October 3, 2013

TV for Thought: Nick and Jess and the Future of New Girl

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“I know you want it.” And no I have no desire to have a “Blurred Lines” debate this week. I will not play into it. I won’t. I won’t. What I actually want to talk about is the sexual tension of beloved characters in our favorite television shows. I know I love to “ship” characters from the get-go. From one episode I can make up my mind as to who belongs together, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a totally romantic sense. In the FOX comedy New Girl, I shipped Nick and Jess hard from the beginning. But now that they are an actual item, I want the insanity to end. Is it purely because it is far more gratifying to simply desire what one cannot have like we’re always told, or is there another element to it?

Part of the dynamic that I loved about New Girl was the idea that a girl can live with three bumbling idiots as they navigate dating and careers of their late 20-something lives. There would invariably be sexual tension between at least two of the roommates, but that line was to never be crossed in my naïve mind. After a night of True American (the best and most convoluted drinking game), Nick and Jess finally kissed, which later led to the awkwardness we are left with today. Like the roommates, it is hard to say how I feel about their new relationship and if the apartment will ever be the same.

The other part of this relationship that ruins the feel of the show is knowing that it will eventually end as well. In fact, the show’s writers are also aware of this fact, leading to a funny conclusion to this week’s episode where Nick and Jess try to figure out all the ways that Schmidt can leverage information about the two to bring on their demise. Their relationship has to end, as it is a character arc in and of itself. Maybe it could play out like the greatest and most annoying love in sitcom history between Ross and Rachel on Friends. Every once in a while the writers would throw the audience a bone and get them back together or have some beautiful, intimate moment and then just as easily take it away. The only difference is that Ross and Rachel were part of a greater ensemble that could fill in the void in the meantime that would satisfy our ADD selves. Meanwhile, New Girl has a much smaller cast with the other part of the ensemble acting more as comic relief as if they are mere caricatures.

But what if we continued to wait for that moment to finally happen with Nick and Jess like in How I Met Your Mother? We would be nine seasons in and still wondering when they are going to realize that the people that they are dating are true duds, thus finally leading them on the path to each other. I know I would not have made it. I couldn’t even make it for How I Met Your Mother, a show that once used to be a full on addiction for me. Like seriously. I definitely had my own conspiracy theories about everything.

So do we actually want it? It seems that the writers for New Girl caved too fast to our shipping needs. We know of the impending doom, and only time will tell if it will be for good or if this is the beginning of a new Ross and Rachel phenomenon. At least they didn’t make us wait too long until we got bored and left the show.