New Girl (S05E02): “What About Fred?”

Review: Jess starts dating a new guy and falls in love… with his parents!

Envious of Schmidt and Cece’s new and extra schmoopy (and adorable!) coupledom, Jess longs for the same connection with someone, but without having to go through the hassle of dating. New relationships are so hard, “like making a risotto, a risotto in your heart”, according to Winston. After some advice from Cece, Jess decides to go on a date with Fred, played by SNL’s Taran Killam. During their first date, Jess discovers two things: 1) Fred has his own “dope ass” home theatre, and 2) Fred still lives with his awesome parents, Flip and Nancy. Said parents are played by none other than Henry Winkler (The Fonz, you guys, the FONZ) and Julie Hagerty (ever seen the movie Just Friends? Go watch it right now!).

To Jess, Flip and Nancy are absolutely perfect and everything Jess could ever want for inlaws. The only problem? Fred is everything but. You see, Fred loves cheese. All kinds of cheese. Orange cheese, pizza cheese… And model trains. Fred is so dreadfully boring that Jess can’t stand it. And, as it turns out, even his parents agree. In the words of Flip himself: “It’s like the apple fell so far from the tree it fell in a truck and then disappeared across state lines!”.

Winston, meanwhile, is also struggling with navigating himself in the dating pool. He’s gone on five dates with Casey, and he has no idea where he stands. On top of that, his lovely cat Ferguson has a knot in its fur. It’s all too much for Winston, until he meets Flip and Nancy. Like Jess, Winston falls in love with the couple, who give him the advice he was looking for. What was really troubling Winston wasn’t Ferguson’s knot, but not knowing where he stands. Flip and Nancy encourage Winston not to be ashamed “of being beautiful, being a man, of being passionate” and to let Casey in. 

Just as Jess wants to break up with Fred, Winston convinces her to give it another try, so they can both hang out with Flip and Nancy. After finding out how much Fred loves cheese(“I love all parts of pizzas, especially the dough. Once I asked for a ball of dough and they gave it to me and I took it to a park and ate it”),  Jess decides to set up a meeting with Flip and Nancy to find out if they can hang out *without* Fred. Flip and Nancy, being just as enamored with Jess, try to convince Jess to keep dating their son so they can keep hanging out. They even try to throw in a trip to their 18th Century farmhouse in Vermont! But after Fred and Winston arrive and Fred starts talking about his model trains, Jess decides it just isn’t worth it.

So long, Flip and Nancy, I already miss you!

This week’s final plot is given to Nick and Schmidt, as they try to manage the bar. Last season, they became shared co-owners of the bar and as ownership entails, they now have to run it. Schmidt and Nick, however, have a completely different approach when it comes to running the bar. While Schmidt wants rules and structure, Nick wants his employees to keep running the bar as is. Nick goes along with Schmidt, forcing their employees (including Cece) to start measuring drinks and wearing uniforms. When they won’t comply, Nick fires his bartender and friend Javier, causing Cece to stage a walkout until they hire him back…

And it works! When they try to manage the bar for one night on their own, Schmidt and Nick discover they need employees for a reason. They visit Javier’s apartment and with a little convincing from Nick – a speech that somehow involves the memory of making out with Javier´s hot cousin and Javier making out with his own hot cousin and the promise to arrange this for a second time – Javier is re-hired.

Screw the rules, Nick thinks. Until he sees the books at the end of the episode, noting that they’re absolutely terrible. Maybe Schmidt wasn’t so wrong after all?