TV Diary | New Girl: “The Landlord”
TV Diary | New Girl – Episode 1.12 – “The Landlord“ – Original Airdate: 2/7/12
Episode Grade: B
Some quick thoughts on an episode that’s essentially a month old: “The Landlord” basically existed to put more tension into the Jess/Nick relationship via their differing outlooks on life, those outlooks manifesting themselves in “The Landlord” by the way that each character viewed their creepy landlord Remy (played by the professionally creepy Jeff Kober, last seen as the slimy Mayor Hale on Sons Of Anarchy). After being warned away from approaching Remy by all three of her roommates about the variety of issues needing attention in the apartment  , Jess steadfastly refuses to believe that the Remy could possibly be the boogeyman that Nick, Schmidt, and Winston all paint him as. She visits him in his office and initially succeeds only in getting the apartment audited – not good since Remy’s records show there are only supposed to be three tenants instead of four, which admittedly does lead to a funny scene where the roommates have a standing procedure for such an occurrence which includes Schmidt posing as a traveler as a means of explaining his presence, but too much of the storyline was marked by cringe-worthy awkwardness, as evidenced by Remy’s romantic interest in Jess. And, indeed, the climax  of the episode comes after Remy mistakes Jess’s kindness for something else which then eventually leads to an aborted three-way between Jess, Remy, and Nick after Nick hangs around to play chaperone on a dinner date (of sorts) between Remy and Jess in the apartment. The plotline did provide some insight into the origins of both Jess’s optimism and Nick’s pessimism  and once again gave Zooey Deschanel and Jake M. Johnson an opportunity to display their ample chemistry, but while I’m usually a fan of awkward comedy this was turned up a notch or two too high in that it didn’t really fit with the Jess and Nick characters that we’ve seen develop over the past eleven episodes . I’m not too concerned because all of that is indicative of a show that’s still finding itself and most of the show’s jokes still are landing. In all, a fairly average effort that still managed to provide a few laughs amidst the akwardness.
 Which includes a nice callback to Nick’s ridiculously horrible plumbing skills. It’s always nice when shows develop characters this way and refer back. It’s effective world-building.
 Pardon the pun. You’ll see why in a minute.
 More good characterization: Flashing back to Nick and Jess as kids, Nick finds a $5 bill on the ground only to be immediately mugged, while Jess is approached by a suspicious man in a van asking if she wants some candy… only to have the side door of the van open to reveal his elderly mother innocently giving away free candy. Got a chuckle out of this sequence.
 Though the breaking point occurring just as Nick was about to kiss Jess did make for a logical end point.
*While Jess and Nick were preoccupied with Remy, the rest of “The Landlord” dealt with Schmidt’s uncertainty over whether his cougar-ish boss (Gillian Vigman, Suburgatory) was coming onto him. He thinks he’s getting mixed signals – “Bring me the budget reports? Just say what you mean.” – that leads to even more of the awkwardness that was the order of the episode. I’m actually still trying to figure out whether the resolution that lead to Schmidt being beaten down by some overzealous security guards who mistook dry humping in the parking garage for a sexual assault was funny or a step too far. The best thing to come out of this thread, though, was the montage of scenes showing Schmidt misinterpreting signals, including taking a deliveryman telling him that he had a “package” for him the wrong way. Schmidt as ass is proving to be a go-to well for the show.
*Remy’s idea of “relax music” to get the three-way started: Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way.”
*New Girl is still trying to figure out what they want to do with Winston – Happy Endings getting picked up for a second season kind of screwed this show over since Damon Wayans had to go back there – but the one consistent characterization thus far has been his love of tormenting Schmidt and here he finds an old piece of paper belonging to Schmidt that contains such old New Year’s resolutions such as “Only think of new hot CFO every other time I masturbate.” Again… Schmidt as ass equals funny and Winston seems to be the catalyst for this equation much of the time.
*”Why don’t you come in here, take my pants off and kiss my… oh my God, he has a gun!” “This is like The Wire.”
*”A smile’s a sign of weakness.”
*”Cool office. I like your… bucket of gasoline.”
*”Honestly, I was expecting a lot worse. Four people is fine. Just paint over the sex wall.”
*”One day we were humping, everything changed, and we weren’t humping.”
*”Oh, come on… don’t you ever wear jeans? You look like you should be distracting James Bond at a baccarat table.”
*”What if I ate my own hair and pooped out a wig? What if I called my mom after sex and described it? What if I had a croissant blog?”
*”Remy brought a bottle of… this.” “I ferment things in the basement.”
*”Hey, Remy… what happened to your pants?”
*”Nick will make a fantastic underpants captain.”
*Episode below via Hulu as usual.