In the opening to this season of New Girl, which also operated as a faux reboot, the gang headed to a wedding with hopes of scoring some panky of the hanky variety, for winter was coming. Well, while winter never really comes to Los Angeles, this notion is reiterated in “Thanksgiving IV,” and so Schmidt and his jaunty pilgrim’s hat decide that everybody is to bring a date for somebody else, grey kidnapping area be damned.
The primary purpose for this is to have Ryan, Jess’ English paramour, show up as Coach’s selection for Jess. Either you are into this or you aren’t. If you care about Jess’ love life and her kissing some British dude, you are enthused. If you aren’t though, because you just don’t care about Jess and some random guy who will be gone in a few episodes unless he’s being funny, then there isn’t much here. They almost sleep together, and then they do sleep together. Jess eats an entire pie. Also, Jess almost died last Thanksgiving. That was pretty wild, guys!
While this was pretty blasé stuff, the rest of the episode was, fortunately, quite funny, mostly because Tran was there. Sweet, sweet Tran. You know Tran. He’s the Asian man who never talks, but who is clearly Nick’s best friend and mentor. Obviously, it makes sense on a logical level that he has to be used with a light touch. You can’t have too much Tran, because it would wear thin. On the other hand, on a visceral, basic level, Tran’s presence is so funny, that one might still feel themselves pining for more Tran. Also, Tran has a granddaughter that is going to maybe serve as a love interest for Nick, so there’s that.
When Nick isn’t hanging out with Tran, he’s flirting with Cece to try and make Schmidt jealous, because he’s making moves on a gal Nick dated years ago. Schmidt doesn’t get lucky, and Cece believes that the “Geoff” Schmidt selected for her is fake, but he turns out to be real and handsome, and yet Cece sends him away for Schmidt.
Also, Coach’s date is a super jacked woman who can lift a keg with one hand, and crack him walnuts in bed. Winston is a little wary about his date, who is a lunch lady, even though he used to date a bus driver, and those are sort of similar jobs. However, he eventually gets over it, and over his bad memories about a lunch lady making him eat a bunch of tater tots, perhaps in part because she’s played by the always-charming Alison Becker.
At the end of this episode everybody has made some sort of love collection, even arguably Schmidt and Cece. If nothing else, a spark of something is rekindled. This makes this seem like a somewhat significant New Girl, if things hold. Everybody is being sent out on their own love adventure. They will all fail, presumably, but at least it should generate some new stories. Plus, we may get to see more Tran. A couple of these storylines seem like “real” romance stories, as opposed to joke-y romances, but that’s a sitcom for you.
Despite all the love in the air in “Thanksgiving IV,” the jokes fly fast and furious. When the gang is discussing their plans at the beginning of the episode, and then cavorting on the roof, it’s full of laughs. Then, it ends with the soaring music, and kissing, and the erotic use of oven mitts. At least there is some interesting stuff likely to be part of the fallout here. Nick and Jess realize they shouldn’t be afraid of getting hurt again. And we learn that Tran is quick with a fist bump, when prompted. We come out ahead in that battle.
Chris Morgan is an Internet gadabout who writes on a variety of topics and in a variety of mediums. If he had to select one thing to promote, however, it would be his ’90s blog/podcast, Existential Parachute Pants. (You can also follow him on Twitter.)