‘New Girl’ Season 4 Episode 17 Recap: “Spiderhunt”


With Ryan out of the picture, this week’s episode of New Girl was bound to go one of two ways: Jess continues to wallow and the gang cheers her up in more elaborate ways, or the episode is a silly, silly diversion from the breakup in which Ryan’s name becomes as unsaid as Voldemort’s. Thankfully it’s the latter, in the form of a bottle episode that revolves around a Ridiculous Schmidt Quirk Everyone Humors (RSQEH).

The cooped-up absurdity of the gang during a bottle episode has produced some of the funniest moments on New Girl, though often as a diversion to plot movement. While that was mostly true of “Spiderhunt,” I saw another flicker of what could, way down the line, result in Jess and Nick giving it another go. I found myself thinking about this during last week’s episode too, when Nick takes charge (for once) when it comes to cheering up Jess about Ryan. When it comes to rallying around a down-and-out friend, Nick is just about the best there is. So, I could be reading too much into his taking care of Jess last week, coupled with her near tears over the thought of Cece and Nick getting together (that combo was bound to come up, even comically, when this social group consists of two hot women and four hapless dudes). Or maybe Jess and Nick will happen again.

Either way, Cece kind of got a raw deal in the immediate, with yet another plotline revolving around her love life and, inevitably, Schmidt. Homegirl used to be a model who was way too good for Schmidt, swatted him away every week in fact. Now she works at a bar and pines for him. This show, man. Give Cece something real to do, instead of just having her get involved with randos while she and Schmidt chase after one another’s tails. (Also, I didn’t really understand why everyone is so surprised that Cece still loves him — it’s super obvious.) What’s the deal with her going back to school?

Instead of having her do something productive, Cece ends up entangled in a web of confusion, betrayal, and imaginary spiders. She can thank her new BFF Winston for that; his constant warning of “I am not a smooth man” made me laugh surprisingly hard, but it’s true — he’s really not. It takes about 10 minutes for Winston to spill the beans to Jess, except he tries to save it by letting her think that Cece is in love with Nick, not Schmidt. I was groaning at this twist, but the conversation Jess and Nick have — in which he’s talking about a popcorn machine for the bar, and Jess is thinks he’s talking about Cece’s smelly vagina — makes this hi-jink totally worth it.

Nick is the best when he’s pretending to be a normal person, and “Spiderhunt” had quite a few of those moments. (Nick and Winston both are the funniest when they’re trying to act natural.) I would make it a point to look, at least weekly, at a GIF of Nick squirting mayo into his “sauce” with a car salesman smile half-stretched across his dumb face.

Likewise, I must have watched Schmidt’s breathless poem about spiders four times. His phrasing is perfectly gripped with fear: “I can hear it, building its house. Building its sticky, deadly house that you can never leave. Building it, with its ass.” RSQEH = one of the best parts of New Girl, period.

That said, this episode got more and more ridiculous (jar man and smusher! American Pie!) as it went on, and sort of lost steam when a spider crawled on Schmidt’s face. I liked the role reversal when Fawn swooped in and smushed the spider in one precise smack, but I just don’t like her. She hates everything that makes Schmidt, Schmidt. Their relationship obviously won’t last, but I just hope it doesn’t get to marriage territory before Cece makes a grand gesture. Honestly, who doesn’t think those two are going to end up together, like Schmidt and that warm apple pie back in ’99?