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New Girl: Chicago

In a sad turn of events, Nick finds out his father, Walt, has passed away unexpectedly.  But what makes the situation funny is that Jess has just bought a ridiculous amount of balloons from some guy in a van, and Winston, Schmidt and she huff some of the helium, culminating in the three roommates giving their condolences to Nick in silly, high pitched voices.

The quartet heads to Chicago to attend the funeral, and we find out why Nick is such a slacker back home in Los Angeles. With his dad off on any number of his get-rich-quick schemes and con jobs, Nick grew up as the man of the house, taking on a lot more responsibility than a child should.  So much so that he returns home to find out the funeral hasn’t been planned, and so he instinctively takes the reins and starts making arrangements. This is quite a surprise to Jess (I’m surprised she’s not oddly turned on by Nick’s sense of responsibility).

We’re introduced to Nick’s younger brother, Jamie (“The League’s” Nick Kroll), his mother, Bonnie (“Justified’s” and “The Americans'” Margo Martindale) and his cousin from Boston, Bobby (“Breaking Bad’s” Bill Burr). Bobby just wants to get a gold chain off Walt’s dead body because he thinks it should be his. Bonnie wants an Elvis-themed funeral with at least a dozen Elvises (or is it Elvii?), but the budget for the funeral can barely afford one non-white impersonator, and Jamie is too busy making out with his girlfriend.

Bonnie recognizes “Fat Schmidt” and Winston, but is wary of Jess, whom she has just been introduced to.  Mom wants Nick to do the eulogy, which Nick is reluctant to do. He ends up pawning it off on Jess, who knows nothing about her dad except the one hour she spent with him pulling a con at the horsetrack.

Schmidt, whose luggage was lost in transit, has to resort to wearing one of Walt’s old double-breasted suits with so many buttons Schmidt thinks he looks like a “remote control” and he’s confounded and afraid of open casket funerals but faces his fears in a LOL way when Bobby tries to steal the gold chain off Walt’s dead corpse.

Enter Jess, who dons the tailor-fitted Elvis costume to save the day. She presumably stole the getup off a really tall and big guy Nick hires to wear the suit. Maybe she threw it in the dryer for 15 minutes and it shrunk? Or perhaps it came from the same wardrobe as the pants from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?

Overwhelmed by it all, Nick turns to drink and shows up sloshed at the funeral, but sobers up enough to see Jess performing as the King and it is in that moment (and I’m clearly not doing it justice), he cracks a smile as he realizes Jess was once again there for him when he needed it most.

I’m sure we’ll all look back at that moment as the moment Nick truly falls for Jess.

While Jess finds herself afraid of Bonnie, who initially doesn’t seem to like her, she’s found a way to ingratiate herself to the Miller family as Bonnie notes to her son that there’s someone to take of him now.

One of my questions about this ep is – If Winston grew up with Nick, how come he doesn’t stop by to see his family? And why doesn’t his family come to the funeral?

Another question I have is – Did they run out of money in the budget to clear Elvis songs? Because whenever Jess sings Elvis it’s acapella, nary a soundtrack in the bunch. UPDATE – I saw a preview version of this episode which contained no music but as I’m watching the final aired episode I noticed they incorporated some organ music into Jess’ Elvis gig.

Not too many episodes left before the season finale. One of the episodes is titled, “Bachelorette Party.” Makes me wonder how many ways Schmidt will try to insert himself into Ceci’s bachelorette party – as the male stripper, no doubt. Perhaps Nick will get entangled in Schmidt’s plans and end up being the stripper! Someone hire me as a writer for this show! 😀

I’m excited for next week’s episode, “First Date.” I’m guessing Nick decides he wants to do everything on the up and up, and he and Jess finally go out on a proper date. Woo-hoo!

How do you think the season will end?

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