PRINCE! PRINCE! PRINCE! When FOX first announced that New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine would air after the Super Bowl I was really excited. You guys know how much I love New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine is my favorite new comedy, so I was really excited by the prospect of getting more exposure for both shows. But when it was announced that Prince was going to be a guest star, my excitement level might have gone through the roof. I’m a child of the 80s, and my mom loves Prince, so the appreciation was passed on. I still hold a grudge that when my dad was able to score some free tickets to his concert several years ago, he didn’t get one for me too.
But I digress. I made a point of watching this episode twice. Once, to let my inner fangirl have some fun, and again to really judge the episode. Super Bowl follow-ups can go one of two ways: they can either present a standard episode (maybe a crazy cameo or two) that really gives you a good idea of what the show is about (which B-99 did) or it can still be that show but embrace the once in a lifetime feeling of airing after the Super Bowl, which is the route New Girl decided to take.
We start the episode with the boys watching a game (and Nick not enjoying being touched), and Winston asking permission to move Jess’s panties out of the dryer. This, of course, led to everyone making it weird and the guys trying to pull them out with a grabber. Guys, seriously, they’re just underwear. They do not bite. This was probably the best cold open the show could have presented given the male-dominated audience of the Super Bowl and we want as many people sticking around as possible.
Jess and CeCe burst in (ignoring the guy’s antics) to spill their great news. After almost getting run over by a car, the owner invited them to a party at her employer’s house – none other than Prince himself. This led to the most horribly awesome excitement dancing (props to both Zooey and Hannah on that one). While the girls are getting ready, Schmidt walks in sporting his brand new $2000 suit, only to find that the guys aren’t on the guest list.
Getting the girls into the car, Nick unexpectedly tells Jess he loves her. And cue the “Oh, shit” look on Nick and the Finger Guns from Jess. Both of their reactions were completely what I would have expected from them both under the circumstances. The guys take Nick to the bar, and he admits that he doesn’t regret saying it, he just wishes that it had been under more romantic circumstances, and proceeds to have a mini-freak out. Schmidt convinces him that he needs to crash the party and take it back in order to fix the situation.
Once at the party, the guys have to figure out a way to get in. Winston and Coach decide to bust out an old college tactic, “Fire and Ice” (complete with a pump-up- WARM WATER!) that actually managed to work. I loved that we’re past seeing only the overly competitive side to these too and we’re actually seeing them as friends. That goes a long way towards making Coach more likeable. Nick, continuing with his impulsive streak, decides he and Schmidt need a “Ham and Cheese” tactic, but, without any kind of preparation, crashes and burns. But, luckily this is LA, where models flock together, and Nick manages to sneak in, leaving Schmidt behind. I love the irony that Schmidt, who was the most desperate to get into that party (to find cooler friends), is the only one who doesn’t easily get in.
Nick catches up to Jess in the party. She’s still obsessing over why she freaked out and didn’t say it back, so of course she has a panic attack and passes out. The gang brings her outside, Schmidt finally makes it through the shrubbery, and Nick tells Jess he wants to take it back, visibly upsetting her. After getting the others to leave, she asks him if that is what he really wants. He asks her how SHE feels, but she doesn’t get a chance to answer as Prince appears. Cue the best freakout ever. I had to rewatch it a few times. Jess’s reaction was completely expected, but Nick’s ridiculously high-pitched squealing combined with the fainting had me in stitches.
We then find the three sitting awkwardly (the best kind of awkward) on the bench together, with Jess explaining finger guns to Prince. Prince tells Nick he needs to be alone with Jess. Only after Jess asks him to leave, does he reluctantly do so. And he goes to drink. Classic Nick. I like that, even with the growth we’ve seen from Nick (especially in the last season), he still reverts to some of his classic coping mechanisms. I don’t want him to grow TOO fast. Drunk Nick causes Coach and Winston to lose their chance with some Victoria’s Secret models and tries to tear it up on the dance floor.
Meanwhile, Schmidt is still trying to escape the bouncers. He sees CeCe and uses her cleavage to hide. They end up having a nice talk (with CeCe again referring to herself and Schmidt and friends) during a slow dance. I’m so happy to see us continuing to move on from the love triangle that sucked, and the writers actually working to build a friendship between CeCe and Schmidt. Anyone that doubts those two will get back together at some point in the future is in a state of denial. I’m just glad to see that any future relationship will have a stronger foundation this time around. This foundation is further cemented when Schmidt finds CeCe, Winston, and Coach playing a game of Lemon Mouth and ends up joining in, accepting his “less cool” friends as the people he really wants to be around.
After Prince and Jess are left alone, he diagnoses her fear of telling Nick she loves him over pancakes. It is a huge step in any relationship and I completely understand her being worried about being that vulnerable and what happens if things do go sour. I know some people have claimed her fear seemed out of character, but I viewed it as more of a commentary on how much stronger her feelings for Nick are and how much more important he is to her. If it’s the right person, it is ALWAYS different that with other relationships. So, Prince set about on a confidence upheaval, complete with a fashion show, a game of ping pong, meeting a pet butterfly, and a trip into a completely darkened closet (easily my favorite part of the entire episode). He then dubbed her ready to talk to Nick.
Jess finds Nick on the dance floor. Zooey looked absolutely stunning (I want that outfit so badly) and Jake pulled off the “man in love” look perfectly. She leaned in to whisper in his ear, but he couldn’t hear her over the music so she shouted it for all to hear. And girls everywhere swooned (myself included, I’m a hopeless romantic). Prince then had Jess come up on stage to join him for a song (while the rest of our crew provided back-up dancing).
--- Schmidt’s intro when he came in wearing his suit was so spot on. Vocal inflection and tone were wonderful.
--- Of course Winston would loudly (and scarily) blurt out that he loves someone. That poor girl.
--- I’m going to ignore the obvious product placement cause that was pretty annoying.
--- “What are your open-toe options?” Winston I love you more every week.
--- [as Schmidt is coming through the shrubbery]
Nick: “Let’s just wait for this to finish.”
Schmidt: “I’m breaching.”
--- “I said stop being afraid. [silence] BOO.”
--- “I think Prince is magic.” Me too, Jess.
All in all, I REALLY enjoyed this episode. The Super Bowl allowed the show to amp up its zaniness but it was still New Girl at heart. There were some big moments and some nice moments of characterization. And at the end of the day, the show basically laughed at itself and that was wonderful. And can we talk about how awesome Prince was? He just had this wonderfully understated way about him and some nice comedic delivery.
With that, I turn it over to you. Did you think “Prince” delivered? What about Prince? Were you excited to have Jess and Nick say “I love you”? Let me know in the comments!