New Girl is a show based on the experience of an awkward girl moving into an apartment with 3 guys. As a result, we the audience get to see exaggerations of the amazing (-ly awkward and hilarious) differences between the boys and the girls. This is especially emphasised in Season 1 Episode 7 of New Girl “Bells” when the writers show off the more petty and competitive sides of Nick, Schmidt, and Winston, contrasting this to the more gentle and accepting femininity of Jess.
The episode starts off normal and progresses until the main conflicts happen in two different plot lines between Nick and Schmidt, and Winston and Jess, allowing us to look at just how male competition plays out. This begins with Schmidt and Nick arguing over fixing a completely broken toilet, as Schmidt complains about Nick’s jerry-rigged solution involving a water bottle and needing to turn the faucet on before flushing. Schmidt just hires a plumber. Schmidt’s display of wealth over Nick’s handyman attitude bothers Nick, and the two begin a war that involves Nick refusing to use anything that Schmidt bought, while also breaking everything that he fixed for Schmidt (a basketball hoop that Schmidt tries to dunk on comes to mind). Schmidt in response does not let Nick use any of the objects that he bought such as the freezer, couch, conditioner, or carpet. This leaves them into something of a class dispute of how wealth allows people to ignore their problems with money.
This strange competition is compared then to Jess who has to deal with Winston, to whom competition comes naturally to the point that even Schmidt and Nick ignore their disputes to tell Jess of how competitive Winston gets, specifically with his natural talent at… Everything (man I wish I had that at GT). Unlike the competition between Nick and Schmidt, which escalates until they start a physical fight and have a bro-moment with some beers and agree that they were being stupid, Jess simply confronts Winston about his competitive attitude, rather than trying to out-do him at every turn. This difference points out a clear distinction that the show makes between how men and women deal with competition.
Jess is showed to be rational (despite her goofy character) and simply addresses the problem. She determines that it would be better to just confront Winston about his competitive attitude and ask him to relax, solving the issue. On the other hand, Nick and Schmidt seem to do everything in their power to keep the competition going until one gives up (which would never happen), pointing out the irrational and ridiculous nature of arguments and competition that men seem to have for no other reason than because. In the end, this episode criticises a stereotype of male competitiveness taken to the extreme, and uses Jess, the outlier of the group in the apartment, to remind the audience that sometimes the rational approach is also the best one.
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