this episode. It's good to see that the two can be together, and be in a relationship without every episode having to be about their relationship.
While answering the door for some trick-or-treating kids, Schmidt hears the sound of his text messages to Michael Keaton and discovers the others in the empty loft. The jig is up, but the brain trust doesn't know Schmidt knows.
At Jess' Halloween party, she's dressed as Joey Ramone-a Quimby (kind of awesome), Schmidt is a public serpent (snake with a tie), Winston is David Letterman, and Nick, looking to steal the crown from Jim Halpert in the lack of Halloween effort, is wearing trash from his car. The Bee Arthur costume was genius by comparison.
Jess convinces a kid to give up his Batman costume so she can take on the role of Michael Keaton, another sweet-but-misguided Jess move ("Listen to your woman voice," Nick admonishes her).
Schmidt calls them on their crap just as Cece shows up dressed as … I'm not sure what, exactly, but it involved a leopard print bra and a pirate hat. I'm going with Slutty Jungle Pirate. Since the breakup, Cece has been resorting to drinking and partying, but, as she tells Jess, seeing Schmidt again offers her a sense of closure, so it'll be good to see where the proverbial "Batmanmobile," as Jess calls it, takes her from here. Yes, like Joey Tribbiani and his "noodle soup," Jess cannot drop the "man" from the "mobile."
But Batmobiles and Slutty Jungle Pirates aside, Nick is forced to admit that he's been Keatoning Schmidt all these years, and the two have a talk that ends in Nick making an emotional "you always have me" statement that should have been the cue for the opening chords of "Don't You Forget About Me."
"What is this, the end of a high school football movie?" Schmidt demands.
Sitcoms often portray groups of friends who maintain a familial closeness into their thirties, the kind of closeness some of us had in college, but often begins to fade into our twenties, and more so beyond that. I don't know a lot of people over the age of 25 who see their best friends (spouses and significant others notwithstanding) every day. But realistic or not, it's nice to see characters who are willing to get into weird scrapes for one another. Public Service Announcement: Friends are important. Friends for whom you are willing to make an ass of yourself are very important.
Learning that his relationship with Michael Keaton was even more of a fraud than his relationships with Elizabeth and Cece — or his friendship with Kanye — Schmidt decides to take a page from the book of Billy Joel: "I'm movin' out," he announces.
And so, armed with a bunch of random possessions (including the douchebag jar!) Schmidt begins the long journey to solitude and independence … across the hall. Yep, saw that one coming for sure.
Next week on New Girl: Will Schmidt's new apartment resemble a Pottery Barn catalogue? Will the ghost of Miss Beverly haunt him? Will Schmidt feel some sort of sexy Poltergeist vibe emanating from the great beyond? Oh God, he will, won't he? Schmidt is totally the type to think an old lady ghost is trying to get into his pants.
Someone pass me a beer.