Leave it to New Girl to take an “after-school special” topic like body image and puts its own wacky spin on it, resulting in what I think was the funniest episode so far of season four, providing even more laughs than the hysterical premiere that was “The Last Wedding.” I seriously had to keep pressing pause on last night’s episode in order focus on writing any sort of notes because I was laughing so hard.
The idea of shallowness is something New Girl has touched upon before but never as directly as it did in “Micro,” as Jess goes on a date with a guy (guest star Alan Ritchson) who has a real life condition that causes him to have what we’ll refer to in this review as a MP (TVOvermind is a family-friendly site). When Jess informs Nick and the other guys about her date’s size problem, she and Nick make a bet about whether or not Jess will be able to date MP (I don’t think he’s given an actual name) for an entire month, and as it turns out, the issue with Jess’s new guy isn’t his body but his personality.
In a way, “Micro” deals with a lot of the same issues that “Dice” did a couple weeks back. Jess, no matter how much she stresses that she wants something casual, will always look for more with a guy. We can even go as far back as New Girl‘s second season, when she and Sam were strictly hookup buddies until that desire to know him better arose, to see that, for Jess, emotional connection will always come before lust. The reason she breaks things off with MP isn’t because of his “condition.” It’s because he’s a jerk.
And maybe “jerk” is too easy of a description for Ritchson’s character (although the dude truly is a tool), because as Jess says in her goofy motivational speech, we’re all flawed–we’re all covered in tiny, little MPs, both physical and emotional ones, and that’s something that also plays into the episode’s B-plot as Schmidt and Coach try to be models. This story is mostly surface stuff with a ton of great jokes, from Schmidt yelling different ridiculous poses at Coach (“You’ve got mustard on your head! Wipe it off!”) to the whole thing being not a prank but obviously a “classic Winston-and-Cece mess-around.” However, it does do a nice job of tying into Schmidt’s history of being overweight while having the restraint to not give us an unnecessary “Fat Schmidt” flashback scene.
Overall, “Micro” doesn’t do anything groundbreaking. It comments on the topics of body image and shallowness without really offering up anything new or insightful or different. Yet the way it explores these topics in the weird, unique way that New Girl always approaches typical sitcom storylines elevates the material, and, most importantly, it made me laugh.
– The more I think about it, the more I realize that absolutely nothing happened in this episode. Such a paper-thin premise, but I still found it tremendously entertaining.
– I’m going to have to rewatch “Micro” to transcribe every single hilarious line that Nick, Schmidt, Coach, and Winston had about MP’s “condition,” but the one that stood out to me was Winston’s when they were looking up images on Google. “Oh that’s awesome, an anteater’s being born.”
– Coach also had me dying in this episode between anointing Schmidt’s model alter ego as “Chercules” and calling Nick a “Depression-era garbage man,” an insult he apparently had been waiting to use for two years.
– Zooey Deschanel’s delivery of her lines has always been stellar, but I think she’s reaching new heights as a comedic actress this season on New Girl. “You said that street art is education for homeless people.” “It looks like a tiny little pigeon egg.”
– What did you think was the best pose from Schmidt’s modeling book? My personal favorite: “This hot guy with a kidnapped son.” I agree with Coach, though. I don’t think his son is ever going to be found.
Photo via Fox