'New Girl': Nick in a Box

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Image Credit: Greg Gayne/Fox

Money changes people, y’all. Or perhaps love changes people? And yet… Nick got a heapin’ helpin’ of both this week and let’s be honest: Nick is who he is. Getting an $8,000 inheritance from his dearly departed Pop-Pop didn’t change him any more than an inadvertent turn as a Good Samaritan fundamentally shifted Schmidt’s moral fiber. Their actions, catharses, and struggles this week were just a blip — just like this episode. 

Now about that money…. One morning, the roommates heard a knock on the door. Jess greeted an incredibly seamy-looking character who said he had a package for Nick. You’d think after decades of seeing Walt Miller in action, Nick would recognize one of his father’s associates, but alas. The guy tossed a paper bag in Jess’s arms and bolted. Nick feared it would be a severed hand (because apparently that’s the first place his mind goes) but it was instead a pile of loose bills. And so Nick spent the day blowing his inheritance on mall massages, Glamour Shots, and shoes (any size would do).

While Nick was dropping bills like the lady from The Queen of Versailles in Wal-Mart, Winston told Jess that Nick owed him $1,900 and that he intended to con Nick out of it. In a later scene, we learned sliders were integral to his plan, if entirely ineffective. And yep, that was pretty much Winston’s entire plot thread this week. Come back, Furguson!

Turns out, Winston wasn’t the only one Nick owed money. Jess learned as much when Nick showed her a box he’d stuffed with “junk” he wanted to avoid — and by “junk” he meant bills, bills, bills. Indeed, Nick was paying neither automo-bills nor telephone bills. Nick claimed he didn’t trust banks (“I’ll keep my money where my mouth is — under my nose”). More than that, though, he’d devised increasingly elaborate ways of piling up debt over the years, including but not limited to founding a heavily taxed corporation named Fat Face. His ingenuity at debt accumulation was matched only by his complete lack of accountability in paying said arrears and by his tenacity at evading a veritable parade of loan sharks, corporate collectors, jury duty summonses, and the IRS itself. He refused to serve on a jury or pay taxes, he insisted, “until gay marriage is legal everywhere!” (Side note: The PopWatch Matchmaker in me is beginning to think Nick should leave Jess for Becky Bloomwood.)

Jess naturally had a secret freak-out about Nick’s irresponsibility. She could barely wait until he got out of the apartment to ransack the box, organize the papers with flower-shaped post-its, and begin systematically paying off Nick’s debts. After Nick accused Winston of “slipping out of the woodward” when Winston asked for his money back, Jess realized Nick would also be angry with her for getting at his money. She sent Nick to the bar to blow off some steam and immediately began scrambling to track the cash she’d sent away. (Well, that was after she assaulted Winston after he’d discovered her secret and tried to blackmail her — for his own money.) I have to say, it must have been one of the most ridiculous plots New Girl has ever put on the air. I refuse to believe that bangs, big eyes, flouncy skirts, and a commitment to quirk equals mental deficiency. This woman is a teacher. Of children. She molds young minds. She is smarter and better than these shenanigans. Even if the show occasionally attempts to convince us otherwise. But I digress…

Predictably, Jess’s attempt to recover Nick’s inheritance failed. After Schmidt convinced Nick to do a “tzatziki,” a.k.a. a sedaka, by giving his money to charity (which, again, was instead of just paying his effing bills), Nick returned home and found his paper bag empty. At which point Nick and Jess then had the least sympathetic TV-couple argument since Carrie found Aidan’s Rogaine. Nobody had a chance of winning that spat – not Nick for pinning his whole identity on being a useless member of society, not Jess for still dating him after he insulted her drawer of night peanuts and threw her vintage purses out the window. Nick accused Jess of constantly trying to change him, and she relented, writing Nick a check to cover the bills she’d paid. So, if you’re counting, Jess was now down about a dozen purses (Outside Dave’s gain!) and several grand.

And Nick kept the check! Instead of admitting he was being a ninny, tearing it up, and apologizing to Jess, he used the money to open up a bank account. I get that this was his attempt to meet her halfway, but Jess still ultimately paid all his bills. And got him out of an $8 processing fee at the bank by launching into a Nick-style tirade in which she told the bank officer “You suuuuuuuuuck!” I mean, what in the what?

NEXT: Doing a Schmidt-zvah

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