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TV Diary | New Girl: “Injured”

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TV Diary | New Girl – Episode 1.14 – “Injured“ – Original Airdate: 3/6/12

Episode Grade: A-

I didn’t write anything about New Girl’s previous episode “Bully” because, quite frankly, it wasn’t very good and I wouldn’t have had much to say beyond, “Boy, this episode of New Girl wasn’t really that good.” Might have been their weakest yet. However, when the show’s able to follow that up by throwing out an episode that’s as strong and impressive as “Injured” was… we’re gonna talk about that one. That it ended scored by Beach House’s “Take Care” was just the icing on the cake. “Injured” takes a very simple set-up – while playing a game of football in the park, Jess tackles Nick and unwittingly causes bodily harm – and uses it to examine the aimlessness that many late-20s/early-30s guys and gals experience in their lives. Took a kind of roundabout way to get there [1], but “Injured” went deeper than the surface farce that many of New Girl’s episodes tend to wind up as. That’s not necessarily a criticism because I’ve found New Girl to be probably the best new sitcom of the 2011-12 season, but it’s nice to see that the show has another voice that it can utilize as part of its arsenal. After Nick receives the troubling news from Sadie, he tries to slough any concern off as most young and seemingly invincible people will, leaving his roommates to begin looking up potential diagnoses on their smartphones [2] only to then spiral into a group crying jag after sufficiently freaking themselves out [3]. Nick, after initially being reluctant to go to the appointment [4], spends the rest of the night getting drunk and wasted on pain pills with his friends while they simultaneously try to convince him to get checked out. Some good-natured ribbing occurs [5], everyone eventually ends up at the beach leading to a poignant scene where Nick tells Jess that he realizes that he needs to start “do(ing) things” while also telling her, “I like you a lot. I’m glad you’re around,” which feels as much like the next step in the inevitable Jess/Nick pairing as it does someone finally opening up and allowing someone to help them. Of course, this being New Girl, Nick is ultimately OK and Jess, Schmidt, Winston, and CeCe foot the bill for the ultrasound [6], but frankly? I wouldn’t have wanted this episode to end any other way. “Injured” was a gigantic step forward all around for New Girl in taking a look at how adulthood has to begin at one point or another whether we like it or not and, although I don’t think it would necessarily be effective for the show to go to this well all that often it’s nice to know that when they do, they’re gonna do it well.

[1] Nick doesn’t have health insurance so Jess calls in a favor and takes him to see her friend Sadie (June Diane Raphael), an OB/GYN. While there, Sadie points out that Nick appears to have a growth on his thyroid and sets up an appointment for an ultrasound. Beyond the heaviness of the situation, there’s a nicely played scene where Sadie and Jess play angel and devil, respectively, on Nick’s shoulder about the pain pills that Sadie “can’t” prescribe to him.
[2] The best may have been the one on Jess’s phone that had a graphic overlay of a skull and crossbones and the word “death” on top of a Wikipedia-esque page.
[3] Self-diagnosis on the Internet – ALWAYS a bad idea, kids.
[4] Leading to a great improv’d scene by Jake M. Johnson where he lists the numerous reasons why he’ll be unable to make the appointment.
[5] Though Nick does fire a shot that lands with Jess when he tells her that she doesn’t know how to be “real.”
[6] Nick is what we call “uninsured.” Everyone paying for his treatment adds to the growing family atmosphere of the show, though.

Miscellany:
*Since a large part of the episode focused on Nick’s health scare, there wasn’t a whole lot of time for b- or c-stories but the closest thing to one gave a little more depth to the Winston character, something the show has struggled to do ever since he was introduced in the second episode. Here, we saw Winston struggle to let go of a beater of a car that he’d originally acquired as an under-the-table recruiting gift from his college basketball days. In some respects, it dovetailed nicely with the Nick story in that both showed that it’s often difficult for those on the cusp of their thirties to start facing their adulthood – though clearly Winston not wanting to break ties with his busted-ass car doesn’t quite have the dramatic heft of Nick thinking he’s going to DIE – but Lamorne Morris played things well. I’m still not convinced that New Girl has any idea what they want to do with Winston, but every once in a while they’ll stumble upon something that works for the character. This was one of those times.
*Glad to see June Diane Raphael back as Sadie. Good shows make sure to fill out their universes. We’ve already seen repeat appearances by Rachael Harris as Jess’s vice principal boss and now Raphael returns as Jess’s friend. Not only is New Girl populating its world, but it’s doing it with talented comedians. Always a good sign.
*Cutaway humor is often lazy and tangential (I’m looking at you, Family Guy), but New Girl uses it well. Evidence: Winston’s nonplussed look in the flashback to his college days when a hot co-ed asks if the car he’s sitting in belongs to him and, when he answers in the affirmative, she flashes her boobies at him.
*Jess’s Daffy Duck impression is predictably awful. As is Schmidt’s flow while rapping.
*Schmidt is still way too into seeing Nick naked. Nice callback to earlier in the season, though.
*”Probably your lateral sizer.”
*”I can taste my spine right now.”
*”Please don’t do what you’re about to…”
*”I take those too. When I have a heavy flow.”
*”Treat your body like a temple. Treat your body like a temple. But he treats his like a dump. Like a DUMP.”
*”Are you using your best friend’s medical crisis to feel my boobs with your face?”
*”Question: Am I wearing a hat?” | Nick, doped up on pills
*”I’ve done things. I wrote half a book about zombies.”
*”Stop Fredo-kissing me, Schmidt.”
*Episode below via Hulu as usual.

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Written by jeremylikestv

March 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

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