12 Days of Christmas Episodes – Day One: New Girl
I don’t like Christmas. But in an attempt to be less of a Scrooge, I have decided to spend the 12 days leading up to Jesus’ birthday doing one of the few Christmas-related activities that doesn’t make me want to run away and hide: watching Christmas episodes of television shows. And I’m going to write about it, because that’s just what I do. Will this activity instil the spirit of Christmas within my cold uncaring heart, or will I grow even more bitter toward the festive season? Only time will tell…
Season 1, episode 19: “The 23rd”
Can you believe New Girl is now in its fourth season? Looking back on season one, where I very nearly gave up on the show, it’s easy to see how far the series has progressed. “The 23rd” is the 9th episode of the first season, and it’s possibly the turning point where the writers realised they had so much more to work with than just Zooey Deschanel’s “quirky girl” schtick. Winston, Nick and Schmidt are a great ensemble, and it’s the dynamic between the three of them that kept the early episodes going, even though they were pushed into the background. Once Jess’ manic pixie dream girl tendencies were toned down, New Girl blossomed into a series that I almost make an effort to keep up with. Almost.
In this episode, Jess tries to find a Christmas gift for Paul (her teacher boyfriend, played by Justin Long), and the roomies attend Schmidt’s office Christmas party, before leaving town to spend Christmas with their families. Schmidt is hitting on Cece, Jess is useless at gift giving, and there is a sexy Santa costume that I don’t really want to think about right now. This is one of those Christmas episodes with lots of feelings, but it’s not preachy and it doesn’t try to contemplate the meaning of Christmas, and I respect that. The majority of the feelings in question aren’t specifically Christmas-related, making this more a regular episode that is set at Christmas time, rather than a Christmas-themed episode.
Ending with the gang screaming at a rich neighbourhood until they turn their Christmas lights on, this episode piles on the sentiment at the very end. You get the basic ingredients: bonding, cheesy Christmas music, pretty decorations. It’s nice, I guess.
Season 2, episode 11: “Santa”
I didn’t like the old New Girl title sequence, but it is still far better than the new one. The new one looks like it was made in iMovie, using photos that somebody found on tumblr. It makes the old one look like a work of genius.
A sequence of Christmas parties, Sloan Sabbith [or whatever Olivia Munn’s New Girl character is called], and discussions about when each character discovered the truth about Santa Clause. Nick still needs a ride to the airport [a callback to the season one Christmas episode], and Jess has a different boyfriend, whose name I don’t remember. I’m not sure if I’ve even seen this episode before. Some bits are familiar, but others I don’t recognise at all. This could just be because it’s 2:45am, and I’ve been at my work Christmas party all night and I’m exhausted, causing selective New Girl episode memory loss. Or it could be because I somehow skipped this episode when it first aired back in 2012.
Once again, most of the sentiment in this episode is not specific to Christmas. Jess is having relationship issues [apparently his name is Sam], Nick is having relationship issues [with Angie the stripper, also known as Sloan Sabbith], Schmidt wants Cece [doesn’t he always?], and Winston does a whole bunch of things, mainly providing comic relief when necessary. There’s a weird thing with a police officer being “Black Santa”, which I don’t particularly like. Why do television shows and films feel the need to prove that the fictional construct of Santa Claus is real in their universe? Santa doesn’t exist. Making him real in a fictional universe makes that world seem less believable, or less of a reflection of our own society. It’s unnecessary, and harmful to the series overall.
Anyway, this isn’t a bad episode, but “The 23rd” is better.
Join me tomorrow [technically later today], when I’ll discuss one or more Christmas episodes from a different television series. What will it be? I don’t know. I’ll work it out in the morning. Goodnight.
PS. If you’d like to join in with the 12 Days of Christmas Episodes, feel free to do so. You can write about one or more Christmas episodes of any television show of your choosing. Send me a link to your blog post via twitter, or in the comments here, and I’ll share it with a future post.