‘New Girl’ Season 4 Episode 4 Recap: “Micro”

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“Micro” is an episode that doesn’t necessarily go anywhere but it also doesn’t necessarily have to. It’s a thin setup built around a universal but fairly tame theme — basically that everyone is shallow, even if they claim they aren’t — and it quickly proves its own point. It’s the most underwritten of the short Season 4 so far but it’s still a pretty good and definitely funny episode. Not everything in New Girl has to be groundbreaking (to be honest, very little is) and the show succeeds with smaller plots, too, even if that plot seems like it only exists to see how often you can write the word “micropenis” into a single script.

The episode opens with a bar conversation between the roommates as Jess calls the guys out for being shallow (Nick claims that “boobs are a direct indicator of personality”) and general conversation about individual attractiveness, mostly thanks to Winston who apparently rates them, and himself, all the time. This directly leads to Jess seeking solace from the guys at a nearby booth where she meets Matt (Hunger Games‘ Alan Ritchson) and is instantly attracted to him. And then, in a weirdly upfront admission to a stranger, Matt reveals that he has a micropenis — that is, a penis that is “unusually small, technically micro.” To which Jess hilariously replies “My eyes are bigger than my stomach.”

Back at the loft, the roommates make a bet that Jess won’t date Matt for an entire month. If she wins, they donate money to the women’s charity of her choice and if the guys win, she has to buy them a subscription to the porn site “Ass Chat.” This sets up the low stakes, main conflict of the episode but what follows is fairly predictable. During the first date, Jess realizes quickly that she has no interest in Matt — not because he has a micropenis but because he’s a huge douchebag. Matt is a street artist with bad tattoos, who abbreviates “scotch on the rocks” to “scoro” and who tipped a waiter with a sketch of a hip-hop mouse.

New Girl is ace when it comes to these ultra-specific character descriptions, easily painting a full-fledged mental image with a few words or, on the opposite spectrum, summing up a character’s looks with the most perfect description (such as later in the episode when Coach refers to Nick as a “Depression-era garbageman”). The douchey qualities to Matt are so specific, so unique only to him which is admirable when New Girl can just as easily cop out and turn him into a generic jerk (which, to be fair, they sort of do toward the end). Nick doesn’t let Jess weasel out of the bet so she just gives in and concedes.

But Jess being Jess can’t just leave it alone. She’s too worried that she’s being shallow and thinks she needs to give Matt a second chance, but when she goes to his apartment, she discovers that he already has a girlfriend. He’s a scumbag, after all! New Girl has been going for the really easy endings this season, huh? Still, it definitely remarks on Jess’ occasionally clueless personality, the way that she continues to insist that she’s better than the rest of the guys — especially Nick — even when there’s already evidence that she’s just the same. And that’s not a bad thing! Everyone is shallow, Jess included, but she’s at least trying not to be and should take comfort in that. Mostly, though, “Micro” helps to build on repairing the Nick/Jess friendship after their break-up. They aren’t enemies, not in the least, but it’s clear that they are still on some rocky ground. This return to their competitiveness, their banter, their need to battle and prove each other wrong (and also their undeniable chemistry, both as friends and boyfriend/girlfriend) was just lovely.

Once again, the subplot in the episode goes the sillier route and provides the most laughs. It also provides my new favorite duo: Cece and Winston. In a “classic Cece and Winston mess around” (the callback to this was flawless), they jokingly prey on Schmidt and Coach’s simultaneous egotistic and insecure personalities — that scene when they’re just complimenting each other! — by goading them into taking modeling photos. The photoshoot is unquestionably hilarious but then Cece takes it even further by implying she can get one, only one, of them a modeling contract and they have to compete. This ups the ante, the absurd photos, and the funny dialogue (“My sexy baby is way more believable”) but, in a nice twist, actually ends with Coach conceding to Schmidt because he knows that Schmidt needs it more. Schmidt, despite being the fox that he is today, still has residual body image issues from when he was overweight (and likely always will). Another sweet ending but also, of course, another very funny ending with that Japanese advertisement.