It’s not often that Nick Miller is right (or in any way poignant. Let’s remember, this is the guy who just last week exclaimed “GAVE ME COOKIE GOT YOU COOKIE” for two minutes straight), but in this week’s episode of New Girl, he was unusually insightful. Relationships aren’t what you expect. The person you meet at a coffee shop one day might not be the same person you’re dating two months later, no matter how much they look and sound exactly the same. Your expectations can’t always be met, and a large reason for that is because people aren’t honest with each other. All four characters dealt with that tonight, as their relationships struggled with their unfair expectations and inability to just be honest with each other.
Because he’s possibly my favorite TV character in existence (and I’m convinced he’s my soulmate), let’s start with Nick. His college friend Amelia is coming into town for work, and Nick, in an attempt to impress her, buys new sheets and a new shirt (neither of which receive Schmidt’s stamp of approval). He had a huge crush on her when they were in school, and as soon as she arrives in the apartment, they discuss his feelings for her and wind up sleeping together. But Amelia’s…not exactly what Nick imagined. She’s a bit, er, enthusiastic (as I tweeted during my rewatch, I am 99% sure that at one point, she licks his teeth), and immediately assumes this means that they’re together.
It’s too much for Nick, and when the gang goes to a Halloween festival (at which Jess is working in a haunted house), he tries to avoid Amelia as much as possible. But she finally confronts him and calls him out on not telling her how he felt in college, even though she was well aware that he liked her. And, as she points out, he’s still unable to be honest. So, finally, he tells her how he felt about her in college, and why he was too afraid to say anything. But he takes it a little too far, and makes fun of the way she kisses. After slapping him, Amelia reminds him of something: she’s an actual person, not just the idea he had built up in his head for years. She can’t possibly be the person he expects her to be, and that’s really why they won’t work out.
Winston’s relationship with Shelly is similarly rocky. They’re going through a dry spell, which to Schmidt, means the relationship is terrible. His frustration with his girlfriend just gets worse when they plan to go to the Halloween festival in sexy costumes and she shows up with stuffed animals attached to a cape – she’s Reigning Cats and Dogs (which is BRILLIANT). But Winston’s too upset to appreciate it – they’re just not on the same page anymore. As Schmidt points out, “without sex, she’s just a friend you buy meals for.” I hate to say it, but Schmidt’s kind of right in this case – every relationship has its ups and downs, but Shelly’s level of comfort in the relationship has become boring to Winston. While they’re going through the haunted house at the Halloween festival, they both acknowledge that things aren’t working out, and they decide to break up.
Honestly, this storyline has never been a particularly exciting one, which sort of comes to a head here. Their relationship just isn’t exciting to either of them. Winston needs that excitement, and I think he favors passion over reliability. After all, they were sex buddies first; to him, that’s what their relationship was built on, and without it, it’s unrecognizable to him. It was a great moment last season when he realized he wanted to be with her, but his expectations weren’t realistic. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next for Winston – out of the three guys, Schmidt’s the fan of one night stands, and Nick prefers long-term relationships (of course, both make exceptions for Cece and random college girls). We don’t really know what Winston wants, and hopefully that’ll be explored this season.
Honesty’s never really been a problem for Schmidt. He’s never attempted to hide his hatred for Cece’s boyfriend Robby, but tonight, Robby finally called him out. The expectations Schmidt and Cece had during their relationship were interesting because they weren’t really what they expected out of the relationship. More than anything, they misjudged each other. As Schmidt noted in the premiere, he seems to have lowered Cece’s standards; we saw his insecurity a few times last season, where he didn’t think Cece wanted to be seen with him (which, okay, she didn’t, and went to great lengths to keep him hidden from her model friends). But now she openly walks around with Robby, and has no problem telling Schmidt how happy she is with him. When they first started sleeping together, neither Schmidt nor Cece expected anything else. But they broke up because he didn’t think he was good enough for her, even though she was perfectly happy with him – and, as her relationship with Robby proves, she doesn’t need someone just like her to be happy.
And, as we found out in this episode, she genuinely misses hanging out with Schmidt. That, I think, is where their relationship has always suffered from their lack of honesty. Before they started sleeping together, they would barely even admit they were friends. When they started sleeping together, they wouldn’t admit that they actually liked each other. And after they broke up, they were too busy fighting to admit that they missed each other’s friendship. Schmidt has always hid behind talking about his attraction to her, while Cece always hid behind talking about her disgust towards him, to keep from being honest about the fact that they actually like each other. And I don’t just mean romantically – there is a genuine friendship there, and in this episode, they finally stop hiding and tell the truth. They miss hanging out with each other. So they resolve to make an effort and work on becoming friends again – as long as Robby’s there, too.
Then again, as Jess’ storyline showed, maybe honesty isn’t always the best policy. She and Sam have been honest with each other from the beginning: the thing between them is strictly about sex. They’re not in a relationship, and they like it that way. But after Jess visits him at work to return his wallet, she discovers he’s a pediatrician (or, as she puts it, “his job is to care about people!”) who puts thank-you letters from patients on his wall and plays adorable games with kids to make them laugh. Naturally, I fell madly in love with him.
Er. I mean Jess. Jess did. This new side to her sex buddy makes her develop *shudder* feelings. She wants to tell him how she feels, so when he’s leaving the apartment one day, she asks him to come to the Halloween festival that night in costume. He tells her he doesn’t do costumes, but he’ll try to show up. Sure enough, he comes – but, much to her disappointment, he’s not in costume, which Jess takes as proof that he doesn’t like her. But then he surprises her by putting on a clown nose (what, no, I didn’t sigh dreamily when he did that. Hey, SHUT UP, YOU DON’T KNOW ME!).
But while Jess is working in the haunted house, Nick finds Sam texting another girl – he says Jess is aware of the fact that he’s seeing other people, and that neither of them want a relationship. Nick, who hates haunted houses, realizes he has to go tell Jess that Sam doesn’t like her. The sequence of Nick getting scared in the haunted house may just be the greatest thing ever shown on television, especially when he and a clown just start screaming at each other. It ends with Jess jumping out at him; Nick panics and punches her, which results in the other monsters in the haunted house kicking him out. He doesn’t get a chance to tell her about Sam, so when the doctor takes Jess aside to look at her bruise, she tells him how she feels and that she wants to go out with him.
But Sam hasn’t changed his mind about what he wants, and ultimately, Jess asks him to leave. I’m sad to see Sam go for reasons that are only 50% superficial. Jess struggled last season with her serial monogamy, and only using someone for sex was such a huge departure for her. And what’s interesting here is that this time, failed expectations and a lack of honesty didn’t lead to the end of a relationship. Jess knew exactly what Sam wanted, and for a while, that’s what she wanted, too. You can do everything right and be honest with someone, and things still might not work out. Relationships are all wibbly-wobbly, humany-wumany. And besides – they’re no fun if you’ve got it all figured out.
Some other aspects of the episode that I enjoyed:
-Any flashback to the guys’ college days kills me. Of course Nick was that douche who serenaded girls with a guitar.
-I want Nick Miller’s face on my face. This isn’t really relevant to anything. I just say it, like, six times during every episode.
-The Zombie Woody Allen impressions were brilliant, as was Winston finally being able to come up with one.
-“High five for sluts!”
-“I was just thinking about Abe Lincoln today.” “We all were.” The joke about Americans thinking about Abe Lincoln daily was hilarious, and that callback was so unexpected and amazing.
-All of Schmidt’s attempts to headbutt Robby, and Robby’s method of blocking it with his entire hand, made me cry both times I watched the episode.
-“Why do you have a mustache glued on top of your mustache?”
-I loved Nick’s fear of the haunted house, because I also don’t do haunted houses. No, I’m not afraid of them, I just don’t do them, okay? His shrieking “This is my nightmare!” as the other monsters attacked him for punching Jess was such a GPOY.
-Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I’m not the biggest Zooey Deschanel fan, but more and more, I’m seeing less of her in Jess, and I can actually appreciate the character. When Sam asked what she had been eating and she responded, “Braaaaains,” I felt something that may have been a rush of affection. It was cute, okay?! Whatever, don’t judge me.
What did you guys think of “Halloween”? Let me know in the comments! And out of the three relationships that ended tonight, which was the most upsetting (personally, I’m going for Jess and Sam, because that means we won’t be seeing his adorableness anymore)?