[Contains incomplete baby-cages and SPOILERS!!!]
Despite the fact that this week’s episode of New Girl featured the eagerly-awaited return of Rebecca Reid as callous Russian model ‘Nadia’ (hilarious as always), and the welcome addition of Greta Lee as Nick’s dream woman ‘Kai’*, I still thought it was the worst the series has ever produced, because of the asinine A-plot involving Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and CeCe (Hannah Simone) falling out over a yellow purse, supposedly after decades of passive-aggressive peace.
What pissed me off most about this premise is that the writer (Danielle Sanchez-Witzel) was trying to sell the idea that boys and girls settle petty disputes in very different ways: Boys simply punch each other in the gut or groin, while girls compliment each other in increasingly snarky ways, masking their resentment behind a false smile of cold cordiality. Which is just sexist, binary bullshit… and also totally inconsistent with the way we’ve seen these two women behave in the past with our own eyes. This episode tries to retcon in the idea that Jess and Cece haven’t had a single confrontational conversation in the entire twenty years they’ve been friends, and that one of their “worst” ever disagreements simply involved Jess running away in silence rather than commenting on Cece’s new hairstyle… even though we’ve seen them straight-up quarrelling before (#1.19, “Secrets”), and even frantically slapping each other’s boobs in anger! (#2.5, “Models”) Worse still, when they do eventually take Coach’s dubious advice to “man up” (yes, he uses those words) and start scrapping at Nadia’s baby shower, all the other women around them suddenly start fighting too, like that scene in I, Robot where all the bots simultaneously turn violent after downloading an evil software update! GAH!!! Are all women part of a hive-mind collective? According to this episode, yes! Fact: Men and women are different, yes… but men and women can also be different from other members of their own gender. I believe this phenomenon is called “individuality”.
Sigh… I also have issues with the “moral” of this story, which was that even the pettiest disagreements are best resolved with full-on physical violence, and that hospitalising your friends and loved ones will strengthen your relationship, because true understanding can only be achieved after you’ve bloodied and bruised each other! That’s not just my subjective reading of an unspoken implication… Jess makes a point of thanking Coach for encouraging them to punch each other, and both women agree that they feel much better now that they’ve learned to talk with their fists (like smart men do!), rather than their mouths (like silly women do!). That’s a very dark and dangerous message to be putting out there… and another warning sign that this show might be heading for the skids.
Note: In the interests of balance, it should be noted that most of the pro critics and IMDb voters seemed to enjoy this episode… but in the words of Bad Religion, popular consensus doesn’t make you right, dammit!
* A super-cute consultant who likes lounging around in sweatpants for three days straight, instead of going on fancy outdoor dates, but is also rich and successful on the sly! I think that might be my dream woman too…