New Girl’s ‘Goldmine’ Episode: A Hilarious Ride with a Few Problematic Pitfalls

New Girl 4.07

As a seasoned writer and a passionate fan of the cinematic universe, I’ve always admired how New Girl has never shied away from embracing weird or zany plots. The key to making these storylines work is grounding them in the real relationships between the characters. For instance, an entire episode about hiding meth from a police sergeant can work because it’s based on Jess’s lack of faith in Winston. Last week’s “Background Check” explored and engaged that pair’s relationship in a very interesting and authentic way. While “Goldmine” isn’t as good at grounding its zaniness as “Background Check,” it still delivers a very funny episode of New Girl.

Three Storylines, One Hilarious Episode

Last night’s episode focused on three separate storylines: Nick pretending to be gay so that Jess’s new guy wouldn’t freak out about her living with her ex; Coach trying to convince Winston to stop playing “the long game” and use another strategy to bed one of their incredibly attractive neighbors (Alexandra Daddario and Amber Stevens); and Schmidt preparing to say goodbye to his two “best friends” as Cece considers getting a breast reduction surgery. If all of those plots sound a little superficial, not to mention problematic, that’s because, well, they kind of are. However, it’s all about the execution, and New Girl mostly (I’ll get into the parts where it faltered in a bit) stays away from the cringe- and groan-worthy moments, milking the comedy from these situations while also attempting to add some depth to its characters’ interactions.

Gay Nick: A Surprisingly Well-Handled Plot

I would argue Nick being “Gay Nick” was handled pretty well by the show. Having a character on a series pretend to be a different sexual orientation is not exactly a storyline that I would typically suggest a show do (my eyes are still rolling at Two and Half Men‘s plan to have Alan and Walden get married), but Nick’s speech about how gay men shouldn’t be put into boxes, plus his and Jess’s imagined background for his gay persona (my favorite part of Gay Nick’s history being that his brother was a “union guy” named Chip), shows New Girl attempting to subvert stereotypes and actually give more thought and detail to this plot than most shows would. Plus, this was a really smart and different way for the show to explore Nick and Jess’s post-breakup relationship again, as they haven’t had too much interaction with each other since the Season 4 premiere.

Problematic Pitfalls in the Other Storylines

Unfortunately, the episode’s two other storylines, while certainly funny, don’t manage to escape their problematic pitfalls, as two separate scenes left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The first was Schmidt’s line to Cece about how her “breasts belong to all of us.” Although Max Greenfield sells pretty much every scene of Schmidt spiraling due to Cece’s possible breast reduction, even he can’t save this line, which goes from Schmidt’s typical doucheyness and transforms into something a little worse. I don’t know–I’m just not a fan of guys telling women what to do with their bodies, even if it’s not serious and being played for laughs. Thankfully, New Girl tries to (and mostly succeeds) in redeeming Schmidt’s behavior with his doctor’s office goodbye to Cece’s breasts, where she overhears him saying that he wants them to stay the same because Cece’s the most beautiful woman in the world and doesn’t need to change.

Similarly, the second scene from last night’s New Girl which just didn’t work for me was when Michelle (Daddario) and Viv (Stevens) rock-paper-scissor to see who has to sleep with Winston. Ultimately, it’s Michelle who has to do the deed, and even though her instructions to Winston are pretty funny, I don’t think anything could have really saved that scene. I wasn’t a Gender Studies major in college or anything, but the idea of two women feeling trapped into a situation where they need to “repay” a man by sleeping with him just feels wrong, no matter what show it’s in.

Laughing Through the Flaws

Aside from those two complaints, though, I mostly enjoyed the episode. Jake Johnson, as usual, was on his A-game, and Greenfield had a physical comedy showcase in his silent goodbye to Cece’s boobs that he just knocked out of the park.

It was going to be hard for this week’s episode to top or even come close to matching “Background Check.” But “Goldmine,” despite its many faults, made me laugh, and when it comes to New Girl, sometimes that’s all I need.

Other Thoughts and Memorable Moments

– Schmidt walking into Nick and Jess’s and Coach and Winston’s storylines and, unbeknownst to him, saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time was hilarious. Also, the sight gag of Winston and Coach bouncing was pretty much perfection.

– This line from Schmidt to Cece’s breasts slayed me. “I saved you. I’m your Schindler. One day your children will put rocks on my grave.”

– Jess once did a one-woman production of A Christmas Carol? Flashbacks in this year’s Christmas episode, New Girl, or it didn’t happen.

– “Sleepy guys. We in the gay community call them drowsers.”

– Schmidt to Nick, after Nick kisses him to protect his cover: “I felt like you needed that more than I did. Your scruff, by the way, is perfect. Don’t touch your beard trimming setting.”

– I didn’t touch upon this last week, but man, those new opening credits are pretty terrible, aren’t they? I understand why they wanted to include Hannah Simone and Damon Wayans Jr. in them and am totally for that, but what we have now just looks cheap and is way less fun without the “Who’s That Girl?” theme song.

What did everyone else think about last night’s episode of New Girl?

Photo via Fox

Main Heading Goes Here
Sub Heading Goes Here
No, thank you. I do not want.
100% secure your website.