The characters of New Girl may goof around a lot (pranks, anyone?) — but this week’s episode was a reminder that they do have professional lives as well.
“It’s time for the characters to grow a little bit,” showrunner Liz Meriwether told EW of season 5. “They’re not good at being adults.” No, but this episode shows that perhaps they’re on their way.
Here are the “loft”-iest moments from “What About Fred?”
Nick becomes more ambitious. It’s official! Nick and Schmidt signed the papers and are now partial owners of the bar, but Nick has to learn how to be a boss. It’s definitely a struggle turning this man-child into a leader, as he’s either too lenient or too strict. He calls a staff meeting, for example, and can barely get through it, flailing when his notecards tell him to pause for laughter, but there are only crickets and cracking up when a staffer, Javier, breaks the silence with a “Your Mother” joke (more below). But when Schmidt gives him a corporate makeover, Nick goes too far by impulsively firing Javier. Eventually, Nick and Schmidt find a sort of middle ground, and it feels so nice to see Mr. Miller as his old self, just slightly more mature.
Guest stars. The guest stars involve the guy who Jess starts seeing, Fred (Saturday Night Live’s Taran Killam). The character is so, so, so, so boring, but his parents, Flip (Henry Winkler) and Nancy (Julie Hagerty), are absolutely perfect. They’re fun, totally in love, and enjoy park days just like Jess, so naturally she, and eventually Winston, fall for the happy couple. Though Fred is a lifeless character (also more below), Killam is hilarious in a scene where Winston’s co-worker Aly (Nasim Pedrad) tries to stall them from making it to dinner by having Fred perform myriad “sobriety tests,” so breakdancing without actually breakdancing. (That’s all part of a plan for Jess to establish a solo relationship with her new BFFs.) And Winkler and Hagerty are on their comic A-game, especially when they try to persuade Jess to stay with Fred by using their Vermont house, and neighbor Terry Gross, as leverage.
Hello, Ferguson, our old friend. The feline friend made a return to the show, leading to some great moments from Winston — cut to him narrating EVERYTHING as he grooms the cat as if he were human. I have to admit, I wasn’t on board with the Winston and Ferguson jokes for a while, but they were really working for me here because of their timing and Lamorne Morris’ commitment.
Javier’s “Your Mother” jokes and all-around sass. From the staff meeting we learn that Javier and Nick love a good “Your Mother” joke, but the joke tires for Nick when he’s trying to assert his authority. Nick asks why Javier isn’t wearing his uniform — a change Schmidt implemented, along with measuring drinks and the one-napkin policy. “It’s so crazy, Nick,” Javier responds, with expert sarcasm, “Someone broke into my house last night and stole that ugly shirt.”
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Fred. Jess’ love interest is incredibly dull. It’s so rough to watch him babble about cheese and model trains. He starts listing all the cheeses he enjoys, sort of like Bubba listing all the different shrimp types in Forrest Gump, except this is less endearing and funny. He later went on for what felt like forever about his model train hobby and gave a speech about how and why he named his horse Daniel Boulevard… I get it, I get his purpose, but for everyone’s sake, please let Jess’ next guy have some personality!
- Cece and Schmidt’s divide of personal and work life
- Fred’s “Dope-a– home theater”
- The way Nick wants to wear a tie
- Winston’s date, and cheese, recommendations
- Flip and Nancy aren’t perfect, which gives the rest of us hope
- And these lines from Winston and Jess:
“What do you like about Fred?”
“Well, I didn’t really get any time with him because Flip and Nancy and I wanted to watch the sunset.” —Jess
“Hey, do not talk to me like I’m some bastard who doesn’t enjoy a good sunset.” —Winston